AMC continues push to restore First Nations jurisdiction over our children and families

November 30, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, MB. _ The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has been moving towards the restoration of First Nations jurisdiction over children and families through the draft Bringing Our Children Home Act. The Bringing Our Children Home Act is a Manitoba-specific federal legislation that is guided through ceremony by First Nations citizens, Elders, knowledge keepers, youth and leadership.

“Manitoba has created a response to the humanitarian crisis we face regarding the existing child welfare system and the well-being of First Nations children. We can all agree the current provincial child welfare systems do not work for our Nations, instead it focuses on apprehension and removing children away from their families and community,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

The federal government is creating its own Indigenous laws process with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to address Child and Family Services at a national level.

As First Nations, we have a unique relationship with the Crown through the federal government. Our Ancestors signed Treaties almost 150 years ago with the numbered Treaties starting in Manitoba. Instead of two Nations living in harmony, we were forced to live on reserves, dispossessed of our original freedoms and customs of caring for our child and each other.

“Our Nations did not create this humanitarian crisis we face today, but we are now in a position to rightfully carry out our obligations to our children and families. Child welfare has become a lucrative industry instead of providing holistic family support, reconciliation and reunification,” said Grand Chief Dumas.

In October, the AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution to support and endorsed the draft Manitoba-specific federal legislation Bringing Our Children Home Act. In addition, First Nations engagement has taken place in tandem to develop template laws regarding well-being of our children and families which respects the five Nations/language groups in Manitoba based on the original First Nations customs, practices and traditions.

“As sovereign rights holder Nations, we know what we need to become whole Nations again. This requires meaningful reconciliation so each First Nation can truly practice, promote and preserve our self-determination. Our children and families deserve to be governed by their own First Nation laws,” concluded Grand Chief Dumas.