AMC endorses historic draft Manitoba-specific federal legislation for First Nations children and families
October 25, 2018
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty Five Territory, MB. _ The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Chiefs-in-Assembly endorsed Bringing Our Children Home Act: A Manitoba Specific Federal Legislation for Children and Families. This draft federal legislation will be implemented as an overarching Manitoba-specific federal legislation that will empower original jurisdiction and give effect to the creation of the five template First Nations laws on children and families.
“This is a historic moment. The Bringing Our Children Home Act will give effect to the development of the drafting of five template First Nations laws for children and families respecting the five language groups in Manitoba,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
The five Nations are the Anishinaabeg, Anshininiwak, Nehethowuk / Inninewak, Dakota Oyate and Denesuline.
As part of the December 2017 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and the AMC on child and family matters, the AMC visited 15 First Nations to openly discuss First Nations law on children and families. These community visits are the second phase of the 2017 Keewaywin: Our Way Home report that called for, among other things, the restoration of First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare and a First Nation’s led, designed and implemented system based on original kinship care concepts. The information gathered during these visits fundamentally guided the Bring Our Children Home Act.
“This is another step to assert our inherent jurisdiction over our children and families. The jurisdiction part of the legislation includes the well-being of our children and families regardless of where they are situated, or reside or have established a family or ancestral connection to our Nations,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
Guided by the AMC Women’s Council, Elders Council, and Steering Committee the Bringing Home Our Children Act began in ceremony and was informed by First Nations citizens at the grassroots level.
“We have had the support of the AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly over the past 30 years through resolutions regarding child and family matters. We celebrate those contributions and the hard work and dedication of First Nations citizens and leadership who understand that it is us and only us who know what is best for our children,” said Chief Karen Batson of Pine Creek First Nation and a member of the AMC Women’s Council.
Grand Chief Dumas concluded “The past and current provincial system is not working. This is why the AMC supports this new Manitoba-specific legislation that empowers our families by incorporating First Nations values, beliefs, and traditions while taking into account the unique cultural values and languages of the five Nation groups in Manitoba.”