AMC Welcomes Landmark Decision on Compensation for First Nations Children and Families; Urges Collaboration on Compensation Roll-Out

June 20, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg – The sixty-two First Nations of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), and the AMC’s First Nations Family Advocate Office (FNFAO) acknowledge yesterday’s significant judicial approval of the distribution protocol for the $23-billion compensation for First Nations children and families who experienced discrimination due to Canada’s underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.

This decision marks a monumental step towards justice for First Nations children and families, and while we celebrate this milestone, we emphasize the critical need for comprehensive support systems to ensure that claimants are adequately supported throughout this process.

Grand Chief Merrick welcomes yesterday’s decision, saying the decision represents a commitment to a better future where the mistakes of the past are acknowledged and never repeated. “First Nations children should have never endured such discrimination, and although no monetary figure can remove the lasting scars of trauma, the pain of separation, and loss of identity, this money can help provide the necessary resources for healing, restoration, and empowerment.”

The AMC-FNFAO emphasizes the need for comprehensive support systems that address the mental, emotional, and cultural needs of claimants. During regional engagement sessions, it became apparent that the current support framework is inadequate, particularly regarding navigational support and mental health services.

Deloitte’s Navigational Support Program, with only approximately twelve navigators per province and territory out of 160 Navigation supports, fails to meet the needs of the numerous claimants in the Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) database. The database reveals a staggering 150,000 eligible claimants classified as Removed Children—43,000 more than initially estimated.

Grand Chief Merrick says this estimation does not account for potentially eligible claimants not registered in the database or those in other classifications. “It is impractical and irresponsible to expect twelve navigators per province to manage this overwhelming volume of claims,” she said.

Another pressing concern is the glaring shortage of mental health professionals available to First Nations claimants. The AMC-FNFAO is steadfast in its commitment to addressing these inadequacies to ensure that First Nations families receive the comprehensive support they rightfully deserve.

“This is about building a stronger, healthier future for First Nations children and families. The AMC is committed to working with all parties to ensure the settlement leads to tangible, lasting change for First Nations in Manitoba,” concluded AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick.

The AMC-FNFAO urges the federal government to engage in collaborative efforts with First Nations Leadership to ensure that the allocated resources are sufficient and effectively administered. Our collective aim is to facilitate a seamless, respectful, and supportive compensation process that prioritizes the needs of First Nations families and fosters their healing and well-being.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs


About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.