AMC Women’s Council sets the foundation for a strategy towards First Nations jurisdiction of child welfare in Manitoba

March 19, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba


For Immediate Release
March 19, 2018

Treaty One Territory _ Today the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Women’s Council presented a way to go forward on First Nations Child and Family Services Reform in Manitoba at the beginning of a two-day emergency meeting of the AMC to discuss First Nations child and family services. This foundational strategy is to assist in navigating and guiding further work on the AMC and Government of Canada Memorandum of Understanding on child welfare reform.

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said, “I am very pleased the AMC Women’s Council has taken the lead and provide the leadership with a strategy that will allow our communities to reassert their jurisdiction and improve services to our children and families.”

O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation Chief Stephanie Blackbird, member of the AMC Women’s Council stated “We have the right to self-determination and to use our own laws and protocols as part of the nation-to-nation relationship with Canada. We will not simply administer the laws, policies and directives of another government.”

“One of the tools for success is for First Nations to re-learn traditional parenting ways that were taken away by residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, the current CFS system and the intergenerational impacts of all of these,”said Grand Chief Dumas, continuing “a provincially legislated system will not be able to achieve this. We have to be in charge of our own children and families to make these changes happen.”

“This is the fourth attempt to assume jurisdiction of child welfare in this province. We are tired of fixing a broken system, a system that does not support our needs and continues to remove our children,” said Chief VeraMitchell of Poplar River First Nation, also a member of the AMC’s Women’s Council.

The strategy includes a vision that pursues First Nations jurisdiction, as it is not enough to reform the old system of child welfare. A new model with new policies and practices must be created utilizing the expertise, knowledge, hard work and passion of existing agency staff already working in First Nations communities. This will provide an opportunity for Agency staff to work in a truly First Nation-developed child welfare system that is unburdened by provincial legislation.