AMC’s First Nations Family Advocate Office holds ceremonial fast in response to provincial government’s CFS reform plan

July 11, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Ceremonial fast also supports the Justice For Our Stolen Children camp in Regina

Treaty One Territory, MB. _The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ First Nations Family Advocate Office begins a ceremonial fast today at the Manitoba Legislative Building grounds to counter upcoming harmful provincial government Child and Family Services (CFS) reform plans.

Manitoba has over 11,000 Indigenous children in CFS care with approximately 6,000 permanent wards. In October 2017, the Pallister government announced subsidized guardianship as part of its CFS system reform. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the highest rates of children in foster care. Ninety per cent of children in care in Manitoba are Indigenous.

“This fast is being held to keep sustained attention on the crisis of our stolen children and to push for urgent federal and provincial action,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

“We are doing this fast in solidarity with the “Justice for Our Stolen Children” camp in Saskatchewan where they have erected teepees near the Saskatchewan Legislative Building,” said Cora Morgan, the AMC’s First Nations Family Advocate.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan suffer from the highest rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls – many of whom come from foster care. Both provinces also have the highest youth and adult over-incarceration rates in Canada, again many of those citizens have spent time in foster care.

“We know from the research that children in foster care are less likely to finish high school and more likely to end up physically and sexually abused by foster parents,” said Grand Chief Dumas.

In December 2017, the AMC partnered with Canada to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on child welfare that will see Manitoba First Nations exert jurisdiction over our children and families.

“We are working with First Nations in Manitoba to implement our own laws and policies and take back control and jurisdiction over our children. It is long past due that First Nation jurisdiction over our children and families – on and off reserve – was recognized and fully implemented,” said Grand Chief Dumas.

About the First Nations Family Advocate Office

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs opened the First Nations Family Advocate Office on June 1, 2015, with the office gifted the name “Abinoojiyak Bigiiwewag,” which translates to “Our Children are Coming Home.” Our office supports and advocates for Indigenous families involved with Child and Family Services.