Manitoba’s Bill 32 A Fundamental Failure of Treaty and Recognition of First Nations Jurisdiction
March 15, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Cathy Merrick attended the Manitoba Legislative Assembly as the Province of Manitoba introduces Bill 32: An Act Respecting Child and Family Services – Indigenous Jurisdiction and Related Amendments.
“For over 150 years, we witnessed the deliberate assaults of genocide towards our First Nations families to deliberately separate and break the bond between parents and children resulting in the loss of culture, language, identity and Nationhood,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “There is this expectation that the province and these colonial institutions are to have our best interest for our children and families. History has proven that we cannot rely on government alone to undo the harm and trauma caused by the passing of previous government policies and legislations.”
Bill 32 is the latest piece of provincial legislation announced by Manitoba to align with the federal legislation, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and families. Bill 32 seeks to amend a broken provincial system based on the apprehension of First Nations children. Approximately 80 per cent of children in provincial care are First Nations. It has been identified that there are more First Nations children institutionalized by the child welfare system today than there ever were during the height of residential schools.
“It was understood at the time of the Treaty that Settlers and First Nations have their own separate laws and that these laws would be honoured and respected,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “However, we continue to be legislated to control and limit our authority and decision-making power as sovereign Nations. As this provincial government introduces Bill 32, it is incumbent on the province to have meaningful engagement with First Nations to support a First Nations system for child and family services that reflects our First Nations laws and legal orders.”
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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.