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NATIONAL CHIEF PERRY BELLEGARDE BULLETIN – Emergency Meeting on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Child and Family Services

on January 30, 2018

January 30, 2018

First Nations, Inuit and Métis, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments Meeting on Child Welfare Reform

On January 25 and 26, First Nations leaders, Elders and child welfare experts and advocates gathered with Métis and Inuit leadership and federal, provincial and territorial representatives for an emergency meeting on child welfare reform.

The meeting was called by federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott prior to the December 2017 Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly.

The emergency meeting was an opportunity to address the current human rights crisis currently facing our children and our families, and to challenge all governments to work with First Nations on child welfare reform. The AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s human rights complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal against the Government of Canada, led to a landmark ruling in 2016 that found Canada is discriminating against our children. That was an important ruling. We continue to pressure Canada to fully implement the Tribunal’s decision. I have always maintained that provincial and territorial systems must also come to the table to talk about reform and transformation.

At the emergency meeting, we heard from leaders, Elders and families on the harms caused to our children and families under the current systems. The systems are broken. We need to work together to fix them.

I challenged the federal government, provinces and territories to work with First Nations to establish new decision-making process in each province and territory – with clear roles, responsibilities and timelines and to live up to the Premiers’ 2016 commitment to make child welfare reform a priority. I also delivered this message by letter to each of the Premiers prior to the meeting.

It is time to shift the overall focus from apprehension to prevention and to establish approaches that unite rather than divide. The different systems need to improve communication and respect innovative, First Nation-led approaches to reform, including a shared focus on keeping children with their families and communities whenever possible. With more than 40,000 children in care, we all agree the current approach harms our children. The pain is real for our families. We know the problems. We know there are innovative solutions. Now is the time for action.

The federal government put forth a six-point plan of action by Minister Philpott during the meeting:

  • Continuing the work to fully implement all orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
  • Shifting the programming focus to prevention and early intervention;
  • Work with our partners to sup
  • port communities to draw down jurisdiction in the area of child and family services, including exploring co-developed federal legislation;
  • Supporting Inuit and Métis leadership to advance culturally-appropriate reform;
  • Developing a data and reporting strategy with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners; and,
  • Accelerating the work of trilateral technical tables that are in place across the country.

First Nations remain focused on our key priorities. We must immediately close the funding gap that deprives First Nations children of their childhood, including essential programs and services other children in care receive. Minister Philpott has committed to a new infusion of resources in the upcoming federal budget. That is important, but we know our agencies and our children need support now. We also know that focusing on prevention and addressing issues that are related to poverty will help more children stay with their families and extended families and avoid being forced into care. We need to get better data and information and that needs to be shared between First Nations, the federal government and the provinces and territories. Investments today will save lives and future costs. I want to see action and a real plan for change.

The meeting took place during the two-year anniversary of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling that the federal government discriminates against First Nations children and families on reserve.

I acknowledge the federal government and Minister Philpott for making this meeting happen, and welcome the dedication and commitment of the First Nations representatives who participated. Let’s remember, though, that we spent ten years at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to achieve this kind of attention. Now that the meeting is over, what is important is what happens to transform the systems so our children have fairness, hope and opportunity. We must see immediate action.

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Roy WhiteduckNATIONAL CHIEF PERRY BELLEGARDE BULLETIN – Emergency Meeting on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Child and Family Services

United Effort, Prevention are Keys to Fixing First Nations Child Welfare Systems National Chief Bellegarde Advises Emergency Meeting

on January 29, 2018

January 29, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Following a two-day emergency meeting of federal, provincial and territorial governments and First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders and experts, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said there is no excuse for inaction when it comes to fixing child welfare systems in Canada.

“It’s time to seek approaches that unite rather than divide; to move away from apprehension and put the priority on prevention; and keep children in their families and communities whenever possible,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “I want to see formal arrangements in every province and territory with clear roles, responsibilities and timelines to fix the broken systems. The current approach harms our children, and the pain is real for our families. We’ve heard about innovative solutions. There’s simply no excuse not to act.”

The meeting called by federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott brought together provincial and territorial representatives along with First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders, Elders and child welfare experts in Ottawa January 25-26.  The federal government, committed to six points of action outlined by Minister Philpott during the meeting.

January 26 marked two years since the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled the federal government discriminates against First Nations children and families on reserve. In 2016, National Chief Bellegarde challenged all provincial and territorial governments to work with First Nations on new approaches to reform First Nations child welfare, and they all agreed.

“We need to immediately close the funding gap that deprives First Nations children of essential programs and services other children in provincial care receive. We also know that focusing on prevention and addressing issues that are related to poverty will help more children stay with their families and extended families, and avoid being forced into care,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “We need to get better data and information, and that needs to be shared between First Nations, the federal government and the provinces and territories. Investments now save lives and future costs. I want to see action and a real plan for change.”

A dominant theme for First Nations during the sessions was the need for reform that is led by First Nations with support from the relevant jurisdictions.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell) or jyoung@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckUnited Effort, Prevention are Keys to Fixing First Nations Child Welfare Systems National Chief Bellegarde Advises Emergency Meeting

Assembly of First Nations Offers Condolences on the Passing of Former Chief and Elder Doris McLean ‘Guna’

on January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today offered condolences to the family and friends of mother, sister, wife, Elder and Leader, Mrs. Doris McLean, who passed away peacefully in Whitehorse, Yukon, earlier this week.

“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the late Mrs. Doris McLean as you gather to honour and celebrate her life,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Elder McLean spent so much of her time serving her family, and serving all her people in the important and essential role of Clan Matriarch. She will be remembered for her many contributions to our people, to her nation and to the advancement of Modern Agreements in the Yukon that uphold First Nations rights. We offer thoughts and prayers to all who knew her.”

AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek stated: “Mrs. McLean was not only an inspiration, she was for me a dear friend. She was an incredibly experienced yet humble leader. She is a positive role model for Indigenous women and young people in Canada and around the globe. Her dedication and commitment to sharing her culture, sharing stories and bringing awareness to issues impacting our communities is commendable and will act as a legacy for the Yukon and beyond.”

A member of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, McLean was one of the first females to represent her nation as Chief serving from 1988 to 1992. She had many notable achievements both in politics and art – she was a dancer who started the Skookum Jim/Keish Tlingit dance group in the 1970s. She went on to become the first Indigenous person to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Yukon Legislative Assembly. Following a courageous battle with cancer, Mrs. McLean passed away this month in Whitehorse, Yukon. Services for the late Elder and former Chief of Carcross/Tagish First Nation will be held Saturday January 27 in Carcross, Yukon.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell) or jyoung@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Offers Condolences on the Passing of Former Chief and Elder Doris McLean ‘Guna’

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says Feds, Provinces and Territories Must Work with First Nations to Fix the Child Welfare System

on January 24, 2018

January 24, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – In advance of a two-day emergency meeting in Ottawa, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is calling for a commitment by the federal government, provinces and territories to formally work with First Nations to fix the First Nations child welfare system.

“In 2016, I challenged all provincial and territorial governments to work with First Nations on new approaches to reform First Nations child welfare, and they all agreed,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Some jurisdictions are already moving on this urgent work, but we need formal arrangements in each province and territory with clear roles, responsibilities and timelines.  It’s time to move from a failed focus on apprehension, and put the priority on prevention. We want our children to remain in their communities and with their families whenever possible, and we want strong First Nations child welfare agencies to support them. This is about fairness and hope for our children.”

The emergency meeting called by federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott will take place January 25-26 during the two year anniversary of the landmark Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision which ruled the federal government discriminates against First Nations children on reserve by under-funding First Nations child welfare agencies.  The meeting, hosted by Minister Philpott, will include representation by provinces and territories, First Nation communities, Indigenous organizations and the federal government.

“It’s up to each jurisdiction to work together with First Nations to ensure every child has an opportunity to grow and thrive in a safe environment, surrounded and supported by their family and community,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “We’re ready for action by all parties. I want to see each region have a process in place where the provincial and federal governments are working with First Nations on new approaches based on prevention. We’ve been fighting this battle for too long, including ten years for the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling. Ten years in the life of a child is their entire childhood. It’s time to fix the system now.”

In a January 2016 landmark decision, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled the federal government discriminates against First Nations children and families on reserve.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell) or jyoung@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says Feds, Provinces and Territories Must Work with First Nations to Fix the Child Welfare System

First Nations Leaders Join National Chief Bellegarde in Montreal to Support Indigenous Peoples Chapter in NAFTA Negotiations

on January 23, 2018

(Montreal, QC) – As the latest round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks begin in Montreal, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and a delegation of First Nations leaders, including members of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Economic Development, were in Montreal to show support for the Indigenous Peoples Chapter that is being introduced today at the negotiating table. The Indigenous Peoples Chapter is an initiative by Canada in response to National Chief Bellegarde’s recommendation as part of Canada’s NAFTA Council.

“It is essential that our rights, our peoples and our traditional territories are recognized, respected and honoured in these discussions,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The legal landscape on Indigenous rights has changed significantly since NAFTA was first negotiated, including the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This reality has to inform the NAFTA negotiations and any outcomes. We are here to reinforce to all parties that they endorsed the UN Declaration, and to remind Canada that regardless of the outcome, they have constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples.”

The National Chief, along with portfolio holder B.C. Regional Chief Terry Teegee, are meeting in Montreal with members of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Economic Development to discuss the importance of trade to First Nations economic growth, participation in the labour force and inter-tribal trade.

Regional Chief Teegee stated, “Our involvement in NAFTA sets an important precedent for any future discussions of this kind. Indigenous peoples and rights are becoming a new area of discussions in national and international trade negotiations, and Canada is putting itself at the forefront of this work. This is a positive approach, and our involvement will lead to a better outcome for First Nations and all Canadians.”

National Chief Bellegarde was approached in July 2017 to participate on the NAFTA Council to advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs directly throughout the NAFTA negotiations. This is the first time an AFN National Chief has been asked by Canada to participate in international trade agreements and sets an important precedent.

AFN Annual General Assembly resolution #32/2017, First Nations Trade Relations, provides direction to the AFN, affirms First Nations inherent right to trade, and mandates efforts to advocate for First Nations economic growth and the development of options to secure greater economic independence.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 201
jyoung@afn.ca

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Angie TurnerFirst Nations Leaders Join National Chief Bellegarde in Montreal to Support Indigenous Peoples Chapter in NAFTA Negotiations

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates New AFN Yukon Interim Regional Chief Kluane Adamek

on January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde congratulates Kluane Adamek who was appointed by Yukon First Nation Chiefs as the AFN Yukon Interim Regional Chief on January 17, 2018.

“I congratulate Kluane Adamek on her appointment and welcome her to the AFN Executive Committee,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “I have known Interim Regional Chief Adamek for many years and I look forward to working together to pursue priorities for First Nations in the Yukon and First Nations across the country.  Her strong voice, leadership and dedication to issues like education, the environment, economic development, child and youth development, and governance will help advance our priorities on a national level.”

Interim Regional Chief Adamek previously represented Yukon interests at the AFN as the territory’s representative to both the AFN Chiefs Committee on Education and the AFN Youth Council.  She was the Director of Government Relations for Northwestel, the largest telecommunications company in the North, and has worked for the Yukon Government’s cabinet office. Interim Regional Chief Adamek is the founder of Our Voices, a collective of northern Indigenous emerging leaders. In 2017 she was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference. Interim Regional Chief Adamek is a citizen of Kluane First Nation.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext 116
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
jyoung@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates New AFN Yukon Interim Regional Chief Kluane Adamek

AFN National Chief Calls for Justice for St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors

on January 15, 2018

January 15, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says the Government of Canada must work with survivors of the St. Anne’s Residential School to achieve justice and reconciliation.

“We stand with the survivors of the St. Anne’s Residential School in their fight for justice,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Bellegarde. “We join their call for Canada to put aside court battles and work with them to reach a negotiated settlement that will help in their journey to healing. Canada says it is committed to reconciliation, and justice for residential schools survivors is fundamental to that work. We have supported the survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School in the past and we stand with them again today.”

The survivors are calling on the federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett to work with them on a negotiated settlement. On January 4, 2018, in the most recent court decision on this matter, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled that the federal government could continue to reject the use of police and court transcripts as evidence in student-on-student compensation claims from survivors who attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School.

AFN has participated in legal action supporting St. Anne’s survivors in the past and will continue to support them.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Calls for Justice for St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors

Investment in First Nations Policing Welcome Move for First Nation Families and Safety, AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says

on January 12, 2018

January 11, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says yesterday’s announcement on federal support for the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) is necessary and critical to ensure safety and security for First Nations and First Nations police forces and police officers.

“Our primary concern is safety and security for First Nations, our families and First Nations police officers,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Yesterday’s announcement will help ensure First Nations police officers and staff will have the tools necessary to do their jobs. These officers already put their lives on the line and should not have to face additional risks because they don’t have proper equipment. We want our police forces to be supported and funded at the same levels as other police forces in Canada and deemed an essential service. I lift up Minister Goodale for taking a significant step in the right direction.”

The First Nations Policing Program has been an urgent priority for First Nations, with many agreements set to expire at the end of March. Yesterday’s announcement of funding over five years ensures these programs can continue. At a meeting on November 20, 2017 under the AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities, which commits federal cabinet ministers and First Nation representatives to meet three times a year, First Nations leaders cited the FNPP as an urgent priority. Participants spoke strongly about the need to support the programs and recognize them as an essential service.

AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee, who holds the Justice Portfolio for the AFN, stated: “Yesterday’s announcement is an important recognition of the role First Nations police forces play in our communities. First Nations police forces must be fully supported and expanded; it is an essential service for all Canadians and First Nations peoples. Improving security and policing in First Nations communities will benefit everyone. We welcome yesterday’s announcement and look forward to working together on the next steps.”

There are a number of AFN national resolutions calling for action to support First Nations police officers and police services. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale yesterday announced that Canada will be investing up to $189.2 million in funding over five years and ongoing, beginning in 2018-2019, in addition to budget 2017’s commitment of $102 million to policing in Indigenous communities over five years. The Minister also committed to examining ways to improve the effectiveness of the FNPP.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates. 

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckInvestment in First Nations Policing Welcome Move for First Nation Families and Safety, AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says

Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Hockey Hall of Fame Honouring the Sagkeeng Oldtimers First Nations Hockey Team

on January 12, 2018

January 11, 2018 

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart welcomed the recognition of the Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team by the Hockey Hall of Fame at a ceremony that took place Tuesday January 9 in Toronto. The team was made up largely of residential school survivors from Manitoba.

“I congratulate all those players who were part of the groundbreaking Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team on this important recognition,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is a fascinating story of courage, strength and healing that deserves to be shared with all Canadians. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for governments, sports halls of fame and other organizations to work with Indigenous peoples to provide public education about Indigenous athletes. I lift up the Hockey Hall of Fame for understanding that the Sagkeeng Oldtimers are part of the story of hockey in Canada, and part of the story of Canada itself. This is an example of reconciliation in action, and a tremendous way for Canadians to learn more about our history.”

For a period of over 20 years, starting in 1978, the Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team travelled and competed nationally and internationally in many hockey tournaments. Walter and Verna Fontaine, who had attended the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School in Manitoba in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, were the founders and fundraisers of the Sagkeeng Oldtimers. Members of the team included former AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, former AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Ken Young and current Treaty 6 Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart stated, “This hockey team is a jewel of Manitoba sports history. These men dedicated themselves to a sport they love and were able to travel the world. Playing, practicing and traveling together helped them bond together in a positive spirit, and helped in dealing with the traumatic impacts of residential school. They are role models for our youth and our athletes. I congratulate them and look forward to seeing this showcase in the near future.”

The Sagkeeng Oldtimers were honoured on Tuesday January 9 with a ceremony and a showcase of artifacts in the New Acquisition display area within Canada’s national Hockey Hall of Fame.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Welcomes Hockey Hall of Fame Honouring the Sagkeeng Oldtimers First Nations Hockey Team
Assembly of First Nations
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