(Ottawa, ON) – The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is pleased to participate in a meeting with Canada’s Premiers at Big River First Nation in Saskatchewan today. This meeting of the Council of the Federation is an opportunity for National Indigenous Organizations to raise issues pertaining to Indigenous children, youth, and families and their well-being.
It is well known that the well-being of Indigenous peoples is a complex conversation in the context of colonialism. In the past, numerous government policies have sought to harm and separate Indigenous peoples through interventions that directly targeted families and children.
CAP calls on all levels of government to acknowledge the rights of Indigenous peoples and urges them to protect families as the foundation of our communities. “Our peoples living in urban and rural communities across Canada have unique and distinct needs that have not been considered in the new child welfare legislation. I am here today to ensure that the needs of CAP’s constituents are heard. We will not be forgotten” says CAP Chief Robert Bertrand.
We call on all levels of government to accept responsibility for the well-being of Indigenous peoples regardless of their status or location. With the number of Indigenous children in state care being three times higher today than at the height of the Residential School system, and an ever-growing Indigenous population in urban areas, change is urgent.
CAP National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin declares that “It is appalling that here in Saskatchewan, Indigenous youth are more likely to be incarcerated than they are to complete high school. Yesterday was the time to take on these responsibilities. Today is the time to make real change.”
Indigenous children, youth, and families retain inherent rights, and must maintain connections to their communities and culture. CAP is attending this meeting of the Council of the Federation with hopes of strengthening relationships with Premiers and lead to concrete actions towards reconciliation.