Topic: Today’s News

Tŝilhqot’in Nation Calls on Supporters in Wake of Court Decision Gathering for Sacred Water planned on March 22

Williams Lake, BC: The Tŝilhqot’in Nation will be seeking a further injunction from the BC Court of Appeal on March 22nd in order to halt a drilling program approved for Teẑtan Biny and surrounding area, an area of profound cultural and spiritual importance for the Tŝilhqot’in people. The Nation calls on all supporters to attend in solidarity for the environment, human rights and Indigenous peoples across Canada. The court hearing and an evening Gathering for Sacred Water coincide with the United Nations’ World Water Day.

The drilling permit was issued by the outgoing B.C. Liberal Government in 2017 for the stated purpose of advancing Taseko’s New Prosperity mine proposal – despite the fact that the Federal Government has twice rejected this project and it cannot be built.

On March 1, 2019, the B.C. Court of Appeal issued a judgment recognizing that the Teẑtan Biny area is an active cultural school for the Tŝilhqot’in, a resting place for ancestors, a site for spiritual and ceremonial activities and “a place of unique and special significance for the Tŝilhqot’in cultural identity and heritage.”  The Court of Appeal even stated that a decision by government to reject the drilling program “may well have been reasonable,” but nonetheless upheld the provincial approval for this extensive drilling program.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation is applying to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal this judgment.

The area in which the extensive drilling permit has been issued is a site of proven Aboriginal rights to hunt, fish and trap and adjacent to an area of proven and recognized Aboriginal title.

The approval of this permit in the face of such severe cultural and spiritual impacts for the Tŝilhqot’in people is a direct violation of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the current Provincial government has committed to implement and legislate. Taseko Mines Ltd. has informed the Tŝilhqot’in that they intend to begin the drill program on March 19, 2019. The Tŝilhqot’in have requested that the company hold off on their work until the injunction hearing is heard on March 22. To date the company has refused to stand down.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation calls on everyone to stand up for future generations and show support at the court hearing or at a special event in the evening in Vancouver. Drummers, Elders and leaders will gather outside the BC Court of Appeal (800 Hornby St #400, Vancouver, BC) from 8:30am-9:15am before entering the court room. In the evening of March 22nd, the Tŝilhqot’in will co-host a Gathering for Sacred Water. More details to follow on the Tŝilhqot’in National Government’s Facebook page.

Bow Valley College celebrates Indigenous Awareness Month with cultural and program events

CALGARY, AB – Bow Valley College’s Iniikokaan (Buffalo Lodge) Centre is hosting Indigenous Awareness this month to recognize and share the impact of Indigenous culture in Canada.

“This is our second year hosting the Indigenous Showcase on campus, and we want to promote engagement with all students and employees,” states Gerald Ratt, Indigenous Learner Liaison Officer, Learner Success Services. “We will have some Indigenous students who will be speaking and sharing their perspectives on the theme.”

The month’s events include a community fair, art display, traditional foods, film presentations, origin stories, a language pronunciation session, and teachings led by Cultural Resource Elders. The showcase will also feature Powwow and Metis dance performances. 

Noella Wells, Iniikokaan Centre Director, says the event has grown in scope and interest since last year—a clear indicator that people want to expand their knowledge and awareness. 

“This is a great collaboration with many departments at Bow Valley College,” Wells states. “All learners and staff should attend and celebrate for their own reconciliation efforts—to witness, understand, and learn the Indigenous cultures, languages, and people from this area.”

The United Nations’ has designated 2019 as the year of Indigenous Languages. This recognition is also in agreement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action in order to make language a priority.

The College has taken a proactive step in developing an Indigenization strategy, which includes recruiting and retaining more Indigenous learners and employees, raising awareness, understanding, and creating mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous peoples, communities, and post-secondary institutions.

James Kuptana, Indigenization Strategy Specialist, Learner Services and Finance, sees the forward-thinking strategy as two-fold, a primary architect of the project, and sees the forward-thinking strategy as two-fold.

“The first aspect is to make the college more inclusive of Indigenous peoples, ways of knowing, understanding and learning. The other is to initiate a systems and transformational change. The college has been on a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples for over a decade.”

Working in partnership with Indigenous communities (the Kainai, the Piikani, the Siksika, the Tsuut’ina, the Stoney Nakoda and the Metis Nation of Alberta Region #3), Bow Valley College is proudly committed to integrate Indigenous practices, develop focused educational programs, boost community involvement and build respectful relationships at all our campus locations across Alberta.

For more information about Indigenous Awareness Month activities, visit bowvalleycollege.ca.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde Bulletin – March 2019

Federal Legislation on Indigenous Child Welfare – Bill C-92


SUMMARY:

  • On February 28, 2019 Indigenous Services Canada Minister Seamus O’Regan introduced federal legislation on Indigenous child welfare (Bill C-92) that recognizes First Nations jurisdiction over child and family services.
  • The proposed legislation was developed with input by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) legislative working group, comprised of First Nations leaders, technicians and experts from across the country, drawing on years of advocacy and direction.

The initiative to develop this legislation was announced on November 30, 2018 by AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, the former Indigenous Services Canada Minister and leaders of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Métis National Council.

Our children are sacred.  They are gifts from the Creator.  They are the focus and center of our nations, and they deserve every opportunity to fulfil their dreams and succeed.  Decades of underfunding and misguided approaches have harmed our children and families.  Outdated laws and policies have created a situation where our children are grossly over-represented in the child welfare system. We need comprehensive reform across the system, and federal legislation is an essential piece of this reform.

On February 28, the federal government introduced legislation on Indigenous child welfare that recognizes our jurisdiction over child and family services. This follows years of pressure and advocacy for action and reform.  It is a major step toward regaining responsibility over our children.

Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Children, Youth and Families, was introduced in Parliament by Indigenous Services Canada Minister Seamus O’Regan. The AFN legislative working group, comprised of First Nations leaders, technicians and experts from across the country, had direct input into the development of this legislation.  The group drew from years of advocacy and direction to secure key clauses in respect to jurisdiction and prevention.  With a focus on the safety, security and future of First Nations children, this legislation recognizes First Nations jurisdiction to build systems based on First Nations governance, laws and policies. It is about recognizing First Nations jurisdiction as paramount over federal and provincial jurisdiction.  The goal is prevention over apprehension, and keeping our children close and connected to their cultures, healthy and loving families and nations.

The recognition of our jurisdiction is a critical and essential element of reform.  The legislation recognizes the right of First Nations to be responsible for child welfare as an inherent right under section 35 of Canada’s Constitution.  Based on First Nations direction, this legislation helps fill the “box of rights” in section 35.

There are two provisions in the proposed legislation that are key to First Nations and will take effect as soon as the law is passed – family unity, and automatic standing.  Family unity means that every placement of an Indigenous child can be reassessed under the new law. Automatic standing means that a family member will have legal standing in any cases before the courts and First Nations representatives may make representations to courts.

This legislation does not infringe on any existing agreements or impede existing processes that First Nations are working on, including recent agreements in regions across the country. Many First Nations have already built successful child welfare systems or are in the process of doing so. This legislation will give every First Nation the ability to build a system based on their laws, values and priorities.  Every government – federal, provincial and territorial – must work together with First Nations to ensure a seamless transition that supports and recognizes First Nations jurisdiction and ensures no child is left behind.

One area that requires continued advocacy is funding and investments to support our systems.  As you know, legislation never contains specific dollar amounts but this legislation does reference the need for funding in the preamble.  We must continue to advocate for the inclusion of explicit funding provisions that provide for equitable and sustained funding for First Nations.  We will continue to push on all fronts for the right investments to ensure our children are safe, secure and enjoy a fair start in life to pursue every opportunity before them.

I am proud of the efforts to date by everyone involved and want to see this legislation passed before the parliamentary session ends this June. There is some urgency to this work and I look forward to working with you to realize this longstanding goal.

This legislation is truly a new chapter for our children and families – one where we write the laws, policies and values that apply to our children regardless of where they reside. It’s time to end the epidemic of apprehension and ensure our children grow up with a strong connection to their families, nations, cultures and languages.  We can and will create a better day for our children and families.

The AFN is conducting a full review and analysis of the proposed legislation and we will make it available once complete.

Broken Systems Failed Tina Fontaine – AFN Says Coordinated Action Required to Implement Manitoba Child Advocate Report’s Recommendations

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says the report released today by the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth underscores the need to address long-standing failures in approaches by governments across a range of systems, including education, health and mental wellness, and victim support services, in regard to the care and safety of First Nations children.

“This report lays bare the reality that First Nations children and families are still impacted by a history of colonialism and government policies aimed at breaking apart our cultures, our families and our nations,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Children are our most sacred gifts from the Creator, and the systems that should be protecting them are failing them. I continue to offer support to the family and friends of Tina Fontaine as they seek justice and healing. The focus now must be reducing risk. We need urgent action by governments and agencies to work with First Nations families, leaders and experts to act on these recommendations among others. Our guiding principle must be the best interests of the child, including fostering strong connections to their kin and their cultures. I look forward to public progress reports on this important work.”

Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth Daphne Penrose this morning released a special report published after an investigation in accordance with The Advocate for Children and Youth Act. The report, A Place Where it Feels Like Home: The Story of Tina Fontaine, contains five recommendations directed at the Manitoba government, government systems and public bodies. It was released in Tina Fontaine’s home community of Sagkeeng First Nation and aims to uncover truths and honour Tina Fontaine’s legacy.

The 115-page report contains pointed comments on the impacts of colonialism, specifically stating that Tina Fontaine “carried a burden that was not her own”. It offers five recommendations in the areas of education, health and mental wellness, victim support services and child and family services. Ms. Penrose revealed her office will be tracking government compliance with the recommendations publicly.

“This report is a clear call to action for the government to work with First Nations to keep our children safe,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the portfolio for Child Welfare. “The report states that Manitoba has the highest prevalence rate of missing children and youth in the country. We cannot stand by and wait for another tragedy to prompt action. Our children are the center of the circle of our nations. We are taking action and we must keep up momentum. The AFN worked to ensure legislation on First Nations child welfare was put forward last month that will support our right and our jurisdiction to take responsibility for our children. This is one piece of much larger reforms that are needed. My thoughts are with the family of Tina Fontaine as they receive this report, and I want today to mark a new beginning in the safety and protection of our children.”

The August 2014 death of 15-year old Tina Fontaine drew national attention and highlighted the national priority of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Raymond Cormier was acquitted of second-degree murder charges by jury in February 2018.

First Nations have called for changes to the justice system in Canada, including increased representation by First Nations on juries and support for First Nations approaches to justice, including restorative justice.

Following years of pressure and advocacy for action and reform, last month the federal government introduced federal legislation on Indigenous child welfare that recognizes First Nations jurisdiction over child and family services.

The AFN continues to call for a coordinated national action plan to provide safety and security for First Nations women and girls that would include shelters and safe spaces, education and training, transportation, daycare and other supports. The National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is expected to conclude June 2019.

The full report by the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth is available at https://manitobaadvocate.ca/wp-content/uploads/MACY-Special-Report-March-2019-Tina-Fontaine-FINAL1.pdf

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

B.C. approves 314 cutblocks in caribou critical habitat while negotiating conservation plans

VANCOUVER – B.C. has greenlighted the logging of 314 new cutblocks in the critical habitat of southern mountain caribou across B.C. in the past four months alone. 

The shocking discovery made by the Wilderness Committee is prompting the organization to call on Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change, to issue an emergency order to halt logging of southern mountain caribou critical habitat while negotiations for conservation plans are underway. 

“If the province logs what little is left of caribou critical habitat then all this planning will be for nothing,” said Charlotte Dawe, conservation and policy campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. “We need the federal government to step in and protect habitat before it’s all gone.” 

Four months ago, negotiations were well underway between the federal and provincial governments and First Nations to create an effective caribou conservation plan. But while in negotiations the B.C. government continued approving cutblocks in critical habitat.

“It’s as if the B.C. is holding a clear out sale for logging companies to ‘get it while you can!’ It’s the great caribou con from our very own B.C. government,” said Dawe. 

“On the one hand B.C. says it’s protecting caribou while on the other, they’re handing out permits to log habitat as fast as they can. How much more evidence does the federal government need to prove that B.C. is failing to protect caribou?”

Minister McKenna, announced last summer that southern mountain caribou are facing imminent threats to their recovery noting, “immediate intervention is required to allow for eventual recovery.” The announcement came after the functional extinction of two caribou herds in B.C. 

The evidence is piling up against the B.C. government’s claim that they are effectively protecting caribou throughout the province. 

“If the B.C. government was serious about protecting and recovering caribou throughout the province then they should have rejected these cutblocks,” said Eduardo Sousa, Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. “Instead, by approving these blocks, they are negotiating conservation agreements in some of these very same areas in bad faith. It’s appalling and we can’t trust them now.”

Almost a year ago the Wilderness Committee revealed 83 cutblocks were approved in the critical habitat of B.C.’s eight most at-risk herds. Logging rates have increased since the finding; in the past four months, 134 new cutblocks have been approved in the same critical habitats. 

There are two southern mountain caribou local populations where logging approvals are the highest in core critical habitat — the Telkwa and Chilcotin populations. Both have 13 cutblocks each set to be logged.

“The Inter-Band Indigenous Games, the Union of Heart and Spirit” Mike Mckenzie, Chief, Innu Takuaikan mak Mani-utenam Band Council

Uashat mak Mani-utenam, March 12, 2019 – From July 5 to 14, 2019, hundreds of young members of First Nations communities will gather in the territory of Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam for the 15th Edition of the Inter-Band Indigenous Games (JAIB).

The Chief of Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam, Mr. Mike Mckenzie, emphasized the distinctive character of this sport and cultural gathering. “This will be a unique opportunity for the athletes of our next generation to demonstrate how vital a healthy lifestyle is, to not only the body, but also to the heart and mind. If a few weeks ago we denounced the use of drugs vigorously, we must welcome today the flourishing of this youth, which, through sport, undoubtedly demonstrates the strength of the foundations of our respective communities.”

In addition, the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), Mr. Ghislain Picard, is very proud to be involved in the next games. “It is with immense pride that I have agreed to co-chair this 15th Edition of the Inter-Band Indigenous Games that will take place this summer at Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam. Sport and physical activity are positive vectors of healthy lifestyles and our young athletes will demonstrate their desire to excel. In that sense they are our models. The Games will also bring together our Nations, allowing us to celebrate our sporting and cultural traditions in Innu territory. This will be one of the events not to be missed and I encourage our young people to participate in large numbers.”

The Mayor of Sept-Îles, Mr. Réjean Porlier, is also very pleased to be part of this event. “In line with the approach of rapprochement implemented over the last few months, it is with pride that the City of Sept-Îles will collaborate with Innu Takuaikan Mak Mani-Utenam to host this great sporting event. This will allow us to show our part of the country, but also to bring to light an enriching and harmonious coexistence between our communities. Moreover, I am convinced that through their efforts and accomplishments, all of these young people from different Indigenous communities will provide us with a good example of overcoming, mutual aid and solidarity.”

The Inter-Band Indigenous Games will take place from July 5 to 14, 2019. More than 800 athletes aged 9 to 17 will be registered in 16 official disciplines and two demonstration disciplines: swimming and beach volleyball.

National Inquiry offers support for community gatherings and events

Vancouver, March 8, 2019 — The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls today announced it is offering funding assistance for organizations to host community gatherings and events to further the healing of families and survivors of violence and to mark the occasion of the end of the National Inquiry’s mandate.

“We’ve heard from families across the country, from our Grandmothers, Elders and working groups that there is a desire for communities to come together to commemorate the conclusion of the Truth Gathering process and the delivery of the Final Report,” said Chief Commissioner Marion Buller. “We are pleased to support local events that will bring First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities together for the benefit of those affected by the national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

Indigenous-led organizations and organizations with a demonstrated commitment to supporting families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are invited to submit an Expression of Interest application by April 2, 2019 for funding up to a maximum of $25,000.

“There is a recognition that healing needs to take place at the individual and community level,” said Commissioner Brian Eyolfson. “We know how much the support of the community means to families and survivors, and the positive difference it can make in the healing process. Facilitating this is really an extension of our aftercare support services mandate.”

Examples of eligible events may include feasts, traditional ceremonies, healing events and gatherings. Events must occur after funding approval and by June 30, 2019, the end of the National Inquiry’s mandate.

“The National Inquiry exists because families advocated for it for years,” said Commissioner Qajaq Robinson. “It’s only fitting that they are able to commemorate the conclusion of the process.”

On April 30, 2019, the Commissioners will release the National Inquiry’s Final Report. The report will deliver concrete recommendations that will enhance and ensure the safety of First Nations, Metis and Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals.

“As we consulted across the country, we saw that communities are still fractured from the effects of racism and colonialism,” said Commissioner Michèle Audette. “With the release of the Final Report and its recommendations, we support communities to mark a new way forward. We cannot change the past, but we can work together to shape a better future and a new Canada.”

A complete application form can be found here on the National Inquiry’s website.

First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) saddened by death of former Indigenous Youth Intern in air disaster

Coast Salish Traditional Territory/Vancouver:  The First Nations Leadership Council is very saddened to hear of the passing of Micah Messent in yesterday’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster, that resulted in the 157 deaths, including 18 Canadians.

Micah, an Indigenous youth, was a member of the Red River Métis Nation in Manitoba, was raised as the youngest of five siblings in the Comox Valley.

Micah was a well-liked member of the Year 11 (2017-18) intake of youth in the Indigenous Youth Internship Program (IYIP) – formerly the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP), which each year provides a 12-month internship for up to 25 young Indigenous British Columbians, ages 19 to 29.  Micah served his IYIP placement with the BC Parks branch of the Ministry of Environment. 

Micah’s placement with BC Parks provided him the opportunity to not only utilize his formal education, but also to exchange traditional teachings and life experiences with others. The placement led to a full-time position in government with the BC Parks Indigenous Relations team that focuses on enhancing reconciliation within the agency and the broader Natural Resource Sector.

Micah, an avid sailor, was a graduate of the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Victoria and had plans to return to school in the future to pursue a law degree.

The FNLC sends deepest condolences to the family, friends and community of Micah Messent during this sad time. As well, we are sending our thoughts to the Indigenous youth interns who worked along side Micah.

Recommendations delivered for Wild Salmon Strategy

VICTORIA – The Wild Salmon Advisory Council has submitted its final recommendations to develop a Made-in-B.C. Wild Salmon Strategy for the B.C. government’s review and consideration.

The council made 13 recommendations that include immediate and mid-term actions that have three goals:

  • Increase the abundance of wild salmon;
  • Protect and enhance the economic, social and cultural benefits that come to B.C. communities from wild salmon and other fisheries, placing emphasis on adjacent communities; and
  • Develop mechanisms, processes, practices and structures to engage citizens and governments in the effective stewardship and management of B.C.’s wild salmon.

In its recommendations, the council called on government to focus on “tangible, achievable, near-term actions that can address the immediate needs of wild salmon and their habitat”, as well as establishing “long-term provincial engagement on this issue, recognizing that impact will require ongoing and significant effort.”

The recommendations include input and feedback received from community meetings and a public engagement process that welcomed British Columbians’ online participation. The engagement took place from fall 2018 to January 2019 and was based on an options paper the council prepared.

The Wild Salmon Advisory Council consists of 14 British Columbians who have a broad understanding of the role that salmon play within B.C.’s environment, for coastal and inland Indigenous communities, and local economies up and down the coast. The council is co-chaired by Chief Marilyn Slett of Heiltsuk Nation and Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, is also a council member.

The B.C. government is reviewing the recommendations as part of its commitment to support restoring healthy and abundant wild salmon stocks in B.C.

Learn More:

Report with recommendations for the Made-in-B.C. Wild Salmon Strategy: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/426/2019/03/Wild-Salmon-Advisory-Council-Report.pdf.

Summary of the public engagement: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/b-c-wild-salmon-strategy/

Métis Nation Announces Engagement Sessions for Métis Sixties Scoop Survivors

OTTAWA, March 11, 2019 /CNW/ – Engagement sessions across the Métis Homeland hosted by Métis Nation Governing Members will be held over the next two months for Métis survivors of the ‘Sixties Scoop’.

As a follow up to the National Symposium on Métis 60s Scoop Survivors that brought together Métis survivors and their families, held in Winnipeg on October 19-21, 2018, these engagement sessions will hear further from Métis 60s Scoop survivors from across Canada.  These engagement sessions will help inform the federal government in addressing the legacy of the 60s Scoop on the Métis and to reconcile its harmful effects.

The engagement sessions will be held in the following locations:

Métis 60s Scoop survivors and their families are encouraged to participate and can find information on all the sessions at www.sixties.scoop.metisportals.ca or by calling toll free: 1-800-928-6330 ext 532. 

Manitoba Metis FederationMarch 15-17, 2019 – Swan River, Manitoba
Métis Nation of AlbertaMarch 29-31, 2019 – Edmonton, Alberta
Métis Nation – SaskatchewanApril 5-7, 2019 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 
Métis Nation of OntarioApril 12-14, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario
Métis Nation British ColumbiaApril 26-28, 2019 – Richmond, British Columbia 

At each engagement session, Métis 60s Scoop survivors and their families will be hosted in a safe, respectful, culturally based environment. It is an opportunity for survivors to meet with other survivors and to access support and counselling if required. 

The ‘Sixties Scoop’ scans an era from the 1950s through 1990s during which thousands of Indigenous children were apprehended by provincial Child and Family agencies, placed in foster homes and adopted by non-Indigenous families throughout Canada and the United States.  In 2016, the federal government announced that it would settle numerous civil lawsuits related to the Sixties Scoop initiated by First Nations and Inuit in Canada. 

“This is one of many ways that survivors will have the opportunity to share their insights into the development of a Métis Nation Sixties Scoop resolution. It is important to us that survivors are given every chance to join in and be heard to help shape how this work will be done,” says Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council.

 “We know our survivors have suffered and continue to struggle with the trauma experienced at the hands of Canada.  The intergenerational impacts are still being felt by our families and survivors today,” states David Chartrand, Métis National Council Vice-President and Minister of Social Development, noting that healing the survivor will heal the family, community and ultimately bring peace to the Métis Nation.

While the First Nations and Inuit have achieved reconciliation through civil action lawsuits against Canada, the Métis Nation is taking an unprecedented approach to reconciliation based on its nation-to-nation relationship with Canada.  These engagement sessions will inform the Métis Nation on how it works with Canada on this issue to advance reconciliation concerns.

All media are invited to the sessions.

The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation’s homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into the contiguous parts of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the United States. There are approximately 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.

Background: Métis Nation and the Sixties Scoop

From 1951 to 1991 the governments and churches of this country pursued the wholesale removal of Métis children from their parents and families. These removals were part of a larger system of colonization, a system that included the residential and day schools, the dispossession of land, and the destruction of Métis communities. Today it is unusual to find a Métis family or community who has not been impacted by the Sixties Scoop.

A Different Approach: Reconciliation for Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors

The Métis Nation and the government of Canada are working on a nation-to-nation basis to reconcile the wrongs perpetrated against the people of the Métis Nation during the Sixties Scoop. David Chartrand, Métis Nation Minister of Social Development, called on the federal government for a Métis Nation specific process guided and informed by Métis survivors leading to reconciliation. 

National Symposium: Initial Engagement with Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors

As an important early step, a Métis Nation Sixties Scoop National Symposium was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba from October 19 to 21, 2018. The Symposium brought together Métis Sixties Scoop survivors, their family members, leaders, Elders, counsellors, and other stakeholders.

During the Symposium, survivors shared the devastating trauma of abuse, cultural genocide and the inter-generational impacts of being stolen from their families. Survivors who had found and returned to their birth families spoke of their healing journey through repatriation initiatives such as the Manitoba Metis Federation Lost Moccasin program. They also directed the Métis Nation to conduct regional and local sessions with Sixties Scoop survivors across the Métis Nation Homeland.

Next Steps: Engaging the Regions, Building a Framework for Reconciliation

In keeping with the direction from Sixties Scoop survivors and their family members at the Nation Symposium, upcoming engagement sessions will focus on hearing directly from Métis survivors and their families. A “What we Heard Report” will be produced to inform a Métis Nation Sixties Scoop framework that focuses on reconciliation, repatriation, healing and justice for Métis Nation Sixties Scoop survivors.