Topic: Today’s News

Claims process now open for Indian Residential Schools Day Scholars

VANCOUVER, January 4, 2022 – The individual claims process in the Gottfriedson Indian Residential Schools Day Scholars Class Action settlement is now open. The deadline to submit a claim is October 4, 2023.

Each Day Scholar who attended an Indian Residential School during the day only (but did not sleep there overnight) is eligible to apply for a $10,000 Day Scholar Compensation Payment. For a full list of Indian Residential Schools that had or might have had Day Scholars and are included in the settlement see: http://www.justicefordayscholars.com/schools-lists/

In cases where the Day Scholar died on or after May 30, 2005, the deceased Day Scholar’s estate may apply for the Day Scholar Compensation Payment. Claims may be made by the estate Executor/Administrator/Trustee/Liquidator, or if none is appointed, the deceased Day Scholar’s highest priority heir.

Claim forms can be completed and submitted online at: http://www.dayscholarsclaims.com.

Paper versions of the claim forms can be requested from the Claims Administrator at 1-877-877-5786 or dayscholarsclaims@deloitte.ca. The claim forms require basic information only and do not require claimants to provide information about their experiences at Indian Residential Schools. For assistance with filling out a Claim Form, contact the Claims Administrator at 1-877-877-5786.

If you need help determining if you are eligible for compensation, or have any other questions regarding the class action and settlement, please contact Class Counsel at dayscholars@waddellphillips.ca or call 1-888-222-6845.

The settlement also provides $50 million for a Day Scholars Revitalization Fund established to support healing, wellness, education, language, culture, and commemoration for the benefit Day Scholar Survivors and their Descendants. The Fund will be administered by an independent Day Scholars Revitalization Society, which is currently being established. The process for applying for funding from the Day Scholars Revitalization Fund has not yet been set, and will be available from the Day Scholars Revitalization Society once established.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is available to Class Members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, and Hope for Wellness Hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or online at www.hopeforwellness.ca. Counselling is available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut, on request.

Quotes

Diena Jules, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff, Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc: “Today is an historic day. After having been left behind for so many years, the experiences of students who attended Residential Schools as Day Scholars are finally being recognized, and Day Scholars can finally apply for compensation. I encourage all of my fellow Day Scholars to apply as soon as possible.”

Charlotte Gilbert, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff, Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc 

“The road to healing is long, and this is just one step along the way, but it is an important one. I am so glad that Day Scholars no longer have to wait to apply for compensation. Day Scholars also suffered at the Residential Schools and we are glad to finally see this recognition 14 years after the Residential School Settlement.”

Councillor Selina August, shíshálh Nation: 

“Ever since Day Scholars were excluded from the common experience payment of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in 2005, Day Scholars from our community have been advocating for justice. shíshálh Nation is proud to have supported Day Scholars along with Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and the Grand Council of the Crees in their struggle to include the excluded. I have been honoured to work on this file in various capacities, including with Garry Feschuk (hiwus akista) when he first joined forces with Chief Shane Gottfriedson of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, and later as a Councillor. As a member of the Descendant Class myself, I have grown very passionate about attaining justice for Day Scholars. I thank the Day Scholars and particularly the Representative Plaintiffs who took on the burden of this fight on behalf of Day Scholars across Canada.”

Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Elected Chief/Kúkpi7 of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc:

“I am proud that Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, together with shíshálh Nation and the Grand Council of the Crees has championed the cause of Day Scholars over their ten year battle for recognition. It was wrong that Day Scholars were excluded from the common experience payment of Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, and we are glad that today they finally they are able to apply for compensation.”

AFN SIGNS AGREEMENTS-IN-PRINCIPLE ON COMPENSATION FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND OVERHAUL OF FEDERAL PROGRAM

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy  Woodhouse today joined Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu and Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller and others at a press conference announcing $20 billion for compensation for First Nations children and families impacted by the  discriminatory funding practices of the federal First Nations Child and Family Services  (FNCFS) program and its improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle, as well as an  additional $19.807 billion to overhaul the program.  

“This historic settlement, of $40 billion dollars, has been a long time coming,” said AFN  Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse today in Ottawa. “First Nations from across  Canada have had to work very hard for this day. Since we launched the case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal over a decade ago, and prior, the Assembly of First  Nations has pressed the federal government to provide redress for monumental wrongs against First Nations children, wrongs fuelled by an inherently biased system.” She  added that discriminatory funding and other decisions has led to a massive over apprehension of First Nations children into the child welfare system in every province  and territory.  

In a total settlement package valued at $40 billion, the AFN, the Government of Canada  and other parties signed two Agreements-in-Principle on December 31, 2021. These  agreements come after more than a decade of First Nations advocacy, and a precedent  setting win at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2016, appeals by the federal  government to that compensation order, a class action lawsuit filed by the AFN in 2020 and just over one year of negotiations. 

“Every day for decades, First Nations children, some even newborns, have been ripped  from their families and communities, and many denied medical services and other  supports when they’ve needed them, all at the hands of a federal child welfare program  that should have protected them,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse. “This wasn’t and isn’t about parenting. It’s about poverty, and First Nations children being removed from  their families and communities instead of being provided food, clothing or shelter. We  have a long way to go to address the poverty in our nations and no amount of money will ever be the ‘right amount’, nor will it bring back a childhood lost, but today is about acknowledgement, about being seen and heard. Today is about a plan for the future with First Nations defining and determining a path forward grounded in our rights and  the common goal to have our children succeed.” 

The first of two Agreements-in-Principle proposes a total settlement of $20 billion in  compensation to First Nations children and families impacted by discrimination through  the FNCFS program and the improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle. The  compensation acknowledges that First Nations children were unnecessarily  apprehended from their parents and communities and suffered harms that include abuse, the loss of language, loss of culture and loss of connection to their families and  homelands. Compensation will also be made available to certain individuals who were  subjected to a delay, denial or disruption of services, supports, treatment and products  as a result of the federal government’s narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. 

The second Agreement-in-Principle commits the Government of Canada to $19.807  billion to reform the current FNCFS program and includes a framework to correct the  many discriminatory aspects of the FNCFS program and the implementation of Jordan’s  Principle.  

“The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled almost six years ago now that the current  program provides incentive for child welfare agencies to apprehend children,” said AFN  Regional Chief Woodhouse. “Before the Tribunal’s involvement, a child welfare agency  was not reimbursed for expenses incurred to provide services unless the child is removed from their home and placed into state care. Meanwhile, the federal  government’s narrow implementation of Jordan’s Principle has resulted in First Nations children being denied medical and other services which, in some cases, forced parents to place their children into care. The AIP on reform is aimed at eliminating these  structural problems.” 

More than 200,000 First Nations children and youth who were removed from their  homes and nations or denied services under Jordan’s Principle could be eligible for compensation. 

Over the next few months, the AFN and the Government of Canada and others will work  toward a full compensation package in a final settlement agreement that will contain  details on eligibility for compensation and the application process. Work toward long term reform will include AFN-facilitated engagement sessions that will guide negotiations to ensure the reformed program is relevant and responsive to the needs of  First Nations children and families across the country. 

The AFN, together with the First Nations Caring Society, filed a human rights complaint  against the Government of Canada in 2007. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled  in 2016 that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children by  underfunding First Nations child and family services on-reserves and ordered $40,000 to  each First Nations child taken from their homes and placed into foster care  unnecessarily. After the federal government appealed the compensation order, the AFN  filed a class action lawsuit in 2020. Negotiations on a settlement have been ongoing for  more than a year.  

The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone in  need of immediate mental health support. Call toll-free at 1-855-242-3310. 

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

A STEP FORWARD BETWEEN FIRST NATIONS AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: A POSITIVE OUTCOME, BUT A LONG WAY TO GO TO ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION

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After several weeks of negotiations, an agreement in principle on  compensation and reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program was  concluded today between Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and  Family Caring Society of Canada, and other parties, in an effort to cease Canada’s discriminatory  conduct and ensure that the discrimination is not repeated.  

“Although we consider this agreement as being an important step forward, we feel that long-term  reform work is still required for Jordan’s principle, and that reforming government is essential if  we want to prevent any future harm to our First Nations children, youth and families. Until now,  Canada’s slow pace of change on immediate relief has delayed progress on long-term reform. We  expect the federal government to get it right this time. We need concrete actions, starting today”,  said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL). 

This agreement will serve as a framework to reach a final settlement agreement, which will be  brought to the Chiefs-in-Assembly for review and approval. The final agreement should include,  among other things, provisions for compensating First Nations children and their parent(s), or  caregiver(s), who experienced discrimination in the FNCFS program and Jordan’s Principle, and  additional FNCFS program funding focused on prevention and based on substantive equality, while  taking full account of the unique circumstances of the respective First Nation(s), including their  historical, cultural, and geographical needs.  

A few highlights: 

• In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) found that Canada’s funding model was discriminatory, and that its failure to implement Jordan’s Principle on and off community was discriminatory. The Tribunal ordered Canada to cease its discriminatory policies, procedures and agreements and prevent the recurrence of discrimination in the future. 

• In 2019, the CHRT ordered Canada to provide compensation to victims of its discrimination in the delivery of child and family services to First Nations children and the failure to abide by Jordan’s Principle, including: 

o First Nations children living in their community or in the Yukon who were unnecessarily removed from their home, and their parent(s) or caregiving grandparent(s);

o First Nations children who were necessarily removed from their home but were placed outside of their extended family or community; and, 

o First Nations children who faced a gap, delay and/or denial of an essential service, and their parent(s) or caregiving grandparent(s). 

• In 2020, the Assembly of First Nations filed a Class Action lawsuit against Canada for the harms it perpetuated against First Nations children and families in the federal FNCFS program and Jordan’s Principle that is similar to CHRT, and it includes more individuals from 1991. 

• The AFN also has other representative plaintiff individuals who are important to the pursuit of this case. 

About the AFNQL  

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political organization that brings  together 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow the AFNQL on Twitter  @APNQL.  

UN PAS EN AVANT ENTRE LES PREMIÈRES NATIONS ET LE GOUVERNEMENT FÉDÉRAL : UN RÉSULTAT POSITIF, MAIS UN LONG CHEMIN À PARCOURIR POUR ÉLIMINER LA DISCRIMINATION

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Après plusieurs semaines de négociations, une entente de principe  (EPI) sur la compensation et la réforme du programme des Services à l’enfance et à la famille des  Premières Nations (SEFPN) a été conclue aujourd’hui entre le Canada, l’Assemblée des Premières  Nations, la Société de soutien à l’enfance et à la famille des Premières Nations du Canada et d’autres  parties, dans le but de mettre fin à la conduite discriminatoire du Canada et de s’assurer que cette  discrimination ne se répète pas. 

“Bien que nous considérions cette entente comme un important pas en avant, nous pensons qu’un  travail de réforme à long terme est encore nécessaire pour le Principe de Jordan, et que la réforme  du gouvernement est essentielle si nous voulons empêcher tout préjudice futur pour nos enfants,  nos jeunes et nos familles des Premières Nations. Jusqu’à présent, la lenteur des changements  apportés par le Canada en matière d’aide immédiate a retardé les progrès de la réforme à long terme.  Nous attendons du gouvernement fédéral qu’il fasse bien les choses cette fois-ci. Nous avons besoin  d’actions concrètes, dès aujourd’hui “, a déclaré Ghislain Picard, Chef de l’Assemblée des Premières  Nations Québec-Labrador (APNQL). 

Cette entente servira de cadre à la conclusion d’une entente finale de règlement, qui sera soumise à  l’examen et à l’approbation des chefs en assemblée. L’entente finale devrait comprendre, entre  autres, des dispositions visant à indemniser les enfants des Premières Nations et leurs parents ou  leurs soignants qui ont été victimes de discrimination dans le cadre du programme des SEFPN et  du Principe de Jordan, ainsi qu’un financement supplémentaire du programme des SEFPN axé sur  la prévention et fondé sur l’égalité réelle, tout en tenant pleinement compte des circonstances  uniques de la ou des Premières Nations respectives, notamment de leurs besoins historiques,  culturels et géographiques.  

Quelques extraits: 

• En 2016, le Tribunal canadien des droits de la personne (TCDP) a conclu que le modèle de financement du Canada était discriminatoire, que son incapacité à mettre en œuvre le Principe de Jordan dans les communautés et à l’extérieur de celles-ci était discriminatoire. Le Tribunal a ordonné au Canada de mettre fin à ses politiques, procédures et ententes discriminatoires et de prévenir la récurrence de la discrimination à l’avenir.

• En 2019, le TCDP a ordonné au Canada d’indemniser les victimes pour motif de discrimination dans la prestation de services à l’enfance et à la famille aux enfants des Premières Nations et du non-respect du Principe de Jordan, notamment : 

o Les enfants des Premières Nations vivant dans une communauté ou au Yukon et qui ont été inutilement retirés de leur foyer, ainsi que leur(s) parent(s) ou grand(s) parent(s) tuteur(s) ; 

o Les enfants des Premières Nations qui ont été nécessairement retirés de leur foyer mais qui ont été placés en dehors de leur famille élargie ou de leur communauté, o Les enfants des Premières Nations qui ont été confrontés à une lacune, un retard ou un refus d’un service essentiel, ainsi que leur(s) parent(s) ou leur(s) grand(s) parent(s) tuteur(s). 

• En 2020, l’Assemblée des Premières Nations a déposé un recours collectif contre le Canada pour les préjudices qu’il a perpétrés à l’encontre des enfants et des familles des Premières Nations dans le cadre du programme fédéral des SEFPN et du Principe de Jordan, qui est similaire au TCDP, et qui inclut davantage de personnes depuis 1991. 

• L’APN compte également d’autres représentants des plaignants qui sont importants pour la poursuite de cette affaire. 

À propos de l’APNQL  

L’Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-Labrador est l’organisation politique régionale qui  regroupe les 43 Chefs des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador. Suivez l’APNQL sur  Twitter @APNQL.  

Joint statement on land management discussions

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Marvin Yahey, Chief of the Blueberry River First Nations, have released the following update regarding the ongoing active discussions about land management in the territory:

“Today marks the sixth month since the B.C. Supreme Court issued its ruling on Yahey v. British Columbia. It determined that the constitutionally protected Treaty 8 rights of the Blueberry River First Nations have been breached by the cumulative effects of provincially authorized industrial activities within their territory. Justice Burke determined that these activities have infringed on the Nations’ ability to maintain their Indigenous way of life, centred on hunting, trapping and fishing throughout their territory as they have done for generations.

“The provincial government respects the ruling of the court, and over the last six months has been working with Blueberry River First Nations to implement the court’s decision, seeking to improve land management processes in a way that protects and respects Treaty 8 rights while balancing the economy, local jobs and the environment.

“In October, we signed an agreement as an important first step in healing the land and providing stability and certainty for 195 permit holders. Since then, these important discussions are continuing and, together, we are eager to bring forward a shared, long-term solution that supports a sustainable and stable economy.

“We recognize that this court decision has significant implications in the region, and that it has caused uncertainty for workers and local communities.

“The work we are doing involves addressing over 100 years of impacted treaty rights. We undertake this work with urgency, and we are committed to doing this right. As we work together to build a path forward, it is our expectation that everyone in the region be treated with courtesy and respect.

“Both parties remain committed to providing regular updates about these discussions and we will continue to seek input from industry, local governments and residents where appropriate.

“Our shared goal is to establish sustainability and certainty for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here, in the service of securing a positive future for everyone in northeast British Columbia.”

Nationwide Launch of “Understory: A Journey Through the Tongass”

Film highlights threats to our nation’s largest national forest, which includes 17,000 miles of habitat for the region’s wild salmon populations.


SITKA, ALASKA (December 9th 2021) — “Understory: A Journey Through the Tongass” follows a young fisherman, Elsa Sebastian, on a 350-mile coastal expedition of last stands of old-growth temperate rainforest in the Tongass National Forest. Joined by biologist Dr. Natalie Dawson and botanical illustrator Mara Menahan, the three women confront the destruction of clearcut logging and document the wild beauty of an ancient ecosystem, home to salmon spawning habitats. 

The nationwide launch of the film, which occurred on December 7th, coincides with the start of a 60-day comment period on the publication of a proposal to repeal the 2020 Alaska Roadless Rule. Through January 22, 2022, all U.S. citizens can participate in the commenting period urging the Biden administration to restore protections to the Tongass. 

Lying in our “backyard” in Sitka, the Tongass National Forest is a globally significant coastal rainforest ecosystem that plays a vital role in sustaining the wild salmon of Southeast Alaska. The Tongass also lends a big hand in combating climate change, sequestering more than 40% of the carbon stored in all the national forests in the United States. 

“Sitka Salmon Shares is proud to have supported the cause of Tongass protection for many years by helping to spread the word to our members, weighing in as a business, and donating to causes like the “Understory” film through our 1% to the Wild Fund,” said Kelly Harrell, Chief Fisheries Officer. “The Roadless Rule and protection of the Tongass directly benefits our thousands of members and many other businesses, fishermen, seafood consumers, and Alaskans that rely on healthy fisheries and the clean waters of Southeast Alaska.”

Watch the film on December 7th and submit comments to the Biden Administration to restore protections to the Tongass by January 22nd:  

  •   Watch for free on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Da2VRt24MA0
  •   Take action and send a message to the U.S. Forest Service. You can submit electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov
  •   Mail to: Alaska Roadless Rule, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 21628, Juneau, Alaska 99802–1628
  •   Hand Delivery / Courier to: Alaska Roadless Rule, USDA Forest Service, 709 W. 9th Street, Juneau, Alaska 99802
  •   Email: sm.fs.akrdlessrule@usda.gov

“Understory: A Journey Through the Tongass” is a film by Wild Confluence Media and Last Stands, and is presented by Peak Design with support from Sitka Salmon Shares, Audubon Alaska, The Wilderness Society, and Patagonia.

TCG LAUNCHES TAHLTAN STEWARSHIP INITIATIVE WEBSITE

Today the Tahltan Central Government (TCG)  announced the launch of its Tahltan Stewardship Initiative (TSI) website: tsi.tahltan.org. 

The TSI is an opportunity for the Tahltan Nation to have a say on matters that impact their  lands, rights, and wellbeing. Through TSI, the Tahltan Nation can finally have a say in how  to protect their culture, care for their lands, water, fish, and wildlife, supported by global  commitments to reconciliation and new legislation. This work means a new relationship  between the Tahltan Nation and the Province of British Columbia based on truth, respect,  and equality between Nations. 

“Tahltans must be involved in strategic planning and decision-making on matters that  involve our Territory and impact our collective rights and wellbeing. The Tahltan  Stewardship Initiative (TSI) is an opportunity for the Tahltan Nation to have a say in  decisions that matter in accordance with Tahltan values and knowledge. It means  Tahltans deciding how to protect their culture, care for their lands, water, fish, and  wildlife. I am very excited about the launch of our TSI website which will allow Tahltans  to understand, engage and contribute their knowledge to the important work being done  to further our sovereignty and support the continued preservation of our culture,” said  Nalaine Morin, TSI Chair & Lands Director, Tahltan Central Government. 

“The TSI is an important part of our journey and story as a Nation. Since time  immemorial, Tahltans have lived, fought, and bled to protect our Territory. Caring for  our lands, fish, and wildlife is part of who we are. The launch of our new TSI website will  support Tahltans to contribute their knowledge and collective voices to our efforts. We  stand united as we work to maintain our Tahltan identity and protect our environment  for future generations. I commend those within our Nation working on TSI and  encourage all Tahltans to get involved,” said Chad Norman Day, President, Tahltan  Central Government. 

The framework of TSI will build and use Tahltan knowledge and worldview, local  knowledge, and science in decision-making processes, build capacity and provide  opportunities and training for Tahltans to work on stewardship projects. TSI is grounded in  Tahltan values and sovereignty. TSI is a step forward on the journey of self-determination  and preservation of Tahltan culture. 

SASKATCHEWAN CALLS FOR ACTION WITH DIRECT SUPPORT TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

Winter is a special time for many in  Saskatchewan, but it can also be a very trying period. Métis Nation–Saskatchewan  (MN–S) sees the need for a community response to alleviate hardships elevated  by the COVID-19 pandemic right now and is responding accordingly. 

The MN–S Ministry of Health is donating a total of $930,000 to over two dozen organizations across the province that provide front-line support to Métis experiencing difficulties associated with disrupted employment, financial pressure  on households, and stress that negatively impacts mental wellness. These funds  will help the organizations continue providing essential services in their respective  communities. 

MN–S Minister of Health Marg Freisen said, “The work of front-line organizations  such as those addressing mental wellness, food insecurity, harm reduction,  housing insecurity, and other important services are especially critical. Many Métis  and First Nations individuals depend on these services for their physical health,  mental wellbeing and safety.” 

In determining the most critical supports as mental wellness, food insecurity,  housing insecurity, children and young families, the MN–S investment targets  establishments providing access to those supports directly to Métis people in need.  

MN–S President Glen McCallum said, “We are grateful for the work of front-line  service providers who continue to offer critical care during this challenging time.  Their ongoing efforts are not only helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 but are  also addressing other serious mental wellness and health issues. This is not a long  term solution, but we hope this financial support helps ensure the continued  operations of delivering critical, life-saving support to those who need it the most at  a time they need it the most.” 

Some of the organizations receiving MN–S funding include the Canadian Mental  Health Association, food banks across the province, Meadow Lake Outreach  Ministries, the Piwapan Women’s Shelter in La Ronge and Homeward Bound in  Prince Albert.

Meadow Lake Outreach Ministries Executive Director Natanis Bundschuh said,  “For a lot of people, this is the most difficult time of the year. Recent statistics  indicate that the majority of our ministry participants are Indigenous. This support  from the Métis Nation means so much and will have a huge impact on our  community.” 

Homeward Bound Chief Executive Officer Donna Brooks said, “Métis Nation is  such a huge support to our organization. The pressure on individuals and  organizations at this time of the year is tough. Most of our clients are on income  supports and that doesn’t give them anywhere enough to live on. This MN–S  contribution gives direct supports to our most vulnerable clients, making things  possible for them this season.”  

MN–S Local 165, the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI), President  Shirley Isbister said, “With this MN–S gift we can provide children in emergency  homes, and the more than 30 families with 75 children in the Coming Home  Program, with Christmas meals and gifts. It will support some of our most  vulnerable families and help build a better quality of life for Métis people.” 

Piwapan Women’s Shelter Executive Director Karen Sanderson said, “We are  seeing an unusually busy November and December, there’s been a rise in need of  shelter and assistance due to domestic violence and issues of homelessness, and  our shelter is overflowing. This amazing support from MN–S will ease the stress  we’ve had to put on our other funding sources and help provide food security for  clients at a time when the cost of living is getting so high.”  MN–S Minister Friesen added, “Healthy citizens and healthy communities need our  ongoing collaboration, dialogue, partnership, and financial support for essential  front-line services. As the Métis government in Saskatchewan, we encourage  everyone in Saskatchewan and across the Métis Nation to find ways to engage  with community needs and respond with kindness, compassion and generosity.”

Distinctions-Based Approach to Federal Funding Key to Progress for Inuit Women

Economic Update priorities for Pauktuutit include funding for Inuit-specific shelters and transition housing, training for Inuit midwives, plus community healing centres and programs

OTTAWA, December 13, 2021 — Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada wants to see respect for a distinctions-based approach to federal investments to improve the safety and quality of life for Inuit women and gender-diverse people clearly reflected in tomorrow’s Economic and Fiscal Update.  

Specific areas to which Pauktuutit is advocating new funding be directed include Inuit-specific shelters and transition housing, training for Inuit midwifery, as well as community healing centres and programs.

“While Pauktuutit is encouraged by the government’s commitment to a distinctions-based approach toward reconciliation, what we are seeing on a practical basis is a lack of detail regarding funding for Inuit women and gender-diverse people,” said President Kudloo.  “For example, a commitment this month for $724 million for Indigenous shelters and transition housing had no specific allocation for Inuit nor was any application available in Inuktut.”     

The April 2021 federal budget committed $2.2 billion to address the tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).  However, there is still no information regarding how much money the federal government will allocate to Inuit partners like Pauktuutit to ensure the distinctions-based MMIWG Inuit Action Plan is designed and delivered by Inuit women for Inuit women.  

“For Pauktuutit, ensuring a ‘distinctions-based’ approach to end gendered violence is not a preference, it’s an imperative that is absolutely essential to ending the tragedy of missing and murdered Inuit women and girls,” said Kudloo. 

“A distinctions-based approach is necessary because Inuit history with the Crown — along with Inuit language, Inuit culture and Inuit geography — are expressly distinct from that of First Nations and Métis peoples,” said Kudloo.

For healing to occur, commemorative initiatives for the Inuit women we have lost must be designed and implemented by the victims’ families, Inuit women and our communities. 

Likewise, programs and services to improve the safety and security of Inuit women, girls and gender-diverse people — as well as systemic change in areas like health care, education, housing and economic security — will only be achieved if the unique rights, interests, perspectives and ideas of Inuit are deliberately acknowledged, affirmed and implemented.

Pauktuutit also hopes the Economic Update will include funding for a distinctions-based approach to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Act.  “Consistent with articles 22 and 44 of the UN Declaration — which recognize the special needs and rights of women, and work to ensure women have rights and freedoms equal to men — Pauktuutit looks forward to providing a Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens at all discussion tables, as full and equal participants in the federal government’s operationalization of UNDRIP,” said Kudloo.

Pauktuutit is the national representative organization for Inuit women in Canada.  Its mission is to foster a greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women and to empower the voices and leadership of Inuit women at the community, regional and national levels on social, cultural and economic policy and program decisions that impact their lives.

AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald tours flood devastation

On December 9, AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald along with B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin travelled to central BC  to witness the devastation caused by the recent Pacific Northwest floods. Travelling by helicopter the group flew over the communities of Cook’s Ferry and Nicomen First Nations where their respective Chiefs Christine Minnabarriet and Norman Drynock spoke of deep concerns for their children, families, and Elders.

National Chief Archibald says “kukwstsétsemc” (thank you) to Chiefs Arnold Lampreau of the Shackan Indian Band, Chief Marcel Shackelly of the Nooaitch Indian Band, Chief Stuart Jackson of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, and Chief Lee Spahan of the Coldwater Indian Band, for requesting formal meetings with the Ministers and to Minister Farnworth for agreeing to a detailed discussions on the healing path forward. 

National Chief Archibald pressed Minister Farnworth on long-term sustainable funding for the First Nations Emergency Services Society, whose Kamloops office National Chief Archibald toured the day before. Minister Farnsworth agreed the FNESS plays an integral role in assisting, responding to, and supporting First Nations communities when they face climate disasters and trauma from climate change.

Meegwetch to Kúkpi7 Judy Wilson for connecting National Chief to the organization, joining the tour and helping her to understand from a Kúpi7 perspective how vital FNESS is to communities during difficult times.

“I look forward to advocating that FNESS receive long-term sustainable funding so that First Nations are properly supported and assisted during times of crisis,” she said.

Photos:

Touring the Kamloops office of the First Nations Emergency Service Society (FNESS)

Group photo before touring the devastated areas

Photo Credit: FNESS photographer Richard Olak

Jamie Monastyrski

Press Secretary

Office of the National Chief