Treaty No. 6 Territory, March 19, 2019 /CNW/ - First Nations across Canada have reviewed Bill C-92 and have serious concerns as it is a direct threat to First Nation inherent jurisdiction. Chiefs say that Canada cannot continue to manufacture consent by preselecting individuals and organizations willing to endorse their agenda. Legislation impacting First Nations cannot continue to be drafted behind closed doors. There must be a joint process that upholds the standard of free, prior, and informed consent of our Nations and rights holders. Chiefs have long stated that in order to recover our children and families from the impacts of residential schools, the 60s scoop, and day schools, that First Nations must exercise their inherent jurisdiction. First Nations must be in the driver's seat and Bill C-92 fails to achieve this.
The Chiefs of: Okimaw Henry Lewis, Onion Lake Cree Nation; Okimaw Craig Makinaw, Ermineskin Cree Nation; Chief Kurt Burnstick, Alexander First Nation, Xakiji (Chief) Lee Crowchild, Tsuut'ina Nation; Grand Chief Joel Abram and Deputy Grand Chief Gordon Peters, Association of Iroquois & Allied Indians reject Bill C-92 in its entirety, as we have not given our Free, Prior, and Informed consent to this process and we refuse to give up our inherent jurisdiction to the Federal Government and the Provinces. It is evident that the rejected Rights Framework is being implemented piecemeal through legislation and policy with outcomes that undermine our inherent jurisdiction. We see Bill C-92 as an extension of the Rights Framework and as a form of delegated authority. Chief Mackinaw, from Ermineskin Cree Nation states, "the Bill does not meet our peoples and Nations standard to break the cycle and is not in the best interest of First Nation's children." Canada committed to "recognize the control of child welfare services" to First Nations and this has not been achieved.
In the 2016 Liberal budget, there was $635M over 5 years allocated to Child Welfare with the majority going to the Provinces, who have no jurisdiction over our children and families. This is a violation of our inherent rights, the Treaty relationship, and undermines our ability to care for our future generations. Additionally, the Chiefs have said, if the Federal Government were acting in the best interest of the child, adequate, sustainable, and guaranteed funding would be provided to match our inherent jurisdiction. We know what is best for our families and external governments have a terrible track record when it comes to Indigenous children.
Chiefs demand that the true spirit and intent of Treaty and Inherent Rights be honoured and implemented. Okimaw Lewis, from Onion Lake Cree Nation stated, "We will not stand by and allow Canada to turn us into a fourth level of government when we are the Original Nations here with the responsibilities and obligations to protect the future generations. If the Government is genuine about building the treaty relationship, they would recognize and implement the spirit and intent of the Treaty relationship."
SOURCE Onion Lake Cree Nation
For further information: If you would like more information about this topic, please contact: Janice Makokis, Onion Lake Cree Nation, E-mail: [email protected], Ph: 780-915-0310