OTTAWA, Feb. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - If a measure of a country is how it treats its children, many children think the federal government can do much better for First Nations children. On Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 10:30 a.m., hundreds of students from the Ottawa/Gatineau area will join children from as far away as Manitoba on Parliament Hill in solidarity with the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations at the Have a Heart for First Nations Children Valentine 's Day. The gathering was inspired by a federal court case being heard from February 13-15, 2012 where First Nations want a full hearing on the facts to determine if the federal government is discriminating against First Nations children by under-funding child welfare services. The federal government wants the case dismissed before any evidence is heard.
Students from Lady Evelyn Alternative School, Pierre Elliot Trudeau School and Kitigan Zibi First Nation will read from letters they have written to support the rights of First Nations children to equal access to child welfare, health and education. As part of the event, the children will launch a new book written by students at Lady Evelyn Alternate School and Pierre Elliott Trudeau School called, Children have power! Voices of children standing in solidarity with First Nations children. The book is a compilation of letters, poems and artwork about the importance of First Nations children being treated fairly in ways that make them feel proud of who they are. The children want Canadians to know that we, the children, are going to change the world! We are going to the Parliament buildings (Algonquin Territory) to tell the government of Canada that we want First Nations children to have equal access and funds to education, health care and community. We want First Nations children to be able to grow up and be proud of who they are and be raised by their own families in safe and "comfy" schools and homes. That is why we are going to Parliament. Children have power too! Our voices and our spirits will change the world. We are standing in solidarity with our First Nations friends."
The day will also feature the first public performance of the song "Witness" written and recorded by Riva Farrell-Racette from Saskatchewan in honour of the I am a witness campaign (www.fnwitness.ca) that invites caring Canadians to follow the First Nations child welfare case. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada says "children sing Oh Canada the loudest because they know what it means. They understand the importance of fairness and are showing us how to stand on guard for equity and fairness and build a better Canada for us all."
For further information:
Annie Atnikov, Lady Evelyn Alternate School: [email protected]
Lisa Howell, Pierre Elliott Trudeau School: [email protected]
Student speaking French, English and Arabic are available for interviews
Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada: [email protected] Ph: 613 230-5885 or 613 793-8440