Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC) – First Nations leadership and child-serving organizations gathered over the past two days, along with representatives of the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada – to discuss the current crisis in Indigenous child welfare in British Columbia.
Deb Foxcroft, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council stated, “First Nations did not come here to simply talk. We do not want to waste our time, and more importantly, our children’s time. Our chiefs didn’t travel here from the West Coast of Vancouver Island to simply talk without action.”
The Gathering had more than 400 participants who heard from and dialogued with high-profile and powerful voices such as Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and Dr. Wilton Littlechild, as well as youth who shared the profound impacts of being in state care and being “aged out” of the system unprepared for adult life.
First Nations are resolute in re-assuming full control and exercise of their inherent right of self-determination over the health and well-being of their children, families and communities.
The First Nations Leadership Council – comprised of the political executives of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC Assembly of First Nations, and First Nations Summit – will advance, with First Nations and willing partners, an action- oriented strategy to support the transition to culturally appropriate Indigenous child and family welfare approaches. First Nations were unified in the call for wholesale reform of the current system that was born from colonial policies that have utterly failed our children and families.