Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a landmark agreement that will return Canada’s responsibility for child welfare to Cowessess First Nation, which he described as a key step in reducing the number of indigenous children in the foster care system.
Trudeau traveled to the Saskatchewan community this afternoon to announce the announcement with Chief Cadmus Delorme and Saskatchewan Governor Scott Moe. protocol.
Trudeau said at the ceremony to commemorate the agreement: “Children should never be taken away from their homes, families and communities.”
“Children need to be raised, protected, supported and educated by their communities.”
Today is Trudeau’s first visit to Cossis from the country. Initially found 751 unmarked graves Near the former Maryvale boarding school in June.
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about the new agreement on child welfare between Canada and Cowessess First Nation
According to federal government data, indigenous children account for 52.2% of foster children under 14 years of age, although this group only accounts for 7.7% of all children under 14 years of age.
A representative of the Cowessess Youth Committee said that approximately 150 children from the community are now in foster care.
“It’s time for them to go home and heal with their family,” Mia Bakles said.
Canada’s foster care system is described as A modern version of the country’s boarding school system, Trying to deprive indigenous children of their language, culture, and sever ties with their hometown communities.
The agreement is first based on legislation introduced in 2019
The agreement between Cowessess and Canada is the first agreement signed under new legislation introduced in 2019-the “First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children, Youth and Families Act”-aimed at reducing Number of indigenous children in care and improvement of family services.
Ottawa pledged to invest 38.7 million Canadian dollars in the next two years to help Cowessess build its own children and family service system.
“Today is a historic day because we have never given up our sovereignty over our children,” Delorm said in a speech at the ceremony.
He said the goal of the agreement is to one day exclude all Cowessess children from Canada’s foster care system. Delorme said Cowessess had no control over children’s decision-making rights since 1951.
“We have a lot of work to do. Every day we roll up our sleeves to make sure that every child, when we call them home, they know where their home is, and that is Cowessess First Nation,” Delorme said. “They will dance, they will be educated, they will walk with their heads high and become a proud Cowesses citizen.”
Trudeau said the government is working with other indigenous peoples to reach similar agreements.
In addition to changing the child welfare plan, Trudeau also said that agreements to transfer power to indigenous peoples in areas such as education, healthcare, and commerce are also possible.
“The speed of our actions will depend on the desire and leadership of the communities we work with,” he said.