11 May 2019
Dear Minister O’Regan;
RE: First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory (FNiT2T) Government & Bill C-92, An Act Respecting First Nation, Metis and Inuit Children and Youth
As you are aware, the First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory (FNiT2T) is a First Nation collective that serves to assist to reclaim our original sovereignty and self-determination within our original lands and natural resources territory-base as is mapped out geographically as “Treaty 2”.
Canada is vested with the delivery of Treaty obligations. Canada is also vested with carrying out ongoing dialogue on behalf of the Crown with regard to Crown actions that potentially and/or actually impact our sovereign inherent and treaty rights.
We are pleased that your Ministry reached out to FNiT2T this past week requesting our position on the federal child welfare Bill C-92 and the offer to meet. Although political representative organizations exist in Manitoba and Ottawa, we assert that no other entity speaks on behalf of the FNiT2T government unless we have provided that direction, this includes child and family well-being of FNiT2T.
FNiT2T are moving forward with or without external legislation. As an independent government we must meaningfully participate in the drafting of legislation that impacts our inherent sovereignty. Colonial legal traditions are vastly different from ours and we should not be asked to be put in a position of vocally supporting these processes that do not include our legal traditions. That would reduce us to the role of agency and this is not who FNiT2T are.
We are aware that the timing of the passage of Bill C-92 is a time sensitive matter and we look forward to meeting with you at your earliest convenience. In advance of our proposed meeting, we invite you to learn more about the FNiT2T by visiting our website: treaty2.com.
Law development is a mandated priority for FNiT2T, however, our children are the first priority and the state of child welfare within our territory is a state of emergency that must be addressed immediately due (but not limited to), the:
- high number of FNiT2T children in care (6000 of FNiT2T children);
- provincial apprehension model in place;
- ‘birth alerts’ and apprehension at hospitals (inadequate planning and communication with expectant mother);
- lack of a positive working relationship with CFS agencies in order to achieve the best outcome for the child and the family;
- intergenerational determinants impacting child welfare policy (assessment and approval process of alternative child placement requirements such as using previous child protection involvement to deny a potential placement);
- need to create alternative measures based on apprehension as a last resort;
- negative outcomes of placement of children outside of family and FNiT2T;
- displacement of families outside of FNiT2T (secondary impact – homelessness of parent(s);
- placement of children in non-FNiT2T and non-First Nation homes (disruption or denial of way of life, culture, identity and language);
- lack of access to advocacy services at the FNiT2T (First Nations based);
- lack of access to legal services (ie: representation provided only if parent(s) will be successful);
- lack of programs and services (First Nations based);
- reunification approaches need culturally appropriate plans (children are still having visits with their parent(s) in office boardrooms or hotel rooms); and
- family focused support to keep the family together where possible.
As the Government for the First Nation in Treaty 2 Territory, we will continue to offer our peace and friendship as we did to the Crown representative at time of the Treaty and look forward to engaging in timely discussions as targeted deadline are sought out regarding Bill C-92.
Last modified: May 13, 2019