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First Nation Boots Out CAS
December 13, 2006 permalink
The Wahgoshig First Nation has barred the Timmins and District Children's Aid Society from his territory, as a means of protecting its children. Is there any chance the Province of Ontario will extend the same privilege to the other people of Ontario?
NAN supports Wahgoshig's demand for recognition of First Nation child and family service
THUNDER BAY, ON, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy says given the inherent right to self-governance, First Nation child and family service agencies, specifically Timmins based Kunuwanimano, should be recognized as the primary service for First Nations rather than the Government of Ontario's Children's Aid Society (CAS).
"The most recent practice of CAS brings back many memories of the 'Sixties Scoop' not only for those directly involved, but for the community of Wahgoshig and the First Nations of NAN as a whole," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "Without proper recognition of First Nation child and family service agencies as the ideal and primary service, First Nations across Ontario will continue to feel victimized as a result of history seeming to repeat itself."
After a public retrieval of an infant by two workers from Timmins and District Children's Aid Society and City Police at a Timmins shopping centre last week, Wahgoshig First Nation (one of NAN's 49 First Nation communities) declared Friday the community is restricting CAS and Ministry of Youth Services from entering the community.
"We are losing our children to a system that does not belong to us," said Wahgoshig First Nation Chief Dave Babin adding this is an issue that must be addressed throughout the North. "Ideally all First Nations should be governed by a First Nation Child and Family Service not a government CAS. If it is a case of a First Nation then it should be handled by a First Nation organization."
Kunuwanimano is a First Nation Child and Family Service Agency serving 11 of NAN's 49 First Nation communities. It operates out of Timmins, Ontario.
The "Sixties Scoop" refers to a period between the 1960s and 1980s where a documented 17,000 First Nation children were taken from their homes to be adopted by non-native families across Canada, United States of America, and Europe. Wahgoshig Chief Babin considers this period an attempt at genocide and is seeking reparation under the Genocide Convention Act (1949), including establishing a national inquiry to investigate policy and period purpose.
Babin says one of his community's objectives is to negotiate with the Ministry of Youth Services, however Wahgoshig First Nation will be closed to them and CAS until Kunuwanimano is designated and CAS adheres to its workplan.
Wahgoshig First Nation together with Kunuwanimano Child and Family Services will host a news conference at the Wahgoshig band office tomorrow.
For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications - Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952; OR Wahgoshig First Nation Chief Dave Babin at (705) 273-2055 or (705) 262-2770
Source: press release by Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Addendum: The subject came up in the Ontario legislature. Here are some questions by Andrea Horwath and clueless answers by Mary Anne Chambers.