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Indians Chase Away White Men

July 10, 2009 permalink

The Constance Lake First Nation has banned children's aid workers from its territory. CAS workers entering the reserve will be treated as trespassers, and if any children are removed from the community it will be considered a kidnapping.

It would be nice if getting rid of CAS was that easy for the rest of us.



First Nation Bans Children's Aid Workers

Constance Lake First Nation, ON, -- Ontario Children’s Aid Workers are being prohibited from entering a First Nation Community. Constance Lake First Nation Chief and Council have passed a resolution banning all members of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services from their territory. Chief Arthur Moore says; “If for any reason a representative enters onto Constance Lake Territory, they will be treated as trespassers, and if any children are removed from the community it will be considered a kidnapping.”

Moore explains that First Nations culture and rights have not been taken into consideration when Children’s Aid Societies deal with aboriginal child welfare matters. Moore has been working closely with Kunwaniamano, a child and family services organization, to ensure the delivery of a program that would fulfill the needs of First Nations. However, the agency has still not received designation as a Children’s Aid Society by the province, and as a result, is unable to provide the services for Constance Lake First Nation.

At a meeting back in March, Chief Moore says, “the Jean Sauvé Children’s Aid Society agreed for the Kunwaniamon agency to look after my community’s child welfare services under Anishnaabe Abinooji Family Services, who does have the specific designation. The agreement included a transition phase to transfer services by June 1st , 2009.”

To date, the Jeanne Sauvé organization has not transferred the services, and is now resistant to do so. In 2008, statistics show 23-hundred First Nation children from reserves were put into care. Chief Moore says, “It is time for First Nation communities to take control of their governance and their child welfare.” Moore takes great issue with workers who come into our communities and take children without consultation.

Making reference to the “Sixties Scoop” Moore says; “We are capable of looking after our own children.” The Sixties Scoop was a term given to an era that saw the removal of a large number of aboriginal children from their families, being placed into the care of non-native families in the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. This process came to an end in the mid 80’s when Ontario Chiefs passed a resolution against it.

The Child and Families Services Act, carried in 1984, ensured that native adoptees in Ontario would be placed within their extended family, with another aboriginal family, or with a non-native family that promised to respect and nurture the child’s heritage and culture. Moore says, “this cannot happen with current CAS programs not respecting First Nations culture; our children are vanishing into provincial care.”

The Chiefs of Nishnawbe Aski Nation passed a resolution in March of 2006 in support of Kunuwanimano being mandated as a Children’s Aid Society. Chief Moore states that until Honourable Minister Deb Matthews designates Kunuwanimano as a Children’s Aid Society, Ontario CAS workers will remain prohibited from Constance Lake First Nation.

Source: News Ledger, Thunder Bay

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