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Door Closed to White Men

April 28, 2011 permalink

The Serpent River First Nation has closed its doors to the Algoma Children's Aid Society.



Serpent River seeks movement on First Nation Child Welfare Services PDF Print E-mail

(April 27, 2011 Serpent River First Nation) Effective immediately Serpent River First Nation has closed its doors to Algoma Children’s Aid Society. This ends many years of child welfare service that has been overshadowed by a stressed relationship of child apprehension and displacement of many First Nation children.

The community has begun engaging discussions with a First Nation organization that is mandated in Ontario to deliver its child welfare services. The intent will be to have services delivered that are culturally relevant and most importantly, delivered to meet the highest benchmarks and standards of child welfare.

Last week Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day says that the community was faced with yet another situation with respect to Algoma Children’s Aid Society, where the parties appeared to be at odds on issues surrounding a child welfare matter.

“What’s significant about the types of issues we are facing with the agency is that we don’t have this type of break-down with any other child welfare agency. Clearly our people are saying that they want an alternative to a non-native agency” say Chief Day. The chief also indicated that after observing this erosion with Algoma Children’s Aid Society over the last decade, it is time to make a move towards asserting it’s responsibility on child welfare.

In recent years, the First Nation communities on the North Shore of Lake Huron have all formally declared that it is time to move towards becoming mandated to deal with child welfare. The change will be that services shall be provided by a First Nation organization and that the Ontario Child and Family Services Act and its policies will be implemented by that agency. “This is a necessary first step in asserting our jurisdiction, essentially our responsibilities must be reclaimed by our people – we never signed treaties to give our children to the crown, we must chart a path that removes this incursion” says Day.

Chief Day further comments, “The bottom line here is that our First Nation communities never gave away this jurisdiction. We will rely on our own professionals, we will build our process and a child welfare safety net upon our own values and strengths, and we will conduct child welfare in a manner that heals and strengthens our communities. We can no longer accept non-native agencies and homes taking our children. We must accelerate movement and progress on the establishment of our mandates on child welfare.”

Serpent River First Nation has indicated that the first order of business in moving forward will always be that child welfare and wellbeing remain of paramount concern. The leadership in the community is committed to working with other First Nation organizations to ensure those standards are upheld during this transition and that any matters of child welfare requiring intervention are provided priority consideration.

The Chief and the community of Serpent River First Nation are only one among many First Nation leaders and their communities that are discontented and determined to restore jurisdiction over child welfare.


For more information contact:

Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini
Serpent River First Nation

Source: First Perspective