November 23, 2016
Stq’aˀtxʷ niw’t, Okanagan Nation Territory: The Okanagan Nation Chiefs Executive Council welcomes the much anticipated report from Grand Chief Ed John, Special Advisor on Aboriginal Child Welfare titled Indigenous Resilience, Connectedness and Reunification – from Root Causes to Root Solutions presented to Premier Clark, Minister Cadieux and Indigenous Leadership on November 21, 2016.
Unfortunately, our community members have yet to experience the outcomes that would come from implementing the recommendations from countless reports commissioned by the Ministry for Children and Family Development. Despite the enormous investment put into reports, none have effectively reduced the dire statistic of 70% of children who have been removed from their homes for “neglect”. Clearly, this gives rise to the question, why hasn’t real and effective change occurred?
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip maintains “Poverty kills and neglect is an outcome of the systemic poverty that characterizes too many Aboriginal communities. We are in the best position to keep our children safe. Enough children have been lost, and our children continue to be the most vulnerable from the lack of movement of the Provincial and Federal Governments.” Reports continue to be mandated without involvement and input from the Nations and communities, yet we are the ones waiting to see critical changes impact the wellbeing of our families.
The Okanagan Nation Alliance calls for immediate action on the Recommendations. With the roadmap set out by a plethora of reports on Aboriginal Child Welfare in this province, the path is clear. Recognition, resources and implementing jurisdiction is paramount. If we are truly in the business of seeing improved outcomes, the actions must follow.
The Okanagan Nation has never relinquished its inherent right and responsibility to ensure the cultural integrity, safety and well-being of all our children and families. Chief Harvey McLeod states, “The longer we talk, the less opportunity we have to make change.” Our Nation will continue to do the necessary work required for our future generations as we continue to witness the detrimental impact the BC Liberal government’s ‘culture of indifference’ on the wellbeing of our children and families.
For More Information Contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip,