The federal government is committed to working in partnership with First Nations and all levels of government to support the health and well-being of First Nation children and families.
Today, Secwépemc Chiefs, the Honourable Katrine Conroy, British Columbia Minister of Children and Family Development, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on jurisdiction for child and family services. This MOU provides a framework that charts the path forward in recognizing and implementing Secwépemc jurisdiction.
Canada, BC and Secwépemc Nation communities came together to initiate the signing in advance of the Assembly of First Nations’ Annual General Assembly. A second, formal signing will occur on Friday, July 27 with the Honourable Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services and Secwépemc Chiefs in their traditional territory.
“This MOU represents reconciliation in action. The MOU sets a foundation to rebuild our governance - our families. By the utilization of our language and laws we will ensure Secwépemc Identity for the next ten thousand years. Our children Our Jurisdiction Our Laws Our future.”
Kukpi7 Wayne Christian
Tribal Chief, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
“There is irrefutable evidence that when children grow-up with a secure personal, cultural identity, they achieve better health, education and economic outcomes. Enabling Indigenous communities such as the Secwépemc Nation to exercise jurisdiction over child welfare will ensure the full potential of their children, stronger families and community.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“Keeping children and families together, surrounded by their culture and community, is critical for the well-being and healthy development of any child. This Memorandum of Understanding commits all orders of government to working in partnership to recognize and affirm First Nations jurisdiction over child and family services. I congratulate the Secwépemc Nation for their leadership in moving this important work forward.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
“This historic agreement is a key step towards our common goal of Secwépemc communities caring for their children according to their traditions and culture. We look forward to working with the federal government and the Secwépemc Nation to explore enabling legislation and other requirements to fully transfer responsibility for child welfare to the Nation as guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The Honourable Katrine Conroy
Minister of Children and Family Development, Province of British Columbia
“For too long, governments rejected community-based governance over the wellbeing of children and families. It’s no wonder child welfare is the first section of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. This MOU is a positive step toward challenging the status quo, and creating vibrant healthy communities where children are immersed in their own cultures.”
The Honourable Scott Fraser
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Province of British Columbia
- The MOU is a tripartite partnership between the Secwépemc Nation, the Province of BC, and Canada (represented by Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada).