Baby foster care is ‘the brand new residential college system,’ Nunavut MP says

2021-06-05 08:31:37

OTTAWA — Within the wake of the tragic discovery of an unmarked burial website in Kamloops, B.C., the Liberals are going through robust questions on ongoing harms being suffered by Indigenous youngsters within the baby welfare system — a system an Inuk MP says is not any completely different than residential faculties.

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, who represents Nunavut, stated she has seen far too many pals and Inuit in her territory dying by suicide and kids being taken from their properties and positioned within the baby welfare system.

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She took concern with politicians this week portraying the horrors inflicted on Indigenous youngsters by the Canadian authorities as “historic wrongs” when talking of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation’s discovery of unmarked graves believed to include the stays of 215 youngsters on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential Faculty.

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“Colonization shouldn’t be over. It has a brand new title. Youngsters are nonetheless being separated from their communities. Foster care is the brand new residential college system. The suicide epidemic is the brand new type of Indigenous genocide,” Qaqqaq stated in an emotional deal with within the Home of Commons Thursday.

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She shared bone-chilling particulars of Inuit households in her territory typically left to scrub the stays of a liked one who died by suicide.

“The residential faculties and genocide waged in opposition to us has developed into the foster care system and the suicide epidemic we see immediately,” she stated. “Indigenous genocide is a twenty first century downside.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a number of other of his cupboard ministers acknowledged Friday that First Nations, Inuit and Metis youngsters are certainly nonetheless being taken from their households in disproportionately excessive numbers and positioned in foster care.

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Trudeau referred to as this an “unacceptable” actuality that should finish.

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“The continued removing of youngsters from their communities to reside with foster households, to go to different cities or cities the place they lose their tradition, they lose their language, they lose their id must cease,” Trudeau stated.

For the reason that passage of Invoice C-92 in 2019 — a invoice that was created to cease the overrepresentation of Indigenous youngsters in foster care — Ottawa has been working to empower Indigenous communities to maintain at their-risk youngsters and youth of their house communities with their very own language and tradition, Trudeau stated.

And but, Ottawa’s Indigenous baby welfare laws has not stopped First Nations youngsters from being positioned in foster care, acknowledged Indigenous Providers Minister Marc Miller, calling it a “damaged baby care system.”

Whereas acknowledging Ottawa’s function, each he and Trudeau additionally pointed to provincial programs, that are largely answerable for administering social companies programming equivalent to baby welfare.

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Chief calls for apology from Catholic Church over Canada’s residential faculties

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These provincial programs are nonetheless far too targeted on intervention once they encounter a toddler or youth in danger, Miller stated.

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“There are nonetheless youngsters being eliminated, taken into care, and dying and the system continues to be one that’s targeted on intervention versus prevention in a method that doesn’t mirror the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Miller stated.

“If that is one thing folks suppose will take a brief time frame, they’re not understanding the gravity of the state of affairs. It’s going to take the complete participation of provinces that run quite a few these baby care programs, the transformation of their very own legal guidelines and the lifting up, foremost, of Indigenous legal guidelines throughout the nation.”

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett additionally acknowledged the removing of Indigenous youngsters from their mother and father and their placement in properties away from their communities is a present-day actuality for too many Indigenous households, which she stated is a “current hazard to youngsters.”

Indigenous youngsters account for 52.2 per cent of kids in foster care in non-public properties, in accordance with 2016 census information. But Indigenous youngsters make up solely seven per cent of the youth inhabitants in Canada.

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“There are extra children in care now than there have been on the top of residential faculties and it’s unacceptable and dangerous,” Bennett stated.

“We wish this stopped and we’re working very onerous with the self-governing nations in addition to the opposite nations,” she stated, including that this work additionally entails working with the provinces and territories.

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Ottawa shouldn’t be solely investing and attempting to rework the kid welfare system, however can also be taking measures which are aimed toward stopping youngsters from ending up in disaster conditions within the first place, the ministers stated.

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Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal pointed to $250 million being spent to construct 4 faculties in Northern Manitoba to permit First Nations children residing in distant areas to attend college regionally, relatively than having to go away their communities — one thing that has been recognized as a set off that may result in issues in a while.

Prison justice reforms proposed by the Liberals to repeal some necessary minimal sentences as a measure to cease the over-incarceration of Indigenous folks throughout Canada can also be meant to maintain households from being separated, stated Justice Minister David Lametti.

These reforms are contained in Invoice C-22, which is getting a tough experience within the Home of Commons and will not move earlier than MPs rise for the summer time break later this month.

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Qaqqaq, conscious of all these measures being taken by Ottawa to handle considerations over the kid welfare system, referred to as for Ottawa to do extra.

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“I’m right here in an establishment that has tried to remove my folks for the final 70 years, standing as much as say that the federal authorities is answerable for the continued colonization occurring,” she stated throughout her speech.

“Performing is within the arms of this authorities. They’ll select — they will select — to assist efforts towards actual change ? or they will be part of governments of the previous in perpetuating violence in opposition to Indigenous Peoples.”

The Indian Residential Faculties Decision Well being Help Program has a hotline to assist residential college survivors and their family struggling with trauma invoked by the recall of previous abuse. The quantity is 1-866-925-4419.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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