The federal government of Canada is being accused of “Identity Genocide of Children Targeted at Indian families and communities in Ontario”. The accusation is part of a class action lawsuit on behalf of at least sixteen thousand Aboriginal people who, as children, were either adopted or put in foster homes and “were systemically denied the opportunity to preserve their identity”. The lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Ontario in February also accuses Canada of “breach of its non-delegable fiduciary obligation, duty of care and protection of aboriginal rights”. The suit seeks damages of $85,000 for each claimant – $1.36 Billion.
In 1965 the “Canada-Ontario Welfare Agreement” was created, Canada delegated provision of child welfare services to Ontario. Aboriginal people just gained the authority to vote around this time. Upon signing the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948, Canada’s government was forced to re-examine its treatment of natives in Canada. Voting rights were extended in 1960, and Aboriginal civil rights became an ongoing concern in the 1970s.
Today, in the term of Stephen Harpers leadership of Canada the refusal to sign in support of the United Nations Rights of Indigenous Peoples is still a roadblock to healing for Canadians. Moreover without being afforded meaningful and inclusive Aboriginal Education in the schools we run the threat of making judicial mistakes within our society.
Do you think you should have the right to choose what you should know about your own ancestry?
Filmmaker Jannica Hoskins brings cultural memory to life with extensive experience filming Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
Since 2006 from September to June Jannica delivers the Aboriginal Education Program to the Elementary Schools in School District 19 Revelstoke, BC. Having lived on Neskonlith Indian Reserve and with Elders, the lives legends and stories of the Indigenous people are brought to life with their unique message preserved and respected.
Jannica is Oji Cree and Metis ancestry and currently filming the reconnection with long lost relative Jim Poitras in France and Germany summer 2009.
In Winnipeg Manitoba we spent time with family, and met with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC Dene, Dakota, Cree, Oji-Cree, and Ojibway Nations, as embodied in the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood) planning for December 2008 Bandwagon trip. All interested participants for Dec.’08 trip please introduce yourself to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can plan to see you.
AFN Regional Chief Katherine Whitecloud, Trudy Lavallee and Kathi Avery Kinew shared their understanding of the aboriginal child welfar system and information on the recent AMC certified resolution which was passed regarding “Support for Compensation for Indigenous Children”
The Indian Residential School Compensation system does not include Indigenous children attending non recognized residential schools, foster homes and similar government and privately operated institutions; and
Indigenous children not attending recognized residential schools suffered similar abuses and were especially susceptible to slave labour; and
The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly have been presented with documentation regarding abuse and suffering of the Stolen Children of Children’s Aid Society through Warriors of Lost Boys and Girls Survivors of Group Foster Care; and
Statistics reveal that the number of First Nation children in child welfare care across Canada since the 1960’s is three times the number of First Nation residential school attendees at the height of the residential school era.
For more details on what the AMC is doing visit: http://www.manitobachiefs.com/
You can also voice your thoughts on our facebook group “Fallen Feather Group”
Let’s all take steps toward resolution.
I was in Six Nations Haudenoshaunee territory, home of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscorora, with Jannica, Randy and Randy’s son on July 29th. My heart swelled with pride as I witnessed the children learning their language and songs and dances. I was able to speak with Haudenoshaunee men about what they were doing to teach their young boys – the roles and responsiblities as Men in their Clans and Nations. I was honored with a water drum and saw a snapping turtle which I learned are a part of their ceremonies. I felt as if I was at home, the issues we are facing in the Shuswap Nation and in BC are the same issues they are facing. I shared that I was in foster care as part of the 60′s scoop and was just begining to re- learn my language and songs. I felt a wee bit embarassed that I could not share a traditional Secwepemc song with them. It was an honor to be on the lands of the Six Nations Haudenoshaunee as I have meet and worked with many Mohawk people over the last 30 years.
On July 30th I travelled with the Band Wagon to Tyendinaga to meet with Patrick Johnston and Chief Maracle. We spoke about what we need to do nationally in the area of Child Welfare legislation and INAC’s directive 20-1. Chief Maracle talked about his community and how poverty plays a role in the child welfare system. Patrick Johnston was someone I meet over 28 years ago as he was doing a book on the child welfare issue, he had dinner with myself and family in 1980. It was great to speak to him, we thought that it was time to do another book and that maybe I should write the book and I am thinking about it.
I wanted again to thank Randy, Jannica and Randy’s son for undertaking this project “The BandWagon” as our children are our responsiblity and this project will give voice to those who do not have a voice. Children are at the front lines of the genocidal war of the Government’s to remove us from our lands, resources, languages and traditions. It begins with the residential school and continues with the apprehensions across Canada. It is estimated that today there are 27,000 children in care of the state across Canada more then were in residential schools at the height of their operations to kill the Indian in the Child, we are dealing with the aftermath of the residential schools in our communities today. Canada’s apology is great for the survivors but what about the children and grandchildren and great grand children of the survivors, these are the innocent bystanders who are collatoral damage in the genodical war being waged by government policy and legislation.
Only we as Indigenous people can find the solutions that work, that are rooted in our lands, our language, our laws, our tradtions, our ceremonies, our families and our Nations.
If we truly believe that our children are our future, the future is right now, we must do whatever it takes as it is our sacred duty for those yet unborn
Kukpi7 (Chief) Christian
The 11th Okanagan International Film Festival. Thursday April 17th, 2008 The Fallen Feather Pre-Party was held on the Houseboat at 5:00pm. It was a great opportunity for co-owners in the film to mingle and meet with media, Aboriginal Educators and Advocates, family, friends and attendees of the evening performance.
Director Randy Bezeau Introduced the 7:00pm screening at the Paramount Theatre downtown Kelowna. Friday April 18th, 2008 Randy Bezeau spoke during the Film Symposium at the Grand Okanagan Resort from 10:00am-11:00am on Film Production. Jannica Hoskins
For those of you who are interested and for those of you would like to participate, on the 21st of March 2008 at noon EST you can join the worldwide ceremony called “8000 Drums”.The event honors the Otomi peoples (descendants of the Mayan Olmec and Toltec peoples) and represents their wish to bring healing for our Mother Earth.For more information and to register your drum, please click here to follow the link: