October 16, 2023: Surrey, BC – Today, the Métis Nation British Columbia announces that it will create a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and cultural well-being of at-risk Métis children and youth currently in the Canadian child welfare system. At the recent annual general meeting, the Citizens of MNBC overwhelmingly voted to reclaim jurisdiction over Métis children and youth. This new initiative will incorporate the Métis way - Opikinawasowin: The Life-long Process of Growing Métis children, and will consist of:
- Community and citizen engagement, and include experts, service providers and leadership
- MNBC will create a way forward and law that clearly defines what Métis child well-being looks like and demonstrate to Canada that MNBC has the authority, given by our rights holding Citizens, to act as an Indigenous governing body
Métis children and youth are at risk in a system that is a continuation of the destructive policies of the Residential School system. The Government of Canada currently does not recognize MNBC as an Indigenous governing body despite the following:
- Métis children, youth, and families in British Columbia are disproportionally represented in the current child welfare system
- There are more Indigenous children in the current child welfare system than previously attended Residential Schools or were impacted by the so called “60s scoop”
- The Federal Act (C-92) recognizes Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights to care and protect their children under their own child welfare laws
- Without status as an Indigenous governing body, MNBC is unable to provide assistance or ensure placement with relatives or Métis-friendly homes that respect and protect their cultural heritage
- MNBC’s exclusion from the process, means that Metis children are being raised without the deep and enduring connection to who they are
- The current system perpetuates the cultural assimilation of Métis
The Métis of British Columbia have an inherent right to protect our children, youth, and families. MNBC intends to demonstrate this right in the best interests of children, culture, and way of life.
Debra Fisher, Minister of Children and Families (MNBC)
“Make no mistake, this is a continuation of the Residential School system and has impacted far more Indigenous children and families than attended those schools. Métis Nation British Columbia has been empowered by our Citizens to provide a way forward, consistent with our culture, heritage, and traditions. We call on the Government of Canada to recognize our jurisdiction over our children and families, to break this cycle of generational trauma.”
For more information: email@example.com
About Métis Nation British Columbia
Métis Nation British Columbia represents the section 35 rights of over 24,000 Métis citizens who are registered with MNBC and advocates for the over 98,000 self-identified Métis in British Columbia. MNBC represents thirty-nine (39) Métis Chartered Communities in British Columbia. MNBC’s mandate is to develop and enhance opportunities for Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services. MNBC is recognized by the Métis National Council, the Government of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada, as the Governing Nation for Métis in BC.