Home / News Releases / News Release: Splatsin Applauds Cowessess First Nation’s Efforts to Develop a Child Welfare System
Kukpi7 Christian sends congratulations; corrects inaccurate reporting
Secwepemcúl̓ecw (Shuswap) – Splatsin applauds Saskatchewan’s Cowessess First Nation for their efforts to exercise full jurisdiction over their children, youth, and families, and designing their own child welfare system. Cowessess joins Splatsin as the second community in Canada to successfully do so.
“Bill C-92 is foundational for changing the child welfare system for children and families and I congratulate Chief Cadmus Delorme and his Nation for their diligence and becoming the first coordination agreement under the new Bill C-92: Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families,” said Splatsin Kukpi7 and Secwépemc Tribal Chief Wayne Christian.
The Bill begins a process of reconciliation that will lay the foundation for recognition of our inherent jurisdiction over our children and families to undo the impact of the residential school system and the sixties scoop.
Christian recalls the arduous journey Splatsin took in 1980 to develop jurisdiction over its own children and families, also known as the Indian Child Caravan. Splatsin has been operating with inherent jurisdiction for our children and families since 1980 – 41 years.
“39 years before Bill C-92 came into effect, we did not have national support. Instead, Splatsin had the support of several First Nations, in addition to then-Grand Chief of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, George Manuel, human rights lawyer, Louise Mandell, and exiled member of the South African National Congress, Jacob Marule.”
Splatsin and its supporters marched the streets of Vancouver to then-deputy premier Grace McCarthy’s home on thanksgiving weekend in 1980 to demand jurisdiction over our children’s welfare. Ultimately, an agreement was signed and our jurisdiction was federally and provincially recognized.
Christian added that at the time, there were over 40 other First Nations standing up for their laws. Unfortunately, these communities were denied their inherent jurisdiction.
Splatsin held a two-day webinar earlier this year about their child welfare system to return the favour and help other communities develop their own systems. Over 100 communities from across Canada attended.
Christian added that he plans to call Chief Cadmus Delorme to personally congratulate him. Learn more about Splatsin’s child welfare program, Splatsin Stsmamlt Services here.
Learn more about Splatsin By-Law #3 1980 A By-Law for the Care of our Indian Children here.
The Splatsin people reside on reserve lands adjacent to the City of Enderby to the south and across the Shuswap River to the east, within the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc, the largest Interior Salish-speaking First Nation in Canada. Their traditional territory stretches from the B.C./Alberta border near the Yellowhead Pass to the plateau west of the Fraser River, southeast to the Arrow Lakes, and the upper reaches of the Columbia River encompassing 180,000 square kilometres, 32 communities, and a population of 15,000 people. The Splatsin and Secwépemc has total jurisdiction and title to all of their people, lands, and resources and have not surrendered, ceded, or released them to the government.
Dudley Coulter, Director of Communicationso (250) 838-6496 ext. 705c (250) 306-1541e [email protected]