October 14, 2015 - 9:00 PM
ENDERBY - A local First Nation has filed a lawsuit against the B.C. government accusing it of ignoring the band's jurisdiction over the welfare of its children.
The Splatsin First Nation in Enderby served the province a notice of claim during a rally outside Premier Christy Clark’s constituency office in Kelowna Tuesday, Oct. 13.
The province continues to ignore a unique child welfare bylaw introduced in 1980 which gave the Splatsin band jurisdiction over its children, Chief Wayne Christian says in a media release. The bylaw was introduced in response to the Sixties Scoop, a period of time when many First Nations children were removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
“Enough is enough. We want our children back. We will not allow our children to suffer through the current failures of the B.C. child welfare system in this country. We’ve got the system that works. Why is B.C. not accepting this?”
Christian says the 1980 bylaw was signed by the deputy premier of the day and not only gave the band jurisdiction over its children and the right to jointly plan for their welfare, but also called for the federal government to be responsible for the financial resources. He says the band has been successfully caring for and protecting its children for 35 years, yet the province continues to ignore, deny and fight their jurisdiction.
A spokesperson for the province says the Ministry of Children can’t comment in detail about the matter because it is currently before the courts. In an emailed statement, the ministry says it acknowledges the Splatsin have a child welfare bylaw in place and says the province is ‘committed to working collaboratively with the Splatsin on any matter.'
Around 60 people attended the rally outside Clark’s office on Tuesday and more protests are being planned across the province.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015