(January 26, 2015) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada welcomes today’s Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling in favour of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, led by their courageous Executive Director Cindy Blackstock.
In a landmark case, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that First Nations children on reserves face discrimination from the Government of Canada. After nine long years and millions of dollars in legal battles, First Nations children, families and supporters across the country are finally receiving the vindication they deserve.
Today the government is finally being held to account for its past and present treatment of an entire generation of Indigenous children – resulting in up to 38% less funding than elsewhere for on-reserve child welfare services, and resulting in the perpetuation of extremely high rates of foster care resulting in the ongoing high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
NWAC has followed this case closely since it was initially filed by Cindy Blackstock and the Assembly of First Nations in 2007. Given that the purpose of the Canadian Human Rights Act is to protect individuals from discrimination, this ruling clearly indicates that the Act and the Government of Canada have categorically failed our First Nations children for years.
During today’s press conference, Cindy Blackstock asks: “Don’t you think the one thing we can get [right in reconciliation] is raising a generation of First Nations children that don’t have to recover from their childhoods anymore?” NWAC agrees.
Now that this grim reality has been acknowledged by our government, it is NWAC’s hope that this ruling will be the beginning of a brighter future for First Nations children in Canada both on and off reserve.
“I am thrilled to hear that after years of denial and deflection, the truth is finally being heard, and Cindy Blackstock is finally receiving the ruling she has fought so long and hard for. Any form of discrimination against First Nations children (or any Indigenous children for that matter) is unacceptable. Canada must never again see a case like Jordan River Anderson’s fall through our institutional cracks. We owe it to Jordan, and thousands more like him, to do better. It’s time we acknowledge Canada’s racist discriminatory practices and begin working towards a brighter future for the next generation. First Nations children deserve more than rhetoric – they deserve immediate Government action.”
-NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.