Canada ‘We all stood together’: Gitanmaax Band stops B.C. social worker from seizing youth

06:40  19 october  2021
06:40  19 october  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

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The government will not be taking her. The child has been placed in the joint protective custody of her house group – the Git'luuhl'um'hetxwit – and the Gitanmaax Band . The era of taking children away in Gitxsan territory is ending.pic.twitter.com/pAW7o5E6W2. While in the care of B . C .'s Ministry of Child and Family Development, the six-year-old suffered a broken collarbone. She still has her arm in a sling. The family is not letting her go.

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The Gitanmaax Band in Northern B.C. is standing its ground, refusing to let the provincial child welfare system remove another one of its children.

Gitanmaax councillors, hereditary chiefs, friends and allies stop a B.C. social worker from taking a six-year-old girl back into foster care from their community in Hazelton, B.C. on Sun. Oct. 17, 2021. © Instagram/Kolin Sutherland-Wilson Gitanmaax councillors, hereditary chiefs, friends and allies stop a B.C. social worker from taking a six-year-old girl back into foster care from their community in Hazelton, B.C. on Sun. Oct. 17, 2021.

On Sunday night, allies joined the band's hereditary chiefs in blocking road access as a social worker entered the Hazelton, B.C. reserve to take a six-year-old girl back into foster care.

The girl was visiting her matrilineal family for a week in Gitanmaax, and belongs to the Git'luuhl'um'hetxwit house of the Gitxsan Nation.

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"We never want to lose a child," said Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, who belongs to the same Gitxsan house group and attended the resistance demonstration on Sunday.

"We never want those children to grow up without knowing who they are, where they come from, who their ancestors are — their history, their stories, their inheritance."

According to the community, the child has been placed in the protection of her house group.

On Instagram, Sutherland-Wilson posted that she is "surrounded by loved ones ... learning our language, playing with cousins, and hearing the stories of her ancestors."

Video: Prime Minister Trudeau on preventing Indigenous children from being removed from families into foster care

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[Verse 2] Climb with me Share my dreams Tomorrow's brighter than it's ever been Fear no danger Make big plans We know that divided we 'll fall So together we stand . [Chorus] Laugh and cry with me Fly that high with me See the sunset and the sunrise The world looks so good through our eyes Like the moon and stars at night. [Verse 4] Reach with me See the sky I'll always be here for the rest of your life Side by side Hand in hand We speak a language nobody else can understand Hear those cheers Strike up the band .

I can build castles, I can stop a flood, I can show the time flow, I can make people blind, I can make others see. What am I? Desert Penguins-small insect eating birds that can swim through sand. Their Feathers are magical resistant to heat, and while looking for mates they make small illusions. A breeding colony can do a mirage together . Druid fish-a fish living in dry river bets. If it's dry, they turn into snakes that can search underground for insects and water, while wet, they hunt drinking animals.

To protect her identity, little information has been shared about the girl's family circumstances in Gitanmaax or her previous experience in provincial foster care.

Her house group said she suffered a broken collar bone under the ministry's care, but details of that injury were also kept private.

Sutherland-Wilson said no full custody agreement has been reached for the girl.

"There was a reason why we had to take this step, that's because many other steps had already been exacerbated," he explained.

"Within the courts, we've been going through all the processes, and despite all these promises, in these numerous bills overtly claiming to support Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare, we've still found the system has not been conducive to keeping children within our community."

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But the people still retain the innate right to bypass such (look at the DOI - that applies even to places that have never had one.) Of course, arguing that in Mao's China didn't work , and it almost surely won't work in the fka 'America', now 'AmeriKant.' R. C .

Our society today is completely different from how it was a decade ago. The problems that our grandparents experienced when they were younger weren’t the same that our parents experienced in their youth . And the same is the case with us . With the communication gap being the most prominent problem between the youth of today and their elders, no wonder the temperaments are rising high more often. Today’s youngsters are pretty outclassed but entering the new Millennium, people are beginning to realize and recognize serious concerns that our youth has to face today.

Canada's foster care system has been compared to a modern-day residential school system.

According to census data, Indigenous children represent less than eight per cent of Canada's children under age 14, but make up more than half of children in foster care.

Vancouver-based Métis lawyer Roslyn Chambers said Indigenous peoples have a plan for their children, and under these circumstances, "unfortunately, this is how it has to be demonstrated."

"The problem is that the government doesn't seem to involve the community, doesn't seem to deal with the Indigenous nature of the children, and the unique impacts that taking a child away from his community and his family has," she told Global News.

"Taking children out of their communities, out of their culture, with no known date of return."

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in Kamloops, B.C., where he vowed to work with communities to develop child welfare policies that work for them.

In July, Ottawa signed an agreement with the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan that saw the community retake jurisdiction of its child welfare system, and Trudeau said similar agreements are being etched across the country.

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"It's unacceptable and it's an example of this country not understanding the lessons, the horrific lessons of residential schools," he said the system in widespread use today.

The federal government will provide the necessary resources to keep kids at risk in their communities, he added, and work "at their pace."

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In a Monday interview, B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean said she was unable to address the particular circumstances of the girl in Gitanmaax, but said her department's staff have been working closely with the family and community.

"We know how important it is to keep children and youth connected to their family, their community, their culture," said Dean. "The safety and health and well-being of children and youth is our absolute priority."

Progress has been made with B.C. First Nations seeking jurisdiction of the child welfare system, the minister added, with several working groups currently negotiating agreements.

There has been "over-involved" of government in the lives of Indigenous children and youth for "far too long," said Dean, but the province won't rush into any legislative changes.

"We will go at their pace," she explained. "Every nation is at a different stage of being able to enter into these discussions, and also every nation is going to want a different solution for their community."

Since Gitanmaax and its allies held their ground on Sunday night, reclaiming jurisdiction over child welfare, Sutherland-Wilson said many people have reached out to express their support and their understanding of the circumstances.

"Ultimately, I think this story exists at a much wider scale than just the Gitxsan Nation," he explained.

"Ultimately there was a great sense of relief and empowerment as we all stood together and we all stood up for the young citizen of our Gitxsan people."

He said a rally will be held at the Ministry of Children and Family Development office in Hazelton on Tuesday at 9 a.m. to demand that the province cede control over child welfare to the Gitxsan Nation.

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