November 24, 2019
Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare, their Families and Allies Rally to Demand Justice and Accountability
((Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – November 24, 2019) Today, Indigenous survivors of child welfare, their families and community allies are holding a march and rally in Vancouver to call for justice, action and accountability for all Indigenous survivors of child welfare. Solidarity actions will take place in Edmonton and Toronto.
Tomorrow, the Federal Court will hear the judicial review of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision, which ordered that Canada compensate Indigenous survivors of child welfare. We are calling upon the Courts to uphold this decision, and the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children and families in court and to make reparation for the ongoing harms they have caused through the child welfare system.
The numbers of Indigenous children and youth removed from their homes, families and communities was described as a humanitarian crisis by former Minister Jane Philpott. “The ongoing forced removal and assimilation of our children is genocide. Indigenous children and youth in care age out with a lack of culture and identity, no resources, and often face devastating outcomes. Many do not live past their 30th birthday,” stated Dawn Johnson, co-organizer. “As Indigenous peoples we have never given up our inherent right to care for our children and we are standing together today to assert that right. We must see our children brought home.”
“The lives of our children are not disposable,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The state of the current child welfare system for Indigenous children and families is an epidemic. Our children and families deserve the same level of support and resources as anyone else, and we need to see this necessary change happen so that they do not age out into the streets and alleyways alone and disconnected. We need less talk and more action. Our children’s lives depend on it.”
Katherine Gandy, organizer of the Toronto rally, stated “Native children are not born to be salaries for Canada’s child welfare corporations, or to end up in the family and criminal courts. We as Original peoples call for immediate actions to be taken by all complicit in the Millennium Scoop genocide to listen to the impacted families, communities and Nations and to lower the numbers of Indigenous children in the child welfare system. We want all Canadians to be aware that there are currently more Indigenous children being removed and in the child welfare system than there were at the height of the Residential School era.”
Today’s Action was inspired by the loss of a young man who was a survivor of care. In life he brought people together and was a bright light in the world, no matter his own personal struggles. In death he continues to bring us together and to inspire change. We gather for him and for all survivors of care who have been taken too soon.
Vancouver: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC, 250-490-5314
Dawn Johnson, 604-329-6705
Edmonton: Lindsay Breadner, [email protected]
Toronto: Katherine Gandy, 647-914-7024
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca