Prime Minister Trudeau visits Cowessess First Nation to Sign Historic Child Welfare Law
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Prime Minister Trudeau visits Cowessess First Nation to Sign Historic Child Welfare Law

Prime Minister Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to visit Cowessess First Nation to sign historic child welfare law

By Maryam Razzaq

Today, Prime Minister Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will be visiting Cowessess First Nation in Regina east to sign the historic child welfare law which will transfer the control of the Cowessess children back to their community.

Chief Cadmis Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation says that the agreement will be signed in a ceremony today at 2 p.m. CST with attendance limited to 150 people. Live streaming will be available for those who wish to participate and support.

“Since 1961, the jurisdiction of children in the care was removed from Caucasus First Nation and final decision-making responsibility and judicial decision-making power were governed by non-Caucasus First Nations laws” said Caucasus Chief Cadmus Delorme.

The Cowessess First Nation did not have any decision-making authority over their community’s children in care since they were stripped of the rights in 1951. As outlined in the 2018 children’s advocacy report, more than 80 percent of children in care in Saskatchewan are Indigenous. Further to this, it was previously estimate that there were around 165 Cowessess First Nation children in the care of the Canadian government. 

In March 2020, the child welfare legislation was passed by the Cowessess First Nation under Canada’s Bill C-92. Bill C-92 gives Indigenous communities the rights to be able to reclaim the jurisdiction. Further to this, on April 1, the Mio Pimatisovin Act came into effect which gives the Cowessess First Nation complete jurisdiction over their community’s child in care anywhere in Canada. 

Chief Cadmis Delorme says that the Government of Canada and Government of Saskatchewan have agreed to funding and supporting the Cowessess Fist Nation as they assert their inherent rights for their children and families in need of help.

“This responsibility is a part of the long-term goal of controlling our own plan to self-government based on our Inherent Rights and Treaty relationship. The coordination agreement is a transition plan to assure the transfer of jurisdiction is professional and at the pace of the Cowessess First Nation” said Caucasus Chief Cadmus Delorme.

Prime Minster Trudeau’s visit today will also mark the first time he has visited the Cowessess First Nation since the announcement in June of 751 unmarked graves being found at the site of the former Marieval Residential School in Sasketchewan.

Image from Prime Minister Facebook Page

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