Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-Kwe) Statement Congratulating Cowessess First Nation

July 7, 2021

Cowessess First Nation has made history by asserting their jurisdiction over child and family services. The child and care system as it exists in Canada is broken and continues to display ingrained institutionalized racism that discounts the value of some children’s lives due to their ancestry. Through this agreement with the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, Cowessess will assume responsibility for child and family jurisdiction for all Cowessess members, bringing them outside the jurisdiction of that broken system.

Cowessess First Nation is the first to sign an agreement under The Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. In doing so, Cowessess has helped create policy and legislative precedent that other Nations can reference as they go through the hard work drawing down their own child and family jurisdiction. The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC offers congratulations to the Nation and Chief Delorme and recognizes the tireless effort made to reach this agreement.

We look forward to a time where Nations across Canada have full control over their child and family services and to a time where there are no First Nations children in care outside of their communities.”

Bill C-92 – The Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families – was passed in 2019. The act provides the legal framework within which Canada will recognize the sovereignty of First Nations over child and family jurisdiction. Cowessess First Nation is the first to enter into an agreement with the federal government under this jurisdiction.