Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Child Welfare Initiative
Link to Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Link to Manitoba Metis Federation Link to Manitoba Keewatinow Okimakinak Link to Province of Manitoba

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Grand Chief Dennis White Bird
200 - 260 St. Mary Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 0M6 

Phone: 1 (204) 956-0610
Toll Free: 1 (888) 324-5483

Fax: 1 (204) 943-2469


The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Province of Manitoba signed the MOU on April 27, 2000 to establish a process to restructure child and family services and programs in Manitoba based on the child welfare recommendations in Chapter 14 of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (AJI) Report.

First Nation children will no longer be in a system that does not belong to First Nations, The Non-Aboriginal agencies will no longer have the power to apprehend and maintain control over First Nation children through the legal system. History and recent studies (Kimelman Report) confirm that First Nation families have been victims of cultural genocide because of the Non-Aboriginal paternalistic and culturally insensitive child and family services system. This system has historically been yet another tool of assimilation used by Non-Aboriginal mainstream against First Nations. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples disclosed that inappropriate child welfare policies have been a "persistent and destructive force", in the lives of First Nation peoples. These policies, coupled with its legislation, have adversely affected First Nation families with devastating intergenerational consequences.

Grand Chief Dennis White BirdThis signing represents an agreement and commitment by both First Nation and Provincial governments, that the current child and family services system does not adequately meet the needs of First Nation children and families and that major changes will be made. The MOU is both support and acknowledgment demonstrated by the Manitoba government that full child and family services jurisdiction must be given to First Nations through their respective First Nation agencies. This restructuring will extend the mandate for First Nation agencies to provide child and family services off reserve. Adequate financial and human resources will, therefore, be required.

The seven Working Groups, identified by members of the Joint Management Committee (JMC), will develop plans and provide recommendations back to the JMC to oversee this restructuring. The work that you are about to undergo is crucial to the re-establishment of the entire child and family services system in Manitoba. The fine "product' of this work will ensure that children and families in Manitoba receive the most appropriate services and support they require based on their cultural, linguistic and social needs. We foresee a major overhaul of Child and Family Services legislation here in Manitoba. I applaud your efforts, as well as, all the work undertaken by all participants involved.

In closing I would like to emphasize that Manitoba First Nations will continue to work towards the restoration of full First Nation jurisdiction and legislation. The MOU is a concrete example of First Nations' people exercising their inherent right to self-determination and self-government.


Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs - Grand Chief Dennis White Bird
Manitoba Metis Federation - President David Chartrand
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak - Chief Francis Flett
Minister of Northern Affairs - The Honourable Eric Robinson
Minister of Family Services and Housing -The Honourable Tim Sale


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