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Statement from Regional Chief Marlene Poitras on Introduction of Bill 22:
An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities
Today, the Provincial Government introduced Bill 22: An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, which would significantly alter First Nations child welfare care off-reserve within the province.
October 31, 2018, amiskwaciwaskahikan (Edmonton, AB)
“I acknowledge the provincial government’s commitment to putting First Nations families first in a system that has consistently failed our children.
Over 71% of children in care in Alberta are Indigenous. This startling statistic and the overrepresentation of First Nations children in care is an ongoing crisis that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. The Government of Alberta is listening to these concerns and is acting.
This proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, though I would call on the provincial government to include First Nations leadership every step of the way when it comes to decision-making that impacts our children.
Co-development of the legislation should have been on the table in this process and I am anxious to see what subsequent phases hold for direct involvement of our Chiefs and leadership.
This is the first time First Nations will see the bill in its entirety and we will need to take the time to review all aspects of this legislation and how it could impact our rights.
I have always said that reform of the child welfare system needs to be First Nations-led and it needs to respect First Nations jurisdiction over First Nations children.” – Regional Chief Marlene Poitras
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For more information contact:
Ann Gladue-Buffalo (587) 588-7254
Assembly of First Nations Alberta Association (AFN Alberta) is a regional advocacy body for 44-member First Nations in Alberta who elect a Regional Chief as its spokesperson.
Regional Chief Marlene Poitras is a member of Mikisew Cree First Nation and currently holds the following national portfolios for the Assembly of First Nations: Treaty; Lands, Territories and Resources; Specific Claims, Additions to Reserves and Inherent Rights; and is a member of the Management Committee.