Ontario Regional Chief Day Addresses Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Chiefs Spring Assembly: Rejecting Destructive Colonial Systems and Re-instating Indigenous Values is the Only Solution to Saving First Nation Youth

May 11, 2017 5:35 pm
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(Timmins, May 10, 2017) In this morning’s address to NAN Chiefs in Assembly, Regional Chief Isadore Day pledged that Chiefs of Ontario will continue to support the unique needs of northern communities. The combined youth suicide and children in care crises can only be addressed by our own people with the proper resources and control within our communities.

“On Sunday, Thunder Bay Police recovered the body of a 17-year-old girl from North Caribou First Nation. This is yet another young life lost in a long series of tragedies that keep occurring when our youth placed in care far from home,” said Regional Chief Day. “Last week, it was learned that two young girls from NAN communities died last month while in foster care in Ottawa. Their parents didn’t even know where they were living.

“Our children need to remain with their loved ones. If their parents are not capable of looking after them, then there must be the appropriate resources in place so they can either stay with extended families or in group homes in their communities,” said Regional Chief Day. “The long term solution is ending poverty and despair and building happy, healthy communities.

“I stand with the NAN Chiefs in addressing all of their urgent priorities — in the areas of health transformation, implementing a suicide crisis strategy, social emergencies, infrastructure – in particular boil water advisories, child welfare, education, and policing. As Regional Chief, I will be impressing upon both the provincial and federal governments that the funding already set aside must flow immediately. To be blunt, the current colonial system and bureaucratic red tape is killing our children.

“Last week, during our Special Chiefs Assembly and Lobby Day in Ottawa, the federal Ontario Liberal Caucus expressed an interest to hold a lengthy meeting with our leadership,” added Regional Chief Day. “The federal government has now committed $12 billion in new spending for First Nations over the past two budgets. We now need the political will and bureaucratic action to get that funding to the communities.

“Now is the time for Ontario and Canada to follow through on their mandates and Reconciliation commitments,” concluded Regional Chief Day. “We need to break the chains of the Indian Act by building our own institutions and authorities. We need to save our children.”

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The Chiefs of Ontario is an advocacy forum, and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.

For more information, please contact:

Bryan Hendry, Senior Policy Advisor
Phone: 613-863-1764 – Email: bryan.hendry@coo.org


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