(Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, BC) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is stunned and troubled by the alarming rate of deaths revealed in the British Columbia Coroners Service Child Death Review Report released today.
Chief Stewart Phillip stated "In British Columbia, the Aboriginal population comprises a mere 4% of the overall population within the province. However, when it comes to the well-being of Aboriginal children, the numbers grow at an exponentially and alarming rate from the number of Aboriginal children-in-care, up to 70% in some areas of the province, and sadly now by the rate of deaths as indicated by today’s report"
The findings contained within the British Columbia Coroners Service Child Death Review Report are indications that as a society, we have not done enough to prevent the deaths of Aboriginal children and youth in British Columbia. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs views the data as another indicator a large number of Aboriginal children does not enjoy the quality of life as compared to other children in British Columbia.
Chief Phillip concluded "The UBCIC Executive will work with the First Nation Summit and the BC Assembly of First Nations leadership of the First Nations Summit to meet and discuss with Chief Coroner Terry Smith in the near future to discuss the distressing findings and how we can collectively work with government, communities and parents to address this issue. These children are not statistics; they are our daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and grandchildren."
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For further comment, contact Chief Stewart Phillip at (250) 490-5314