Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – The political Executives of the First Nations Summit, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations (the First Nations Leadership Council) is pleased to be convening a First Nations Chiefs’ Indigenous Child at the Centre Forum, on January 23rd - 25th, 2008, at the Vancouver Sheraton Wall Centre.
This Forum, the first of its kind in BC, will bring together First Nations Chiefs/leaders, along with key political and technical partners, to create open dialogue on issues related to Indigenous children and families, including inherent rights and jurisdiction of First Nations to care for their children. The intended outcome of the Chiefs’ Forum is to develop an Indigenous Child at the Centre Action Plan. It is intended that this collectively developed Action Plan will assist First Nations to address issues relating to Indigenous children and families in BC.
“When Aboriginal organizations first came together in 2002 in cooperation to sign the Tsawwassen Accord, it was for the benefit of our children. Given the changing landscape around children and families provincially, nationally and internationally, it is fitting that a forward looking “Indigenous Child at the Centre Action Plan” be developed that sets out a vision, principles, key topics and actions for assisting First Nations to address and advance issues related to children and families in their communities”, said Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit.
“We must now accept the responsibility as leaders, parents, grandparents and as members of our community to develop and implement a clear action plan that ensures our children remain at the centre,” stated BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo), “By truly working together, every child can be raised in a healthy, safe, loving, and respectful environment where they are supported to achieve their fullest potential,” he added.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated "The Indigenous Child at the Centre Forum comes at a critical time in our history. We can ill-afford to stand by, accept the status-quo and do nothing when we know that child apprehensions, deaths of children in care, youth suicides and drug-related violence are on the increase in all of our communities. Our leadership, community representatives and front-line workers need to set aside their personal and political differences. We need to commit to work together in the interests of the present and future well-being of our children. Our children deserve nothing less!"
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.
For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC, (250) 490-5314
Colin Braker, First Nations Summit, (604) 926-9903
Ryneld Starr, BC Assembly of First Nations, (604) 837-6908