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Tipi camp demonstrators looking for reform to foster care system
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2018 10:01AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, July 3, 2018 6:30PM CST
The Justice for our Stolen Children demonstrators spoke at the Saskatchewan legislative grounds on Tuesday morning following their meeting with provincial ministers on Monday.
Minister of Justice Don Morgan, Minister of Central Services Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Social Services Paul Merrimen and Deputy Premier Gord Wyant were present at the meeting from the government, Tribal Chief Edmund Bellegarde of the File Hills Qu’Appalle Tribal Council, Todd Peigan, chief of Pasqua First Nation and Alan Bird of the Peepeekisis First Nation were among the Indigenous leaders at the meeting.
The group released a number of requests that they made to specific ministers:
To the minister of social services
- Clear data on the number of children in care and the duration of care
- A review of all permanent wards
- A review of all long term wards to see if any long term wards can go home based on updated information
- Demonstrate the use of in home supervision in-lieu of apprehension
- For Don Morgan to go to Red Pheasant First Nation as was originally arranged
- Place a moratorium on adoptions and planned expansion of the foster care system
- Develop a full report on children in care, including details on their cultural and developmental needs
- Create a review practice for all foster homes in the province
- A cost analysis relative to how the ministry is resourcing families so that they can stay together or efforts for reunification, relative to the costs that are paid to agencies such as Rancho Erhlo that house children in care
To the minister of justice
- An inquiry into the death of Haven Dubois or more broadly an inquiry into police practices in the major crimes unit specifically at the Regina Police Service in 2015.
- Scope out and pursue an inquiry into missing Indigenous men and boys
- Review the police act and the coroner’s act for revisions
To all ministers
Strike an inter-ministerial round table that would include the minister of health, as these issues touch the health portfolio.
“The system as it is functioning now is not working for anyone,” camp spokesperson Robyn Pitawanakwat told reporters at the press conference. “There is no harm in having Indigenous people more involved in the system.”
Members of the camp are hoping to have another meeting with ministers in two weeks. They have asked that no further orders be issued to remove the camp in that time.
Minister Don Morgan responded on behalf of the government on Tuesday afternoon, saying the government will have to speak to their contacts at the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations about whether or not they should be negotiating with the protesters.
He went on to say that he could not speak for other ministers, but says the protesters should remove the tipis from the park as a sign of good faith before another meeting takes place.