“The fact that myself and other elected leaders of tribes have taken a stance against the pipeline doesn’t mean that our law enforcement agencies don’t have an interest in understanding what’s going on at the Straits with the pipeline,” says Bryan Newland, Chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community. “It would be just like Enbridge reaching out to the Michigan State Police despite the fact that our attorney general and governor are opposed to the pipeline in the straits.”
Kyle Whyte is a professor at Michigan State University and a citizen of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation who has written about Standing Rock. He says there’s a trend of companies trying to control public advocacy behind the scenes.
“Instead of companies proposing risky projects being subject to oversight, it’s citizens concerned about preventing risks who are subject to oversight from those seeking to impose the risks,” he says. “There is a problem of mutual accountability here.”
Somehow the final passage (“royal assent”) of this bill in Canada slipped our attention back in June. Initially, we saw it referred to as a “Canadian ICWA”, but it seems fair to say that it doesn’t quite achieve that level of protection for Native children and families. If nothing else, it illustrates just how differently the Canadian government engages with the tribal nations within its borders compared to the U.S.. We want to add a large caveat, which is that none of us are experts on Canadian law or child welfare.
However, those that are put together a really helpful publication which is available here, and is well worth your read (it made us think about if ICWA would get passing grades):
From the Jurisdiction section of the report:
Why We Give the Bill a ‘D’ on this:
IN A HISTORIC FIRST FOR CANADA, the Bill purports to recognize Indigenous peoples’ inherent jurisdiction. For example, section 8(a) of the Bill affirms “the rights and jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services”. This positively worded language is also noted in the Bill’s introduction and summary. Similarly, section 18(1) states that the “inherent right of self-government recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 includes jurisdiction in relation to child and family services, including legislative authority in relation to those services and authority to administer and enforce laws made under that legislative authority.” Section 18(2) affirms that this right includes the right to “provide for dispute resolution mechanisms.”
As there are no section 35 cases that recognize an inherent right of self-government for Indigenous Peoples or that have recognized an Aboriginal or Treaty right over child and family services law-making, this is a significant step forward.
This is not, however, a recognition of jurisdiction that removes all federal or provincial oversight, power or intervention. By recognizing jurisdiction over child and family services as a section 35 right, the federal government immediately re-asserts its power to unilaterally infringe or limit that right, a power upheld by court cases such as Sparrow. The legislation sets legal limits in terms of Indigenous laws being subject to Charter and Canadian Human Rights Act and the BIOC. It also sets practical limits in terms of the virtual necessity of negotiating coordination agreements with the federal and provincial governments, and in the glaring absence of any provisions for funding. At best, this could be interpreted as an acknowledgment of concurrent (or shared) jurisdiction, a matter on which Bill C-92 should be more clear.
Further, section 23 states Indigenous laws only authoritative if they can be applied in a way that “is not contrary to the best interests of the child.” As previously stated, Indigenous laws have upheld the best interests of Indigenous children for thousands of years. The concern about this limit is how the BIOC doctrine has been interpreted and applied by courts, non-Indigenous governments and decisions makers to apprehend Indigenous children and separate them from their families, communities and territories for the past 50 plus years.
“Reclaiming Power and Place
The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. . The two volume report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.”
Adolescent mothers in the care of CPS are much more likely to have their child taken into CPS care. By separating a quarter of young mothers from their infant within the first week of life, and almost half before the child turns 2, the cycle continues. For adolescents in CPS care who give birth, more and better services are required to support these mothers and to keep mothers and children together wherever possible.
A quick review of the study doesn’t reveal a direct link to Indigenous girls, but
She pointed to the province of Manitoba, where 10,000 of the 11,000 children in care are indigenous.
The number of children in care in Manitoba is among the highest per-capita compared with other provinces. It has nearly doubled in the last decade to 11,000. Nearly 90 per cent are Indigenous.
In neighbouring Saskatchewan, with roughly the same population, the number is roughly 4,000, Fielding said.
As a project for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Prof. Napoleon created the Indigenous Law Research Unit – her proudest work to date. It allows Indigenous communities to articulate and restate their law and legal processes – a model that has been taken up across Canada and beyond.