For many of us, September is the most diﬃcult month, the month when our children left—when they were ripped away and sent to residential school.
On September 30, Canada observes the ﬁrst National Day for Truth & Reconciliation to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.
For many of us, “reconciliation” has been thrown around so often and so carelessly, it is losing all meaning. There are other “R” words that could be more meaningful: redress, recompense, restitution, and the biggest one—respect.
But we should not lose sight of the progress that has been made. For decades, we have been working to ensure that our voices are heard and reﬂected in decision- making—so that we can do the work of rejuvenating and reinvigorating our cultures and families and strengthening our traditional systems of care.
Those decades of work have brought us to a place of hope. Under the new federal legislation, several of our Nations are preparing to resume their rightful places in the aﬀairs of their children and families.
With the support of First Nations Child & Family Caring Society and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, our Indigenous Child & Family Services Agencies now have federal funding to provide the prevention services our families and communities need.
This has improved our relationships with our federal partners. Our relationships with our provincial partners have also improved, with the province expressing a willingness to address some of our longstanding needs, including consideration of an Indigenous Child & Family Services Act and the creation of a Provincial Indigenous Director position.
The gap between where we are and where we need to be remains wide, and our children and families suﬀer the consequences. There is an urgent need to fund prevention services for families residing oﬀ-reserve; to address the crisis.
When we meet with our federal and provincial partners, we ﬁnd an increasing willingness to share their energy, their spirit, and their minds to support the rebuilding of our Nations.
And yet, Canada and BC continue to resist their obligations to Indigenous children, youth and families. This should not be forgotten as Canadians observe the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.
Indigenous Child & Family Services Directors Executive