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OCOW Congratulates Cowichan Tribes on the signing of Snuw’uy’ulhtst tu Quw’utsun Mustimuhw u’ tu Shhw’a’luqw’a’ i’ Smun’eem

News Release
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Territory

The Our Children Our Way Society congratulates Cowichan Tribes on the signing of their Snuw’uy’ulhtst tu Quw’utsun Mustimuhw u’ tu Shhw’a’luqw’a’ i’ Smun’eem –“The Laws of the Cowichan People for Families and Children”.

Cowichan Tribe’s coordination agreement, enabled through An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and families 20-2 was signed on June. 24, 2024 by Cowichan Chief, Cindy Daniels, and included Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, and British Columbia’s Minister of Children and Family Development, Grace Lore, as signatories on the historic document. The signing ceremony held by Cowichan on their lands and according to their traditional protocols celebrated the long-fought battle to reclaim their inherent rights to raise their children in their ways.

“And now today, we are making history. Today is a transformative day for our smun’eem, our children … Appropriately, this process has taken a village. Just as it takes a village to raise our children. This is what future generations will come to see as a turning point in our history,” Chief Cindy Daniels, Cowichan Tribes.

It has been 28 years since Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem, Cowichan’s Indigenous Child and Family Services provider became a provincially delegated agency. Chief Daniels acknowledged the magnitude, perseverance, and commitment from leadership, from community, and each and every staff member working at Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem to make this day possible. As Indigenous Child and Family Services providers with mandates to serve our Nations, we understand how impactful these relationships between agency and leadership are. We hold up our hands in gratitude and recognition to the team at Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem who have ensured that the nature and scope of their decades long work under a provincially delegated model can be more fully realized, and build on the existing strength, capacities, and lessons learned as they begin operating under their own laws.

Minister Hajdu (Indigenous Services Canada) and Minister Lore (Ministry of Children and Families) both offered remarks centering on commitments to reconciliation by restoring power and rights back to where they always should have been- in the hands of the community.

For further information click the image to watch the Introduction video below and visit the Cowichan Tribes Child and Family Law webpage.

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For further comment, please contact: Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director, Our Children Our Way Secretariat, [email protected]