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Our Children Our Way holds up in recognition and respect Tla’amin Nation on the signing of their ʔaǰuθmɛt

The Our Children Our Way Society congratulates Tla’amin Nation on the signing of their ʔaǰuθmɛt [ah-jooth-meth], a 92.1 Community Agreement with the province of British Columbia.

ʔaǰuθmɛt [ah-jooth-meth] meaning ‘to understand what someone is saying’ is a part of the five-year Tla’amin Child and Family Service project, moving them one-step closer towards their goal of resuming their rightful role of ‘Taking care of Tla’amin children’, Goal #10 within their Comprehensive Nation Plan.

This is a significant step in Tla’amin’s assertion of their inherent rights to care for their children and families in their Tla’amin ways, indicating their progress and continuing commitment to build capacity and provide services that will keep their people healthy and well as they continue to grow.

92.1 Community Agreements are co-developed protocols which hold the province accountable through formal recognition and legal responsibility to work alongside Nations as a self-determining group when planning and decision making for their children involved with the Ministry of Children and Families in British Columbia. Community Agreements compel and outline how the province should consult and cooperate with the Indigenous community in their child safety work. Information Sharing Agreements, also accessible through the 92.1 agreement pathway, allow for the Indigenous community to receive information about their children-in-care. These are important components to operationalizing Tla’amin’s inherent rights to care for its children and its treaty relationship with British Columbia.

Tla’amin has shared on their website some of their key actions taken to date which have guided them in their resumption of jurisdiction, including:

  • Establishing a čičyɛ (grandmothers) circle to steer the work
  • Interviewing Tla’amin caregivers and children who have been involved in child welfare system to learn from their experiences, and;
  • Opening čɛpθtən (Auntie’s/Uncle’s) House for voluntary, temporary respite for children and their caregivers

Tla’amin’s čičyɛ advisory circle stated in their public announcement: “Mostly we need our children to know they are special and important to us and that we will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and well.”

As Tla’amin continues to grow, develop and build capacity to deliver services in a way that keeps their children safe and well, the Our Children Our Way Society holds them in recognition and respect for standing up their inherent rights as a step on this pathway. We look forward to witnessing the positive impacts on their children, young people, and families to be cared for and nurtured by their own people and in their own way.

Many hands make for light work. Team Tla’amin with MCFD representatives following the signing of ʔaǰuθmɛt agreement. Front Row (l-r): kʷʊkʷpə John Louie, Denise Devenny, Assistant Deputy Minister, Indigenous Engagement MCFD, Losa Luaifoa, Director of Community Services and Executive Councillor. Back Row (l-r) čičyɛ Brenda Pielle, Executive Council member Lori Wilson, čičyɛ Gladys Osawamick, čičyɛ Sherry Bullock, Grace Lore, Minister of Child and Family Development, Hegus John Hackett, čičyɛ Elsie Paul, Ryan Pielle, Child and Family Services Manager, čičyɛ Evie Tom, Janet Newbury (Child and Family Services), Jasmine Menendez, Youth & Family Advocate and Health Director Marlane Paul.