Pauquachin First Nation Chief Bruce Underwood and Premier Christy Clark sign agreement at a ceremony at the B.C. legislature Thursday.

First Nations will help their bands’ children

Agreement between province, chiefs a ‘holistic’ approach

 

A new agreement gives First Nations a voice, says one local chief.

“It’s a turning point, it’s a milestone for us because we’ve never been down this path before. So this little baby step is a big one for all of us (First Nations and the province) but it’s an exciting one,” said Pauquachin Chief Bruce Underwood.

Underwood signed the agreement between the province and nine aboriginal communities on southern Vancouver Island to share authority for child and family services, alongside Children and Family Development Minister Mary McNeil, Premier Christy Clark and eight other community leaders. The agreement signed Thursday at the legislature covers Pauquachin, Esquimalt, Tsartlip, Tseycum, T’Sou-ke, Beecher Bay, Tsawout, Songhees and Pacheedaht First Nations, as well as urban aboriginal people through the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

Underwood said the agreement sets up a “government-to-government” relationship to create a culturally based service system for the care and protection of aboriginal children.

“Right now a child is taken away from us, or out of our home,” Underwood said. “Now we’re looking at a holistic approach. How do we surround the child with love and care? The parents need to be a part of that love and care. So instead of apprehending a child, we’re looking at ways of taking a look at the whole family.”

Underwood said it gives them a voice and solidifies a process started in 2008 with the South Island Wellness Society, chaired by Underwood and representing all the communities.

“We’re a little bit of a ways from implementing anything. … It gives us something to strive for,” Underwood said. “It’s like the old auntie approach. We all become the old auntie and the old uncle.”

Moving forward, the nine nations will look at community resources required from addiction issues, to anger management or building budgeting skills.

“Instead of apprehending a child, how do we apprehend the family? Let’s not devastate anybody, especially the child we’re looking to support,” Underwood said. “We have a voice. We have grandmas, we have grandpas that have a say in our process.”

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Pacific FC signs 24-year-old defensive midfielder from Panama

González joins the roster following the team’s 2-2 tie game against York9 FC.

Famed Syrian artist displays paintings created while living in refugee camps

Farid Abdulbaki’s ‘Between Two Worlds’ exhibit will be displayed May 24-26 in Victoria

Victoria police investigate dumpster fire in gated alleyway

VicPD and Victoria Fire Department respond to fire on Johnson Street

Mighty Garage Sale offers boost to Metchosin groups

Metchosin Community Association holds annual sale on May 25 and 26

SidFest 7 ready to rock the Mary Winspear Centre

The Bankes Brothers and Madrona Drive headlining May 24 concert

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read