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

WATCH: Our Place Therapeutic Recovery Community turns into a ‘place of healing’

500 volunteers, 120 businesses worked to transform View Royal community

A party for 11 pups and their adoptive families in Beckwith Park in Saanich

The coonhound siblings reunited at a barbeque on Saturday

HarbourCats bats hot in home return

Victoria squad downs Yakima Valley Pippins 17-2

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Sidney youth bowl over the competition, head for nationals

Youngsters take Mens and Womens Singles Championships at recent tournament

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read