The BC government has announced a new pilot project that will allow aboriginal families to represent themselves in court alongside their elders.
The Carrier Sekani Family Services is reacting to the initiative and while she believes the province should’ve implemented this sooner, Executive Director Mary Teegee says she’s in full support.
“We know the importance of including community members, family members, elders, clan leaders, and looking at a traditional governance structure up here in the North here. It is good news that they’re finally coming around to what we’ve been saying for the last many decades.”
NEW: New Aboriginal family court program aims to keep families together, https://t.co/DBcIKwcaQf
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) January 24, 2017
The goals associated with the project include reducing the over-representation of aboriginal children in government care, reducing the number of cases that go to trial by channelling aboriginal families, and improving outcomes by giving them the opportunity to speak for themselves in a culturally supportive environment.
Teegee says having those community members involved is very critical.
“Having an elder sitting there with the family, understanding that they have the knowledge of their life, of their history that would lend itself to advising and advocating for how our children should be taken care of is absolutely important.”
“Every other nation deserves this opportunity to ensure that their elders are listened to, that their culture is reflected, and that their children are kept safe in a traditional setting.”
BC will be providing $90,000 to kick-start this initiative at the beginning of February.