The Simcw and Gitsegukla First Nations have signed a commitment to “recognize each nation’s inherent jurisdiction for their children and families,” according to a joint release.
The declaration includes agreements to Knucwentwécw (“to help each other”) “for the wellbeing and interests of their families.
This is the first legally binding child welfare agreement of its kind in BC.
“I am filled with a deep sense of happiness remembering our Simgigyet (Hereditary Chiefs) who fought bravely in the face of great adversity for our children and family’s jurisdiction that the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed in the landmark Delgamuukw-Gisday wa decision.” said Chief Annie Howard, Gitsegukla (Wiistiin).
“We honour them through the exercise of our traditional trade and enter this Declaration to self-determine how we will work with other Nations based on our Ayook (laws) for the well-being and best interests of our children and families.”
“My husband is a Gitxsan community member, and my children have connections to both my Simpcw community, and to the Gitxsan Nation through their father,” said Alison Green, Simpcw Councillor.
“It is especially important to me that my children and family have connections to both Nations and opportunities to learn, practice and enjoy both cultures and spend time on both territories. I am extremely excited to share this experience with Simpcw youth and for them to witness this traditional trade.”
The documents were signed yesterday (Wednesday) morning.
In November, the provincial government passed legislation to allow Indigenous communities to provide their own child and family services.