The head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says Ottawa needs to provide money for First Nations who want to take over their own child welfare under new legislation.
Chief Bobby Cameron says without reliable funding, changes to Indigenous child welfare that are coming in January will fail.
A new First-Nations-based approach to Aboriginal kids in care passed in Parliament last summer, but there is no new funding attached.
Cameron says he hopes to meet soon with Marc Miller, the new federal minister of Indigenous services.
Cameron is to meet next week with Saskatchewan Social Services Minister Paul Merriman, and hopes he will support the FSIN’s request for funding.
The chief suggests that provincial support on the matter could lead to his organization’s standing behind Saskatchewan on priority issues such as opposition to the federal carbon tax.
Indigenous leaders are adamant that First Nations children in care are at higher risk of incarceration or addictions if they remain in the provincial system, he says.
“It’s going to be a big amount,” Cameron said Wednesday of the money needed to implement the new child-care model.
“If this federal government really means what they did by passing (the legislation), that long-term sustainable funding should – without question – be part of it.”
If it doesn’t come, Cameron said, nothing will have changed.
“We’ll be in the same boat, the same situation as we have been – our children being in care, away from our First Nations communities, away from our language and culture.”
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.