Métis Foster Family Featured on Global News this Past Weekend

(Burnaby, BC) BC Métis Federation held their Métis Cultural Gathering this past weekend to honour a Métis child known as “SS” and her foster family in Burnaby despite the efforts of the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s (MCFD) decision to keep one of our own Métis children from attending the Metis cultural event. The event was attended by several Métis people including the foster mother and grandfather of “SS” despite MCFD’s efforts to keep our children from learning about their Métis culture. Métis fiddling was provided by JJ Lavallee with a jigging showcase from the Louis Riel Métis Dancers.

This story continues to touch the hearts of all British Columbians and Global TV attended to meet the foster family and interview others in attendance. The story became the top story Saturday night on their main news at 6:00 PM and continued to air throughout the weekend.

BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “I am reaching to all of our community partners and a number of members to continue to support the fight to support foster child SS. This is a situation where we all need to continue to pull together and this situation has evolved because the “system” has failed this foster child and Métis foster family and we have to do something about this.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry added; “The current Métis child and family agencies throughout BC have contributed to this mess. The Métis Commission for Children and Families BC approved this adoption plan, but why? I spoke with the Métis Commission CEO in January who stated she could have gone either way. Really? You knew this and instead of making sure proper due diligence and working with our Métis community you decided this major life changing decision to move this Métis child after the years of attachment with this current Métis foster family to a non-Métis family in Ontario. The Métis Commission itself has never met the child, never met the family, and so many more serious questions.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry further added; “This, along with many other reasons, is why we want a complete overhaul of the Métis child and family system in BC. There are Métis agencies in BC who allegedly speak for our Métis community but have no relationship, no accountability, and no mandate. How much money (public funds) are invested each year in BC to protect our Métis culture but situations like this occur. This is unethical and will create another innocent victim. What a mess.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry further added; “Where are these agencies? How can they let this occur? Where is Métis Nation BC on these real issues as they receive funds from MCFD in the alleged effort to ensure Métis culture is also protected. We know BC Métis Federation is one of the two provincial Métis representative organizations in BC and does not support Métis Nation BC but do these issues with real victims such as SS not transcend political agendas? Yesterday at our cultural event, none of them showed up. These organizations have done nothing, likely to protect their money and not be seen as rocking the boat with their funding partner at MCFD. Ironically it is often these same organizations that declare public rhetoric about working for the best interests of the child. Their actions speak that they only work to protect their corporate interests.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “The Provincial Government through MCFD, Métis Commission for Children and Families BC, Métis Nation BC, and Island Métis Children and Family Services have all failed the Métis foster family who resides on Vancouver Island and especially and most sadly foster child SS. MCFD can NEVER be allowed to keep our children from our Métis culture and I can assure each of our members and partners that BC Métis Federation and the foster family will not fail SS. We are committed to fighting the incompetence and racist attitudes that led to the recent decision by MCFD to keep another child from her culture. This is a crime and keeping these innocent children from our community is an effort to keep this faceless and nameless to the larger community that cares. This is no difference that what was allowed during the residential school policies, 60s scoop of Aboriginal children, murdered and missing Aboriginal women and other terrible policies Aboriginal people have witnessed and been victims of for years. Some in our own Métis community wonder why the BC Métis Federation works so hard to address governance and representation. It is these tragic situations that clarify why. Look at the seriousness of these victims when real issues hit our Métis community. It is sad but we are going to fix this, one day at a time.”

How can you help?

1. Please forward the information to all of your members and friends.

2. Please encourage people in your networks to sign the online petition initiated this last week: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/help-metis-toddler-stay-with-family 

3. Please encourage people to donate to assist the foster family fighting this case: https://www.gofundme.com/metis-toddler-case 

4. Watch the latest Global BC News feature that aired Saturday, February 13th: http:https://youtu.be/HTxhTwyESis

For information and pictures from the Métis Cultural Gathering go to the BC Métis Federation Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BCMetis/

For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.

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Media Inquiries: 

Keith Henry, President 
BC Métis Federation 
#300-3665 Kingsway 
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2 
Office 1-604-638-7220 Cell 1-778-388-5013 
Email k.henry@bcmetis.com 

 

You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis 

You can follow BC Métis Federation on twitter @BCMétis 

Click here to download this Press Release in PDF format.

3 Responses to Métis Foster Family Featured on Global News this Past Weekend

  1. Jeanie Cardinal February 15, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    To All Concerned:

    It is with greatest respect that I sharing the frustration with systems not safe guarding our children and our Metis rights being seamingly treated As options.
    These lessons should never come at the price of a child’s future.

    I understand the benefits of uniting sibling groups, however the absence of transitions and bonding to link the sibling group together to build relationships appears not to have been stated or identified in the story, it is percieved as absent. The absence of disclosure in planing and a system standard of practice that we as Metis people should be informed about and engaged in as knowing and having transparency of these processes is leaving the opportunity for trauma of a child to be the most likely measurable outcome. Our systems are failing our children. Our lack of unity as a nation of Metis is failing our children. Our lack of information sharing and ability to collaborate together is failing our children. When we fail our children, we lose our rights to govern our peoples in trust as a nation.

    The child in question in this case here is already attached to the caregivers, the caregivers are desiring to commit to adoption for long term outcomes to be benefit the child, the child is attached to the community another safeguard for her future.
    The child has been in care too long which has resulted in further complications of the hearts. It is also a detriment to the child. The system failed the child and the foster family.

    If the ministry deem sibling groups as the best viable outcome then due diligence would and should be transparency in the work done by the ministry and service providers for transition planning and relationship attachments with the siblings and with inclusion for next Metis Comminuty. Ideally the earlier the better for the child’s developmental needs to be of primary importance.

    At age 3, it has become questionable at more damaging than beneficial due to the child’s developmental needs which are the highest priority. This singular concept of keeping siblings together as a child is forsaken under some sort of guise uniting siblings in itself alone is flawed. When we know, that the sibling relationship is not the most poignant. It is the child caregiver relationship that is most important.

    The sibling group that is proposed to be integrated with the child in BC: what is the receiving families status? Did they adopt the older siblings. How long have they had them.
    Has there been any visits between the siblings in three years, if not why? If no relationships have been supported to be fostered between all then how is this decision seen as supported and assured? What is the plan? Where are the biological parents, family and extended family?
    Best interest of the child requires fair decision making and is the responsibility of all involved to be informed.

    Our children deserve the best, this child is very young and love and family are very important at any stage in life. Whether she resides in BC or Ontario, how is the sibling and family relationships being supported now?

    There is to be processes in place that should have asked all those questions. This is why I keep going back to “examine the processes” this is where we will see if due diligence was done and have all these questions been asked, explored and weighted for benefits and deficits in now and future outcomes. That’s what the systems are suppose to be set up to do, to evaluate the risks.

    Unfortunately not everyone’s role has been clearly identified in this case which poses the questions and concerns “will this child and future children be harmed if we dont have transparency, communications and trust built into our processes”

    Calling processes to question is the key.
    In this mess the foster parents are emotionally involved and attached which creates another layer of complications.
    We need to be careful here to search out all the processes and facts before taking a position.

    We as a Metis nation of people in BC contribute to the complexities we are seeing within the processes. This basis alone doesn’t provide a safety net for any child or family.
    None of us are assured, based on the Metis people’s divisions. How can we demonstrate to our memberships, to MCFD or Metis families that we have the processes in place that can allow us all to ask the questions regarding our Metis Nations children and families and have an expected answer when we ourselves posses a gap in communications as a people.
    When we struggle desperately to find a way to be heard in advocating for by the greater child protection system, our own Metis governance system, our regional Metis family services and our Metis political bodies being so fractured and need to be another priority to fix and secure for improved outcomes and accountability.

    I myself as a Metis person don’t even have that assurance and I’m a Metis leader within a sector of service.

    We must do better than this. How many children will it take before we all decide that a child(ren) are never up for sale as the cost for a failed or appearing failed systems.

    We need clear identified roles and responsibilities outlined, identified processes, accountability to each other, communications with consistency and respect for the Metis children, families and communities who deserve and need our skill sets and passions to rise above mediocracy.

    Clarity from of roles from the top to the bottom need to be defined and refined:

    Service Providers:

    Ministry for Children and Family Development

    Metis Commision for Children and Families of BC

    Metis Service providers across the Province of BC (inclusive with: delegated, about to be delegated, non-delegated, Metis community associations)

    Political Organizations:

    Metis Nation BC
    BC Metis Federation

    We all need a better communication platform, transparency of roles and responsibility, collaborative demonstration of efforts and reporting transparency to the Metis People.

    We must do better than this. How many children will it take before we all decide that a child(ren) are never up for sale as the cost for a failed or appearing failed systems.

    With Greatest Respect and Hope
    Jeanie Cardinal

  2. Jeremy derocher February 21, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    Why has the bcmf not contributed anything?

    • Keith Henry February 21, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

      Thank you Jeremy,

      We have contributed as an organization as well as many of our individual leaders.

      For example BC Metis Federation paid to host the recent Metis cultural event in Burnaby with in the amount of about $750.00.

      Another direct payment we have made is our legal costs. The BC Metis Federation legal costs are in the area of $5000.00 already and we expect quite a lot more for our efforts to intervene as the BC Metis Federation.

      These along with our communication efforts are substantial so far.

      Hope this clarifies.

      Thank you

      Keith Henry
      President

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