(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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
You can follow BC Métis Federation on twitter @BCMétis