Grand Chief Doug Kelly of the Sto:lo Tribal Council has praise for the newly tabled law, Bill C-92, and those who supported it. (Submitted)

New law unlocks the door for Indigenous matriarchs to reclaim jurisdiction

The goal is to dramatically reduce the number of First Nations kids in care

New life is being breathed into an ancestral role held traditionally in First Nations culture by the community’s matriarchs.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly said through the Coast Salish matriarchs they are now ready to reclaim control of child welfare services from the federal government.

It is hoped the move will dramatically reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care.

Bill C-92, the historic legislation described as “an Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth, and families,” was tabled Thursday into Canadian law.

READ MORE: Bill becoming law

Grand Chief Kelly said it was exciting work on the part of the Chiefs’ Council, which began last year after the Sto:lo Tribal Council secured funding, hired a “Matriarchs’ Governance Coordinator, and continued with the recent vote in the House of Commons approving the new law.

“My heart is full of gratitude for the dedication and commitment of the Hon. Jane Philpott and the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould,” Kelly commented Friday. He said he deeply appreciated “their leadership, advocacy and support” of Bill C-92.

“As promised, this historic legislation unlocks the door for Coast Salish Matriarchs to reclaim their jurisdiction for children and families,” the Grand Chief Kelly said. “Our Ancestors are celebrating with our Matriarchs with song and dance.”

READ MORE: Holding up the matriarchs

The legislation is an attempt to breathe new life into the ancestral role of the matriarch under Stó:lo law. In the Stó:lo world view, the concept of ‘matriarch’ refers to the eldest woman or the woman recognized by family as their matriarch, who carries the thread of family history and culture, as well as ceremonial and naming rights of her family.

Although Grand Chief Kelly still had a few questions, and he’ll be seeking clarification for some aspects of it, but he fully supported the thrust of the bill.

“As an elected leader, as a traditional man, I support our Matriarchs reclaiming their jurisdiction for our children and families. The time is now to create a better world for our children and grandchildren. I am going to work with like-minded leaders to get this work done!”

That means working closely with Ministry of Children and Families Development and the delegated agencies.

READ MORE: Breathing life into the matriarchal role


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Good things cooking at Barn Burner BBQ event this Sunday in Yarrow

Fifth annual event in Chilliwack raises funds for the Full Cupboard

Bail denied for alleged Chilliwack firearm thief convicted of similar crime in Alberta

Andrew Scott Charpentier charged with numerous offences after guns seized from Reece Avenue address

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Moni at the Chilliwack SPCA

This week’s animal is Moni, an obedient 10-year-old Australian shepherd cross at the Chilliwack SPCA

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read