#FirstNations, #HouseofCommons, #IndigenousServicesdepartment, #CharlieAngus, #TheStarBlanketCreeNation, #Saskatchewan, #CoweneskaHeadStartLearningCentre, #CanadianHumanRightsTribunal
Ottawa, Feb 21 (Canadian-Media): The federal program for early childhood development on First Nations designed in 2003 was accessible only to 18 to 19 percent of eligible First Nations children across the country, media reports said.
Indigenous Services department also reportedly said that its services were unavailable to First Nations children with special needs.
"The flagship program the government always talks about helping young moms and babies on-reserve is completely underfunded and broken," said NDP MP Charlie Angus, who obtained the information through an Order Paper question.
"Young babies with special needs can't get access and many of the locations where they are providing these services are substandard."
First Nations Children had reportedly to face long wait lists to access the program due to several factors including population growth, stagnant funding, a lack of trained staff, lack of proper equipment and accessibility, lack of proper infrastructure in housing the program, said the federal Indigenous Services department and added "which may erode service delivery and quality over time."
Angus said the child welfare crisis in First Nation communities could only end with early childhood development.
"It is part of the larger perverse funding mechanism the government has. They continually and chronically underfund these programs and then they seem surprised these kids grow up without an opportunity for education, and then are taken into the child welfare system." Angus was reported to state.
Funding and access problems with the Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve program have been known for some time.
A Health Canada memo -- drafted after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Ottawa discriminated against First Nations children by underfunding child welfare services -- from January 2016 stated that the program failed to provide a level of assistance "comparable to that which is available to the general population."
The memo stated that at the time, only 17 percent of First Nations children living on-reserve benefited from the program.
Jane Philpott's, Indigenous Services Minister of Canada office had issued the statement reportedly confirming that an investment of $38 million was granted last year for repairs and renovations at Head Start facilities.
"Our government is committed to ensuring that Indigenous children receive the services they need, when and where they need them," Philpott was reported to state.
Federal government had reportedly allocated $12.8 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year also for urgent repairs and renovations for 70 facilities that house on-reserve Head Start programs across the country.
Official reports said that new Indigenous Early Learning Child Care Framework would also receive at least $130 million annually over the next 10 years under the federal government's $7-billion investment in early learning and child care.
Talks with "Indigenous partners" to increase "Indigenous control and influence over governance, programming and delivery" had been reportedly finalized recently by the department of early childhood learning services.
Increased funding service enhancement and expansion by the department reportedly was also in process.
A new Head Start building was reportedly opened last month by The Star Blanket Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.
A provision of $700,000 for the new building to house the Coweneska Head Start Learning Centre was made by Ottawa.
Health services once provided to First Nations and Inuit by Health Canada are now delivered by Indigenous Services.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#IndiraNaidoo-Harris, #IndigenousChildren, #Canada, #culturallyrelevantchildcare, #OntarioFriendshipCentres, #JourneyTogether. #IndigenousRelationsandReconciliation, #SylviaMaracle, #DavidZimmer
Ottawa, Feb 16 (Canadian-Media): Early years programs for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families living in urban and rural areas across the province are being expanded by Ontario by investing in more child care spaces, media reports said.
An announcement was made by Indira Naidoo-Harris, Ontario Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care this week at the First Nations School of Toronto that province would be investing up to $70 million over two years in child care and child and family programs.
Indira Naidoo-Harris/Facebook page
Development of these programs would reportedly be in partnership with municipal service managers and Indigenous organizations to create 64 new licensed child care spaces and one new child and family program room.
“Culturally relevant child care and early years programs are important for Indigenous families. This funding gives more Indigenous children access to high-quality child care and child and family programs in their communities,” Naidoo-Harris reportedly said.
Ontario is also investing $11.5 million in upgrades and enhancements to the First Nations School of Toronto.
“Creating culturally relevant child care and learning spaces that celebrate the rich history, cultures and languages of Indigenous people, positively impacts students’ self-identity and has been proven to lead to better academic outcomes... Expanding child and family programs and licensed child care services...for Indigenous students like those attending the First Nations School of Toronto is part of our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples," David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation was reported to state.
As part of The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the province is also enhancing existing and supporting new child care and child and family programs in 58 off-reserve projects led by Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous organizations.
This includes culturally relevant programming, advice, personal connections, resources and play- and inquiry-based learning for Indigenous children and families.
In 2018, Ontario would reportedly be investing $784 million in 79 new and renovated schools across the province to help create a total of more than 2,700 new licensed child care spaces for children aged 0-4.
An investment of up to $1.6 billion by Ontario would reportedly be made to support new capital funding over the next five years for creation of 45,000 new licensed child care spaces in schools, other public spaces and communities.
Research reportedly shows that positive relationships emerge between quality early learning, child development outcomes, and a parent’s ability to work.
“We are pleased about this expansion in child care and child and family programs in Ontario Friendship Centres through Journey Together. Fifteen Friendship Centres across the province will receive expanded programs and services through this next phase of investments. We know this will have a positive impact for urban Indigenous people living in cities and towns across Ontario. The long-term effects of adequately investing in our children will be felt for generations to come,” Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#ColtenBoushieAcquittal, # CanadianJusticeSystem, # IndigenousPeople, # GeraldStanley, # ColtenBoushie
Saskatchewan, Feb 13 (Canadian-Media): Indigenous people and activists in numerous gatherings in Canada last Saturday demanded reform in the jury selection process in the Canadian justice system for Indigenous people after accused Gerald Stanley, a White farmer, was acquitted in the Colten Boushie -- belonged to the First Nation group called Cree in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan -- shooting case, media reports said.
Colten Boushie/Facebook page
During the Stanley trial, an apparent lack of Indigenous member in the composition of the jury was pointed out.
"There definitely has to be changes," David Pratt, second vice-chief for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), said in Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench courthouse.
"We're urging the federal justice minister to take that action immediately. I'm hopeful that the premier will take notice and work with us to ensure that justice is done for the family and that the life of Colten Boushie will not be in vain."
The rally finished with supporters chanting, "Justice for Colten! Justice for Colten!"
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe reportedly said In a statement released Saturday afternoon, "I am listening, our government is listening, and it is important that we continue to listen to the many voices involved in this discussion."
He said that he would meet FSIN and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the near future.
Sen. Murray Sinclair, who headed Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, wrote an emotional poem on Facebook about the verdict on Saturday afternoon:
"Today I grieve for my country," it begins.
Trudeau was reported to say while speaking to reporters in Los Angeles on Saturday, "Our hearts go out to Colten Boushie's family, his mom Debbie, his friends and the entire community...Indigenous people across this country are angry, they're heartbroken. I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better."
Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations said at a news conference in Regina was reported to state, "We have to call on governments to work with us and develop [an] anti-racism plan and strategy."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)