After nothing on Monday, the Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp protesters broke their silence regarding their meeting with the provincial government.
Representatives from the camp met with Minister of Central Services Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Government Relations Warren Kaeding, Minister of Social Services Paul Merriman, Minister of Justice Don Morgan and Deputy Premier Gord Wyant at the Treaty Four Governance Centre in Fort Qu’Appelle on Sunday.
Both parties didn’t address the media at that time.
Back at the Legislature grounds, where the camp is established, they did yesterday, with a spokeswoman for the camp Michelle Stewart saying they presented the ministers with a list of actionable items.
For Minister of Social Services Paul Merriman, they’ve requested:
- Clear data on the number of children in care and the duration they’ve been in care, with a particular focus on data for Indigenous children.
- Review of all permanent wards.
- A review of all long term wards, including file updates to see if any of them can be sent home.
- Demonstrate the use of in-home supervision in lieu of apprehension.
- As previously arranged, attend the Red Pheasant First Nation.
- Place a moratorium on adoptions and planned expansion of the foster care system.
- Develop a full report on each child in care, including details on the developmental and cultural needs.
- Create a review practice for all foster homes in Saskatchewan.
- A cost analysis relative to how the Ministry is resourcing families so they can stay together or efforts for re-unification.
For to the Ministry of Justice,
- An inquiry into the matters related to the death of Haven Dubois. More broadly, an inquiry into police practices in the Major Crimes Unit specifically at the Regina Police Service in 2015.
- Scope out and pursue an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys.
- Review the Police and Coroners Acts for revisions.
Williams also said a request was submitted to the Minister of Central Services and the Provincial Capital Commission to cease effort to remove the camp or pursuing a court order with the same intent.
“And to all ministers, we requested they strike an interminsterial round table that would include the Minister of Health, as these largely are social determinants of health issues,” she said. “The issues discussed here are interconnected with the impacts that exceed one portfolio.”
Another meeting between the camp and the province is expected to occur in about two weeks time.
Justice Minister’s Reaction
Justice Minister Don Morgan says he is happy to have had a meeting with the protester representatives from the Justice For Our Stolen Children camp and hopes they will take their teepees down now from the Legislature grounds in good faith.
The protesters have said the teepees will remain and have asked for a second meeting in 2 weeks.
Morgan doesn’t know if there will be one, and adds that their next step is to go to the various Tribal Councils and the FSIN and ask what they would like, whether it’s to work with the province or whether the protesters would be the ones to talk to.
One of the requests was for a moratorium on adoptions and instead increase foster care and home supervision as opposed to apprehension.
Morgan says if a child is in need, they will take action. Right now the government has 17 agreements with First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies for them to deliver child protection services on-reserve and 3 agreements to deliver services off-reserve.
Morgan says he understands and appreciates the concerns being raised.
For the issues that were more individual, they will be addressed, but others are larger, more systemic issues and they will take time.
Along with the agreements with the 17 First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies, the government has also talked with First Nations leaders about increasing support for on-reserve policing and Aboriginal justice programs and continuing to invest in community justice and alternative measures programs.
A third initiative is increasing support for community based organizations serving Indigenous communities in the north.
(With files from CKRM and CJWW)