Our Dreams Matter Too: fighting for equality for First Nations children
HALIFAX — A national campaign fighting for First Nations children to have the same rights on reserves as they do off-reserves was held in Halifax on Tuesday.
The “Our Dreams Matter Too” campaign calls for culturally based equity for First Nations Children.
Among the speakers were Phillipa Pictou and Maurina Beadle, who made headlines last year by taking their fight for equal rights to the Supreme Court.
They accused the government of failing to provide Beadle’s son, who has a severe disability, with the same care they would provide to a child with the same condition but living off-reserve.
“Our struggle: to be able to provide the care for him in his home and his community and have that care funded in the same way it would be if he lived off reserve,” explains Pictou.
The Supreme Court ruled in their favour, ordering Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to pay back the costs of caring for Beadle’s son to the Pictou Landing Band.
A year later, Pictou says they’re still dealing with a possible appeal by the Federal government.
“They’re basically saying they don’t like the decision,” she says. “So the more outcry against prolonging this whole process the better, and I think that we need to hold the government accountable for providing services on first nations communities.”
David Ladouceur, a spokesman with “Our Dreams Matter Too,” says the campaign also calls for equal school funding.
According to Ladouceur, First Nations children are falling through the cracks when it comes to education, saying schools on reserves, which are regulated by the Federal government, are getting 22% less funding than those off-reserves, regulated by their province.
“We’re not looking for a handout, we’re looking for a hand up,” he says. “It’s gotta be equal, all the way around.”
During Tuesday’s campaign, handprints were painted on a banner and petitions were signed.
Both will be sent to Ottawa in an effort to raise awareness of their campaign.
© 2013 Shaw Media