Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta implement adoption law to end private adoption of Treaty 8 children

Click to play video: 'Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta implement new adoption law'
Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta implement new adoption law
Treaty 8 officials say the Adoption and Private Guardianship Law ends adoptions and private guardianships involving Treaty 8 children. And, as Nicole Di Donato tells us, they say it supersedes any provincial laws. – Mar 15, 2024

The Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta have implemented a new law they say supersedes provincial laws with the goal of protecting First Nations children.

Treaty 8 officials held a news conference Friday during which they explained “the adoption and private guardianship law” ends adoptions and private guardianships involving Treaty 8 children.

The officials said if any do proceed, it would require written consent from parents or guardians and the First Nation.

The Treaty 8 First Nations said it created this law after multiple failed attempts to convince the Alberta government to end the current adoption practices.

The grand chief said families have been broken by colonial practices and legislations. He called the First Nation’s decision a step towards healing.

“I’m not saying we never had laws for child bearing, they were always there, but somebody thought they could do better raising our children and now we have to bring them back to heal them,” said Treaty 8 First Nations Grand Chief Arthur Noskey.

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University of Alberta law professor Eric Adams said federal legislation has made it possible for Indigenous communities to pass laws related to child and family services. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of that.

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“A province can bring that constitutional challenge. But there were so many signals in the judgement that the court thinks that this a core area of Indigenous rights to self government. I’d be surprised if any provinces think it’s worth the time of making such a constitutional challenge,” Adams continued.

In a statement to Global News, the Ministry of Children and Family Services said the government remained committed to working with Indigenous communities.

“We remain committed to the ongoing work with Indigenous communities towards reconciliation and meaningful change. We will continue to focus on ensuring children in care, both on and off reserve, are safe and continue to receive the supports they need,” said Ashli Barrett, press secretary for the Minister of Children and Family Services.

The province adds that it has already transferred authority over child intervention services to four First Nations, three of which are Treaty 8 Nations.

The new law will remain in effect until individual Treaty 8 First Nations enact their own laws governing adoption and private guardianship.

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