Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug signs trilateral coordination agreement with Canada and Ontario to support First Nations-led child and family services
April 11, 2023 — Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Treaty 9 Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
The Nation of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) states that it has existed in their Homelands since the beginning of human memory. This is a memory that recounts centuries of evolution and growth within its vast and wondrous place. Kishe-Manidoo (Creator) bestowed these Homelands to KI and Miinikoziwin, an inherent power given or bestowed upon KI that includes rights and responsibilities with a Kanachitotamowin (Sacred Duty) to care for Awaashishag, Oshkaadizag egwa Dibenjikewinan (Children, Youth and Families) so as to maintain the balance of life central to the Nation of KI's identity.
Today, at a ceremony in Kitchenuhmaykoosib (formerly Big Trout Lake), Ontario, Chief Donny Morris, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI); the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Michael Parsa, Ontario's Minister of Children, Community and Social Services; and the Honourable Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, celebrated the signing of a coordination agreement, pursuant to An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families. This agreement supports the exercise of KI's jurisdiction in relation to their child and family services under the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Dibenjikewin Onaakonikewin (KIDO), which in the Anishininiimowin language of KI, means Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Family Law.
Through this agreement, KI, Canada and Ontario have established a path forward that puts the best interests of KI Awaashishag, Oshkaadizag egwa Dibenjiekwin first. This coordination agreement outlines shared understandings, specific roles and responsibilities, and joint commitments to support the coordination of services for children, youth and families. This is the second coordination agreement in Ontario and the seventh in Canada.
The coordination agreement also addresses fiscal arrangements for delivering child and family services, and sets out principles the parties will consider when developing such arrangements.
KI and Canada have also entered into a fiscal relationship agreement that provides $93.8 million over four years through the Federal Government to support KI in implementing its law and service delivery model. Negotiations for a funding agreement are also underway between KI and Ontario.
KI's onaakonikewin (law) approaches child and family services with love and compassion and focuses on its guiding Kaa-iishi-niibawiijikaatekin (Principles) within Maamao Dibenjikewin Kanawaabajikewin, which is the traditional practice of child-rearing and care involving all members of a Dibenjikewin (Family) and community. This involvement from community members will revitalize KI values, principles, customs, language, and Kayaash egwa Miina Ahchaako Kikimohamaakewinan (Traditional and Spiritual Teachings) so that Dibenjikewinan will have the support they need to raise Awaashishag and Oshkaadizag in healthy homes, as done in the past. This supportive and preventative approach is grounded in the teachings of Kichiihaak (Elders) and the culture of KI.
Directly investing in the community as they lead the reformation of child and family services in their community is essential, as they are in the best position to determine what is important for their children, youth and families.
"It has been a long time in coming, but KIDO will help our Awaashishag, Oshkaadizag egwa Dibenjikewinan, it will provide jobs within KI and it will provide an opportunity for growth within the community. We are looking forward to seeing the benefits of the new onaakonikewin in the years to come."
Chief Donny Morris,
"The community can't get healthy until we have resolved the core issues, this is what is driving me. With the implementation of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Dibenjikewin Onaakonikewin we are moving forward, and we can only get better from here. Our community is ready to heal, we are ready to move forward."
Councillor, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug
"Today marks a huge milestone for First Nations children and families in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. Indigenous Peoples have always known what is best for their children and families, but decades of colonial and racist policies have pulled families apart and undermined their ability to take care of their own children. The trilateral coordination agreement signed with Canada and Ontario marks a new chapter in our history that will ensure KI has the resources and tools they need for their children to have the best opportunities ahead of them while remaining connected to their families, community, language, and culture. Congratulations to everyone who worked tirelessly to make this happen."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
"This agreement, a first of its kind in Treaty 9 territory, is a testament to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation's steadfast commitment to developing a law that places the safety and security of their children, families, and community at the forefront, while also addressing their unique needs. Ontario is pleased to be part of this collaborative process to ensure that KI's treasured values, customs, languages, and spiritual teachings are deeply integrated into their child and family services."
The Honourable Michael Parsa
Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
"This coordination agreement is a historic milestone for Treaty 9 Territory and it represents the meaningful steps the provincial government continues to take towards reconciliation. The Agreement will ensure that the needs of children, families, and communities in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug are met, and they have the supports they need to thrive. Our government is continuing to work closely with Indigenous partners to develop supports that address the unique challenges of their communities."
The Honourable Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development
In 2007, KI began drafting its modern Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Dibenjikewin Onaakonikewin (KIDO), with Kichiihaak and community members that were based on Maamao Dibenjikewin Kanawaabajikewin, the traditional practice of child-rearing and care involving all members of a Dibenjikewin (Family) and community. This process was not accelerated until a decade later and coincided with the Act receiving Royal Assent.
In November 2019, KI held a community referendum to pass KIDO and it was ratified by KI Chief and Council after a 97% acceptance rate.
In February 2020, KI requested to enter into a coordination agreement with Canada and Ontario regarding KIDO. From this time until KIDO went into force on April 1, 2023, KI has focused on implementing its onaakonikewin (law) grounded in KI values, culture and language, and developing a service model named after the traditional child rearing and care: the Maamao Dibenjikewin Kanawaabajikewin (MDK) service model.
For most Indigenous children, Child and Family Services are provided under the legislation of the province or territory where the children and families reside.
On January 1, 2020, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act) came into force. The Act affirms the inherent right to self-government of Indigenous Peoples, which includes jurisdiction over child and family services, provides a pathway for Indigenous communities to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services and sets out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services to Indigenous children.
In November 2020, the Prime Minister announced over $542 million in funding to advance First Nations, Inuit and Métis engagement to co-develop the implementation of the Act and to support Indigenous communities and groups in building the capacity to establish their own child and family services systems.
Through Budget 2021, the Government of Canada invested an additional $73.6 million to be used over four years, starting in 2021−22, for additional resources to implement the Act.
Through Budget 2022, the Government of Canada invested an additional $87.3 million over three years, starting in 2022−23, to increase capacity building and funding for coordination agreement discussion tables to support the exercise of First Nations, Inuit and Métis jurisdiction in relation to child and family services.
This is the second coordination agreement in Ontario and the seventh in Canada.
- Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
- Reducing the number of Indigenous children in care
- Notices and requests related to An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
- The Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS)
- Ontario's Child welfare redesign
For more information, media may contact:
On behalf of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug:
Principle Managing Director and Creative Director
TAG Creative Strategy
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
Minister Parsa's Office
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
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Ontario's Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
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