'Historic day' for northern First Nation communities
Published Friday, May 19, 2017 11:42AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 19, 2017 5:38PM EDT
First Nation leaders in Northern Ontario are hailing a new designation as an important step forward for indigenous youth.
It was a grand entry for a big occasion in Serpent River First Nation on Friday morning
Serpent River and six other northern First Nations communities - between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury - will now deal directly with Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services, instead of Children's Aid Society.
“Everything from pre-natal, from building them up to giving them the teachings of our people and then putting them on their journeys so they can contribute to society,” explained Roger Boyer II, Nogdawindamin board president.
“It’s a powerful day for me. Long overdue and a milestone for the North Shore First Nation,” added Kerry Francis, Nogdawindamin executive director.
Nogdawindamin has reclaimed child welfare jurisdiction, after a journey that has taken nearly three decades.
“The difference between the Algoma and Sudbury CAS and Nogdawindamin is that we focus a lot on prevention and our culture,” said Chief Elaine Johnston, Serpent River First Nation.
Chief Johnston said more than 10,000 people will be serviced by this new model; including a new family CTV spoke with.
Jody and Danielle Paquette from Sault Ste. Marie are a non-native couple who recently took in infant twins of indigenous decent.
They are proud to be new moms and proud to celebrate this day.
“We are very spiritual people so for us it was just a fit,” said Danielle.
“We need more foster parents. We need safer places for these children to grow"
Nogdawindamin has 11 offices across Sault Ste. Marie and the North Shore, with a new one opening in Sudbury next month.