On March 24, 2023, representatives of the governments of Splatsin, Canada, and British Columbia signed the first coordination agreement in BC pursuant to An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families, SC 2019, c 24.
Splatsin has inherent jurisdiction over the provision of child, family, and community services according to Secwépemc laws, teachings and practices and has been exercising this jurisdiction since time immemorial. Since 1980, Splatsin has been exercising its jurisdiction over child protection under Spallumcheen Bylaw #3-1980. The coordination agreement supports the ongoing exercise of Splatsin’s jurisdiction under Secwepemc laws and under the bylaw by providing for the transfer of $136.2 million to Splatsin over 10 years to deliver child and family services.
An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families is a federal statute that affirms the inherent right to self-government of Indigenous Peoples, including the exercise of jurisdiction over child and family services and the exercise of Indigenous laws.
Splatsin has long been a leader in exercising jurisdiction over children and families according to their own laws. In the words of Spaltsin Kukpi7 Doug Thomas:
Splatsin has been looking after our children since time immemorial and more formally with our Bylaw since 1980. This high level of responsibility for our children falls not just on the shoulders of leadership, but every Splatsin community member. It takes a community to raise a child and at Splatsin we do our best to live by those words. I raise my hands up to our community and each and every person involved in caring for our most vulnerable children and youth in the past, present and into the future.
Mandell Pinder has been honoured to support Splatsin in this work.
For more information about Indigenous jurisdiction over child, family, and community services, including coordination agreements, please contact Crystal Reeves.
March 24, 2023, Government of Canada Press Release.