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Remember the foster children.

An open letter to Assembly of First Nation Chief Phil Fontaine

I am writing this letter in regards to myself and perhaps hundreds, maybe thousands of other First Nations individuals and our plight. Our issue is as important and ever so parallel to that of the residential school legacy. We are the former First Nations foster care victims, many of whom are the victims of the 1950s big scoop, a program enacted by the government which was as racist as the department of Indian Affairs residential school program and the Indian Act itself.

During the summer of 2005, the Assembly of First Nations launched what was called a class action lawsuit against the government of Canada for the residential school legacy. In setting that lawsuit in action, Chief Phil Fontaine made the statement that the Assembly of First Nations was the national organization that represents all First Nations citizens including survivors and descendants.

We too suffered all the same abuses, physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual. We also suffered the loss of language, culture and the pride and dignity of who we are. We were individually singled out and then ripped out of our parents arms by the ministry of Social Services. Their policy on apprehension was under the guise of child protection. If deemed necessary a child would be apprehended and removed from an apparent volatile situation and placed in what was supposed to be a safe, sound and more protective environment. Sometimes children were removed individually. At other times whole families of children were apprehended, only to be separated later at some point.

My life is a story of that foster care legacy. I am now a 55-year-old survivor. It is now time to take my healing one step further. It is time to take the government to task for what I and a countless number of other First Nations brothers and sisters suffered through. It is time to seek retribution through litigation.

It was 1995 when I finally disclosed to the RCMP. I then approached a law firm in Vancouver. I sent them my story and requested that they represent me. They took some time in reviewing my case and then replied that the Supreme Court of Canada in three cases decided on Oct. 2, 2003 that the provincial government would not be liable for the actions of foster parents. This does not make any sense, much less stand as a just end to this issue. If the churches of Canada can take responsibility for the actions of their priests and the federal government can admit and take responsibility for the failure of their residential achool program, then shouldn't provincial governments be held accountable for what foster parents did to foster children? They had the same fiduciary responsibility for children in their foster care agencies.

Therefore it is with this argument that I now am making an appeal to the Assembly of First Nations for legal and political support. This is not just a political issue, it is a matter of justice.

Should any First Nations individuals like to contact me, my e-mail address is AJGreyCloud@canada.com. There are many of our peoples that have been lost through the foster care system and we need to compile a list of just how many. Those individuals and or their families need disclosure and they need to be recognized.
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Title Annotation:rants and raves
Author:GreyCloud, Aaron J.
Publication:Windspeaker
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:560
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