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'Bringing our children home': FSIN chiefs applaud Supreme Court decision on Indigenous child welfare

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The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is applauding a unanimous ruling by Canada’s highest court.

"Today is a very important day when it comes to our Indigenous rights and laws," said FSIN third vice chief Aly Bear.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal Indigenous child welfare act is constitutional — affirming that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit have sole authority over the protection of their children.

The ruling reverses the Quebec Court of Appeal decision that declared the act, known as Bill C-92, partly unconstitutional.

"The act as a whole is constitutionally valid," the court wrote in a 110-page decision.

The FSIN intervened in this Supreme Court case, pushing for Indigenous nations to have jurisdiction over family and child services.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Indigenous children have "for far too long" been put in foster homes, sometimes far away from their communities, that were not grounded in Indigenous language and traditions.

As a result of the ruling, FSIN first vice chief David Pratt is urging Canada to "properly and adequately fund First Nations child welfare reform."

"We're bringing our children home. We can't bring them home if there's no housing if there's no infrastructure for them to be able to be supported — when we have communities in crisis right now with policing, addictions, and gangs," Pratt said.

"We can't bring them into that type of environment. There's a lot of work we have to do."

The FSIN said 58 out of 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan are already in the process of implementing their own child welfare systems.

-- with files from Alessia Passafiume

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