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People Were Overcome With Emotion When A Tribunal Ruled That Canada Discriminates Against First Nations Children

"One day, you will respect us, Canada"

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"This decision concerns children," were the opening words of the ruling.

Big win for First Nations kids! Read the decision at

The tribunal found that the way the federal government manages and delivers child and family service "resulted in denials of services and created various adverse impacts for many First Nations children and families living on reserves."

The programs in question only relate to First Nations on reserve and in the Yukon. The Tribunal said:

It is only because of their race and/or national or ethnic origin that they suffer the adverse impacts outlined above in the provision of child and family services. Furthermore, these adverse impacts perpetuate the historical disadvantage and trauma suffered by Aboriginal people, in particular as a result of the Residential Schools system.

The ruling set off a wave of emotional reactions from Indigenous people and others in Canada.

I have a steady stream of chills as I go through my feed this morning. #KidsWin #KidsWin #KidsWin #KidsWin #KidsWin #KidsWin #KidsWin


There are so few days when activists/advocates get a clear victory. Today is one of those days. #KidsWin #Witness4FNkids

Never forget this, Canada. Your Gov't prefered FN kids die, rather than live. Your Gov't spent $5.5 million fighting #Witness4FNkids.

Canada must 'cease the discriminatory practice' of child welfare services on reserves, tribunal rules finally!

One day, you will respect us, Canada.


Organizations such as Amnesty International Canada also voiced their support for the ruling, calling it a great day for human rights.

A Great Day for #humanrights + #FirstNations child welfare in #Canada #Witness4FNkids

Many are thanking Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. She filed the case and fought for it for close to a decade.

Thank you @cblackst for your strength, patience, perseverance passion, determination and sacrifices. Tough haul but important & necessary.

A heroes respect to @cblackst for your steadfastness to equality for First Nations children!

There should be a National Cindy Blackstock holiday celebrating the gifts of life and providing hope for all children and their families


The mayor of Edmonton also voiced his support.

Thks for your leadership, @cblackst! The welfare of Indigenous children is of crucial importance to cities. #cdnpoli

“Every day I wake up and I ask myself, ‘why did we have to bring the government of Canada to court to get them to treat First Nations children fairly?’” she told the Canadian Press the day before the ruling came out.

Cindy Blackstock

She said she drew strength from First Nations children and families to keep fighting.

“They have been my constant source of inspiration, those children and their families across this country," she said. "I just knew that I could never give up.”

Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett and Minister of Justice Judy Wilson-Raybould held a press conference to share their reaction to the ruling. They promised to fix the inequality.

Minister Bennett say they are going to act to ensure equitable funding for First Nations children. Says this never should have gone to court

Bennett says it is "doable" to get this right.

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at

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