This morning a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the federal government discriminates against First Nations children on reserves.
"This decision concerns children," were the opening words of the ruling.
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.
Organizations such as Amnesty International Canada also voiced their support for the ruling, calling it a great day for human rights.
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.
The mayor of Edmonton also voiced his support.
Before the ruling, Blackstock shared a timeline of the case. It took nine years to be decided, and the Canadian government spent more than $5 million fighting it.
“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.
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.
Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.
Contact Craig Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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