Cowassess First Nation

July 9, 2021

CBC – Cowessess First Nation reclaimed its inherent right to look after its own children with the signing of a co-ordination agreement with Saskatchewan and the federal government on Tuesday, July 8, 2021. The historic signing — the first of its kind in Canada — was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Scott Moe and Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme. Cowessess First Nation will have complete decision-making power over its children and youth.
For the first time in 70 years, this jurisdiction will be recognized and resourced by the federal and provincial governments. The feds have committed $38.7 million to help with the implementation of Cowessess’s child welfare system.
From coast to coast to coast, the community has the final say on whether a Cowessess child is removed from their home, as opposed to a judge or social services making that decision.
“In Saskatchewan, 86 per cent of children in care are First Nations, and 150 of them are from Cowessess,” Buckles said. “It’s their time to receive the opportunity to come home and heal with their families, on their own land through a holistic approach.”
“We are the leaders in a long-fought battle for the rights and the comforts of our people. Soon after us, I hope other First Nation communities will follow us and fight to gain the ability to care for and assist families in a happy and healthy life.”
Indigenous Services Canada has received notices and requests to exercise the same jurisdiction from 38 Indigenous governing bodies representing more than 100 Indigenous groups and communities. From this, 18 co-ordination agreement discussion tables have been established. Cowessess is the first to have its agreement finalized.