Sturgeon Lake Challenges Adoptions Ruling

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 15:21



The Sturgeon Lake First Nation and its child welfare agency are appealing a recent court decision which struck down a policy that gave individual bands the right to block the adoption of First Nations children into non-Aboriginal families.


Last month’s court decision ruled that the provincial government policy was unconstitutional.


The policy was challenged in a case involving five Sturgeon Lake siblings that have been in several foster homes throughout their childhood.


Prince Albert Grand Council Chief Gary Merasty says the chiefs of the PAGC sat down and discussed this matter and were all in agreement that challenging the court ruling was the way to go.


Merasty says First Nations leaders believe the judgment could have detrimental effects on all First Nations communities.


Merasty says the ruling is being appealed in order to allow bands to participate in child placement decisions and consider whether those decisions would support cultural and racial diversity, which the PAGC chiefs believe is in the best interests of First Nations children.


Merasty also points out that the government policy in question was created as a response to the adverse effects of the residential schools, the so-called “Sixties Scoop” and the Adopt Indian Metis Program – all of which Merasty says negatively affected the lives of Aboriginal people.