Some 40 Child Well-Being Working Group members came to the September 20-21 meeting in Nipissing First Nation.

By Marci Becking

NIPISSING FN – The Child Well-Being Law (CWL) Working Group met in Nipissing First Nation on Sept. 20-21 were excited to talk about that how in seven short months, the Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being law will be a reality in some of our communities.

To date, seven First Nations have submitted Band Council Resolutions to say that their community will be on board with the Child Well-Being Law and make it their own.

“Some citizens think that you need a constitution to have the Child Well-Being Law, but that isn’t the case,” says legal counsel Tracey O’Donnell. “Communities who have their constitutions are following their own law-making rules. Those who don’t, have constitutions are submitting a BCR to adopt the Child Well-Being Law.

The Child Well-Being Law will take effect April 1, 2018.

The working group members want other Anishinabek to know that we will no longer be dictated by the Province on how we take care of our children. First Nations will be exercising their inherent right of looking after their own children.

Lindsay McConnell, working group member from Wasauksing says that the Child Well-Being Law will belong to our people. It’s based on Community Standards and beliefs. “It’s not an agency, it’s a law.”

The CWL working group heard a presentation from the Ontario Children’s Lawyer Marian Jocko. She says that the Child Well-Being Law is a long-time coming.

“I am very supportive of it personally, we can go back to our indigenous legal systems – if we don’t know what those are, we need to find out what they are and implement them in everyday life. All one has to do is look at the current system and know that it doesn’t work for our people,” says Jocko.

A Child Well-Being Law presentation will be made at Grand Council Assembly Nov. 14-15 in Chippewas of Rama First Nation. Check anishinabek.ca or the Anishinabek Nation Facebook page for the webcast link.