Anishinabek Nation leadership appalled with birth alerts continuing in Thunder Bay

ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (April 8, 2022) – In October of 2020, the Government of Ontario directed that societies must cease birth alerts – a long-standing, traumatic practice that consists of child welfare agencies notifying a hospital or birth centre of alleged safety concerns before an infant is born. Following birth, the alert could result in the infant being immediately apprehended from its mother.

Victims to birth alerts, in any area, should contact their First Nation’s Social Services Department, and request immediate services from a Band/First Nations Representative. The abolishment of this discriminatory practice followed the release of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2019.

“The Anishinabek Nation, and 21 of our member First Nations, have been working tirelessly to assert inherent jurisdiction over child and family well-being through the Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being Law. The Law acknowledges, respects, and supports the primary role of parents, guardians, families and communities in safeguarding and promoting the well-being of Anishinaabe children,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe. “The mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health of both baby and mother are compromised through the racially targeted practice of birth alerts. Child welfare agencies in Thunder Bay must cease this inexcusable treatment of Indigenous peoples.”

In June of 2021, the Anishinabek Nation and Canada also signed an Agreement-in-Principle on Anishinabek Child, Youth and Family Well-Being. The Agreement-in-Principle supports the signatory First Nations in creating their own system and delivering the programs and services required to keep Anishinabek children within Anishinabek families and communities.

“Keeping our children within our communities, surrounded by family, community, culture, and history is what is best for them,” says Anishinabek Children’s Commissioner Ogimaa Duke Peltier. “Through the Anishinabek Child, Youth and Family Well-Being System, signatory First Nations will develop and deliver the programs and services they determine are needed to support Anishinabek families’ well-being. The Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being Law provides for the protection and care of children in circumstances where their parents or guardians are unlikely able to give that protection and care.”

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