Spirit Bear Podcast

Welcome to the Caring Society’s Spirit Bear paw’d-cast! Tune in for informative episodes that feature guest appearances from community members, advocates, and experts leading on a number of matters affecting First Nations children, youth, and families. We are bear-y grateful to our friends in Dr. Veldon Coburn’s “Indigenous Politics in Canada” course at the University of Ottawa, who produced Season 1 from January to April of 2022. For more information on what we do and how you can help promote justice and equity for First Nations kids and their families, visit our website at: https://fncaringsociety.com.

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Episodes

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

The students have a conversation with Dr. Veldon Coburn about the education opportunities available to First Nations on reserve, the linkages between historical and contemporary inequities in education, and how this contributes to educational outcomes for First Nations students. The students also consider the importance of balanced and truthful historical accounts being captured in school curricula and how specific systems are upheld when this information is withheld. 
Dr. Coburn, a member of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa in the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies. He has a PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University and holds over a decade of federal policy experience.   
 
@VeldonCoburn 
1:19 - The Mind the Gap report the students discuss is from 2013. Experts place the disparity rate at anywhere between 30-50%. You can read the report here: https://education.chiefs-of-ontario.org/download/mind-the-gap-fn-funding/ 
2:46 – The correct term is “First Nation reserves” not Indigenous reserves. “Indigenous” is a term to refer collectively to First Nations, Metis and Inuit. The reserves system was created through the Indian Act and is specific to First Nations. 
 
9:05 - You can read about the Mi’kmaq Education Act here: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/m-7.6/FullText.html and the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement here: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1517588283074/1542741544614 
 
15:30 - To ensure that Canada’s history (especially around residential schools) is told in a balanced and truthful way, the Caring Society created the Reconciling History initiative, in collaboration with Beechwood Cemetery. You can read more about the initiative here: https://fncaringsociety.com/what-you-can-do/ways-make-difference/reconciling-history 
For more information on equitable education for First Nations kids, visit the Timeline and Documents section on https://shannensdream.ca. In particular, check out the 2016 report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the 2018 report by the Auditor General of Canada. 
 
Produced by Rhea Agnihotri, Royita Ise Godwill, Jamie Hurlbut, Alina Khan and Sara Mohmand.

Friday Nov 18, 2022


The hosts sit down with Dr. Mary Ann Corbiere to discuss Indigenous cultural and language resurgence, including some impacts of the Official Languages Act. Dr. Corbiere invites the students to consider how language repression figures into colonial assimilationist policy, and in the First Nations context, the complex relationship between language, culture and identity.
Dr. Corbiere is a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and is an Associate Professor with the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury. Dr. Corbiere has a PhD in theory and policy studies in education from the University of Toronto. 
0:40 - Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe) is Dr. Corbiere’s mother tongue, and she has developed an extensive online dictionary, found here: https://dictionary.nishnaabemwin.atlas-ling.ca/#/help 
5:12 - The Official Languages Act legislated French and English as Canada’s two official languages. All government services must be delivered in both languages. 
5:16 - The National Indian Brotherhood is the former name of what is now known as the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). 
9:03 - The Department of Indian Affairs has evolved into two separate federal government departments: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). 
17:30 - Here Dr. Corbiere discusses a viewpoint that separates the Church as an institution from the Christian faith.
8:32 - Views on the Bering Land Bridge/Bering Strait theory are diverse and contested amongst Indigenous peoples
29:32 - The Venture Initiative is an experiential learning initiative involving several courses at the University of Ottawa. https://www2.uottawa.ca/faculty-social-sciences/student-hub/venture-initiative
Produced by: Avia Amon, Maya Crawford, Shannon McQuaid and Reese Rowland-Kosticin. 
 
 

Thursday Nov 03, 2022

The students invite Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay, Ontario, to discuss the history and significance of Jordan's Principle. The Motion in support of Jordan's Principle was brought to the House of Commons in 2007 by Mr. Angus' colleague, Jean Crowder (now retired).
 
This episode has been edited for length. For detailed information on Jordan’s Principle, please visit https://jordansprinciple.ca
 
0:40 - In 2007, the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (Caring Society) and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights complaint alleging Canada was discriminating against First Nation children by knowingly underfunding child welfare and choosing not to implement Jordan’s Principle. Learn more at https://fnwitness.ca 
 
0:51 - The Tribunal also found that Canada was discriminating in its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle.
 
3:34 - Shannen Koostachin of Attawapiskat First Nation led a movement for “safe and comfy” schools and quality, culturally based education for First Nations children. You can learn more about Shannen, and the Shannen’s Dream movement here: https://shannensdream.ca
 
7:30 - for all developments in the ongoing Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case for First Nations children, please visit https://fnwitness.ca 
 
11:55 - equity for First Nations children is a human rights issue, not a partisan issue. Unfortunately, discrimination against First Nations children has persisted across all Canadian governments. 
 
13:11 - the figure of $40B is for both compensation *and* long term reform of First Nations Child & Family Services. You can read about the Agreement in Principle, signed December 31 2021, and all additional developments to the case here: https://fncaringsociety.com/what-you-can-do/ways-make-difference/i-am-witness-human-rights-case 
 
Produced by Hannah Brocanier, Mira Buckle, Michelle Lewis and Benjamin Maracle.

Wednesday Oct 19, 2022


Bill C-92: An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. To discuss some of the implications of this legislation, Ottawa University students were joined in Spring 2022 by Professor Naiomi Metallic, a Mi'kmaw professor of law at Dalhousie University, and Dennis Burnside, a Senior Consultant on Indigenous issues with Capital Hill Group who worked closely with Cowesses First Nation on C-92 implementation. As listeners will find, First Nations have different views on the utility of C-92.
The Caring Society's views, including outstanding questions and concerns about implementation, are outlined in our  Information Sheet series called Looking for Clarity in Canada's Funding Positions on C-92:
https://fncaringsociety.com/knowledge-portal/information-sheets
0:15 - Indigenous child welfare is evolving in the sense that First Nations, Metis, and Inuit continue to push governments to end colonial approaches and ensure equitable and culturally relevant child welfare services  
0:30 - “Indigenous” refers to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples
1:10 - Jordan’s family gifted his name to create Jordan’s Principle, a child first principle to ensure First Nations children get the support they need, when they need it. A motion in support of Jordan’s Principle passed unanimously in the House of Commons in 2007. 
1:15 - the case was filed in 2007, the Tribunal issued its decision in 2016, and, as of 2022, retains jurisdiction over the complaint (a 15 year span). In the years after the case was filed, Canada tried numerous times to have the matter dismissed on legal technicalities. These attempts were unsuccessful and the hearing on the merits finally began in 2013.
2:15 - For a full list of orders from the Tribunal since 2016, see https://fnwitness.ca 
2:25 As discussed in previous podcast episodes, the Agreement in Principle is non-binding, and a final settlement agreement has yet to be reached. Visit fnwitness.ca to learn more. 
2:42 - Bill C-92 is separate from the Caring Society & the Assembly of First Nations’ CHRT case, not an outcome of the case. 
7:39 - the Sparrow test is one of the outcomes of the 1990 R v. Sparrow case, which tested s. 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, regarding government infringement on the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. You can read more about this decision here: https://canliiconnects.org/en/summaries/45551. 
9:00 - s.35 of the Constitution Act broadly concerns “Aboriginal and treaty rights”. 
23:29 - the resources Naiomi shares are: 
Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge: https://www.ualberta.ca/wahkohtowin/index.html 
Caring Society website: https://fncaringsociety.com 
Bill C-92 is one potential avenue for reforming child and family services available to First Nations. For more information on Bill C-92, check out the special report series on the topic by Yellowhead Institute: https://yellowheadinstitute.org/bill-c-92-analysis/. 
Produced by Kayla Cresencia, Faith Dehghan, Joseph Gubbels, Kiana Lovelace and Aysa Salmasi.

Wednesday Oct 05, 2022

uOttawa students hear from Dr. Naiomi Metallic, Mi'gmaw professor of law at Dalhousie University, as she discusses the social, legal, and political matters of child and family and social services in First Nations communities on reserve, and the role of the law in reconciliation. 
Dr. Metallic comes from the Listuguj Mi’gmaw First Nation on the Gaspé Coast of Quebec, and currently holds the Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.
 
 
Notes: 
2:55: The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society is more commonly referred to as “The Caring Society”
 
3:27: Building on the interest of First Nations child and family services leaders to create a national networking organization, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society) was developed at the Squamish First Nation in 1998 at a national meeting of First Nations child and family service agencies.
 
4:00: The Reconciling History initiative seeks to present a balanced and truthful account of historical figures, places, and monuments. You can visit the website for more information: https://fncaringsociety.com/what-you-can-do/ways-make-difference/reconciling-history 
 
4:48: The Touchstones of Hope reconciliation movement dates back to 2005. Learn more here! https://fncaringsociety.com/what-you-can-do/ways-make-difference/touchstones-hope
 
6:00: The Tribunal has issued twenty-four additional orders since the January 2016 ruling, many of them non-compliance orders against Canada.
6:36: 1.89 million services, products, and supports for First Nations children have been approved via Jordan's Principle since 2016.
 
7:00: Jordan’s Principle makes sure First Nations children get the supports they need, when they need them. Supports are provided on the basis of substantive equality, best interests of the child, culturally relevant service provision, and account for distinct community circumstances.
 
10:00: The CHRT ordered Canada to compensate some children and families who experienced denials, delays or disruptions as a result of the government's narrow implementation of Jordan’s Principle.
 
10:35: As discussed by Dr. Palmater in our last podcast episode, the agreement in principle is non-binding, and a final settlement agreement has yet to be reached. Visit https://fnwitness.ca to learn more. 
 
11:31: Jordan’s Principle does not “evolve”, rather the Tribunal’s orders have served to push Canada toward full implementation in the spirit of Jordan River Anderson’s memory. 
 
21:00: Fiduciary duties refer to a relationship in which one party holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust & benefit with another party.
 
24:00: Canada’s judicial review of the federal court decision is for the compensation aspect only; the Jordan’s Principle eligibility part of the ruling is not being appealed.
 
25:00: Negotiations on a Final Agreement continue and will continue for at least the rest of the year.
 
33:55: The Agreement in Principle (non-binding) commits 20B over 5 years for First Nations child welfare child and family services and the proper implementation of Jordan’s Principle, and 20B for compensation to those harmed by Canada’s discrimination in these areas. 
 
For more information on the Caring Society’s position with regards to the Agreement in Principle and the subsequent proposed Final Settlement Agreement, please read our analysis here: https://fncaringsociety.com/publications/compensation-final-settlement-agreement-information-sheet 
 
48:35: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act came into force in Canada in 2021.
 
50:00: The federal government has a responsibility for services, not jurisdiction in the governance sense. First Nations, Metis, Inuit are self-determining peoples. 
 
51:23: “Indians and land reserved for Indians” are stated as falling under federal jurisdiction (in terms of provision of services) in the Constitution Act. 
 
53:18: visit the Caring Society website https://fncaringsociety.com 
 
Dr. Metallic comes from the Listuguj Mi’gmaw First Nation on the Gaspé Coast of Quebec, and currently holds the Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.
 
Produced by Mtama Chatsala, Brodie Corrigan, Grabriell Heaven, Graciella Martinez and Sofia Saeed Zaman.

Thursday Sep 15, 2022

Students interview Dr. Pamela Palmater about the Agreements in Principle signed on December 31, 2022, to 1) reform the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and ensure proper implementation of Jordan’s Principle and 2) compensate those harmed by Canada’s discrimination. 
Jordan’s Principle ensures that First Nations children can access the supports they need, when they need them. For information about Jordan’s Principle, visit https://jordansprinciple.ca 
This episode was recorded in the winter of 2022. For a summary of developments since, see https://fnwitness.ca 
 
Dr. Pam Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation. Dr. Palmater is a Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University where she is the Chair in Indigenous Governance. Pam has been studying, volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 30 years on a wide range of social, political and legal issues, like poverty, housing, child and family services, treaty rights, education and legislation impacting First Nations. She was one of the spokespeople, organizers and public educators for the Idle No More movement in 2012-13.
To learn more about Professor Palmater and her work, visit her website at https://pampalmater.com
 
Notes: 
@11:30 – Dr. Palmater says the “Federal Court was appealing” -  she meant the federal government was appealing at Federal Court.
 
@12:01 – The Caring Society (not First Nations child and family services directly) that is party to the Agreement in Principle. The Caring Society was created at the request of First Nations agencies in 1998 and its membership today includes many First Nations agencies across the country.
 
Produced by Liam Dodge, Clara Estrella, Emily Lahey, Ziyan Liu and Sol Schafer.

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