Esk̓etemc Stsmémelt ell K̓wesélkten Program
Doreen M. Johnson, Stsmémelt Planner
Located in the Esk̓etemc Lands & Resources Office
or 250-440-5611, ext. 212
Esk̓etemc Council wants to replace BC's Child Welfare Act and make one especially for Esk̓etemc. We will work together with Secwepemc Nation to have our rights and authority for child welfare services recognized.
[This Page is Currently Under Construction]
Secwepemc law of Stsmémelt ell K̓wesélkten
What is the Secwepemc Law?
- Responsibility to look after our children.
- Obligation to teach our children necessary life skills in a way that includes: spiritual, mental, physical and emotional.
- Our children have the right to belong in our community.
- Our children have the right to know and practice their language, culture and ceremonies.
- Our children have the right to feel safe in our communities.
The Stsmémelt Planner needs to know:
- How emergency issues for children will be dealt with.
- Where is the funding going to come from?
- Who is going to sit on the Family/Community Circles to deal with child welfare problems?
- Who are our Care Providers going to be?
- Who has the education to carry out this work?
In Canada, only 7.7% of children are Indigenous yet they make up over half of those in foster care. There are more Indigenous children in Canada's child-welfare system today than there were at the height of residential schools.
The passing of federal legislation Bill C-92 recognizes our inherent right to assert jurisdiction over a nation-based, family-focused, and community driven approach to child and family services.
The work of Stsmémelt began in 2009, when the 17 Chiefs of the Secwepemc Nation committed to a community-driven, nation-based approach to achieve full jurisdiction over Secwepemc children and families in the traditional territory. In order to actualize this, these goals need to be supported by Secwepemc laws and principles about children and families, as well as lessons learned from the elders, the language and past legislation and policy.
Leadership within the Secwepemc Nation have shared a vision for many years as it relates to self-determination and child welfare. The vision is to implement a family focused, community driven, nation-based approach to child and family services.
Stsmémelt (Children) is a movement that is based on:
- Secwepemc traditional governance
- Legal traditional values
- Secwepemc stories
- Healing and family preservation
A decolonized and culturally aware model will be revitalized and will account for intergenerational impacts and trauma inflicted on the Secwepemc peoples and how that may influence parenting struggles. Communities will develop policies and procedures to suit individual community's needs and gain fiscal arrangements that are sustainable, needs-based, and consistent. The end goal is to assert full jurisdiction over child and family services, facilitate healing and provide community support for all Secwepemc children and families.
The purpose of this Strategic Action Plan is to guide the work of the Nation, including the Stsmémelt Technical Working Group from the adoption stage of the Secwepemc Law of Stsmémelt and K̓wesélkten to the implementation stage, including calculating the timeline required to achieve the vision and goals which we believe will help facilitate healing within and throughout the entire Nation.
The planning effort undertaken to create this plan was facilitated by Four Directions Management Services and included participation of the Stsmémelt Technical Working Group, leadership, and key advisors. Feedback and information to develop the plan was gathered over a series of 5 sessions held virtually from January - March 2021, online surveys, and use of background materials.
Our children are the future of our Nation. It's time to bring them home.
Community Advisory Working Group
Eight (8) registered community members will advise in regards to Healing, Capacity Development and Community Engagement.
ESKP Coordination Agreement (The Agreement)
Sets out a Governance process that recognizes the S.35 Aboriginal Rights of the Canadian Constitution:
- Constitution to solidify our Laws and ratified by our Members.
- The Agreements honours and strives to achieve the goal of Substantive Equality for Esk̓etemc Stsmémelt consistent with Jordan's Principle.
- Financial Commitment by Government of Canada, funding will be negotiated.
- The Agreement will apply to Esk̓etemc children wherever they may live.
- Provides for Prevention, Emergency and Special Needs Services.
- Provides for Information Sharing Protocols.
- Provides for funding: to establish infrastructure.
Next Steps after Esk̓etemc Constitution:
- Board of Directors must have specific skills that the community must decide. Includes one group of Kye7es.
Board of Directors hire a Chief Operating Officer (COO):
- That will be an Advisor to a Tribunal who hears appeals from Community Circles. Another group of Kye7es will sit on this Tribunal.
Community Circles/Circles of Care:
- Kye7es who are on on the Board of Directors or Tribunal will sit on this.
- We need to know what happens if there is a conflict of interest.
*This information is negotiable and will be decided by the Esk̓etemc.