On May 10, we recognize Bear Witness Day to raise awareness for Jordan’s Principle — a child-first principle and legal rule named in memory of Jordan River Anderson that ensures First Nations children receive the same standard of social, health and educational services as the rest of the Canadian population.
This year, we were encouraged to see the 2022 federal budget include a section dedicated to Jordan’s Principle and propose $4 billion over six years to ensure First Nations children continue to receive the support they need. This is a significant improvement over the 2021 budget, where there was only a passing mention of Jordan’s Principle and vague commitments to First Nations children.
But promises are easily made and just as easily broken.
We will continue to keep a close eye on this important issue and expect the government to follow through on their commitment. We are all responsible for protecting and defending the rights of Indigenous peoples, especially children.
Show your support and “Bear Witness”
PSAC is proud to be one of the first unions in Canada to recognize this day annually. We encourage all PSAC members to take part in actions in support of reconciliation and equity.
One way to do that is to support the ongoing work of the First Nations Child & Family
Caring Society by sending a letter to your MP calling on them to endorse the Spirit Bear Plan to end the injustices experienced by First Nations children and families living on reserve and in the territories.
PSAC also encourages everyone to learn more about Jordan’s Principle by watching the documentary Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger by acclaimed Indigenous director Alanis Obomsawin. The film tells the story of how the life of Jordan River Anderson initiated a battle for the right of First Nations and Inuit children to receive the services they need, when they need them.
Visit the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society’s website for other ideas on how to support and honour Bear Witness Day through education, awareness, and action.
This article was first posted on the PSAC website.