– By Todd Eagle Child
An announcement was made on October 12, 2022, from the Blackfoot Confederacy’s Siksika, Kainai/Blood, and Piikani Nations that a Claim was filed against Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) on August 31, 2022. The Claim identifies the lack of services and supports for adult Blackfoot members living with developmental disabilities.
“There’s a lack of coordination and information available for accessing services, and the services are often not comparable to those provided by the provinces. This leaves First Nations adults with disabilities without the services they require to lead full and fulfilled lives,” said Blood Tribe Councillor Tony Delaney.
The Claim was filed with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and points out that through continuous discrimination from the ISC based on race, national or ethnic origin, and disability. The federal government has failed to fund and support for our First Nations adults with disabilities the necessary services on Reserve that would enable full participation in society.
Delaney continued, “Often times they (First Nations) must choose between living on Reserve with their family, culture, and community or relocating off-Reserve in order to access the services that are essential for their health and well-being, this leads to social and cultural isolation.”
Through this Claim, much needed funding will be needed to help establish improved programs that are culturally appropriate. The improved supports and services would meet the needs of our members with disabilities as they transition from childhood to adulthood.
“It’s another form of colonialism, it’s another form of discrimination, we need to end this way of thinking this way of viewing the world. We are essentially losing our children, who become adults and they have to leave for services off the Reserve.” said Piikani Councillor Theodore Terry Provost.
Siksika Chief Ouray Crowfoot said, “Our role as Chief and Councillors is to be the voice for our people, that’s what we’re doing today, we’re being the voice for the ones that have developmental disabilities and we’re not seeking anything that every other Albertan doesn’t already receive…that is fair and equitable treatment. We’re Albertans just like everybody else are Albertans, our members shouldn’t have to leave the reserve to receive the same treatment you would in Calgary.”
Tony Delaney speaks on behalf of Blood Tribe Chief and Council on the Claim in Calgary, AB, October 12, 2022.
(L to R) Piikani Councillor Theodore Terry Provost, Blood Tribe Councillor Tony Delaney, and Siksika Chief Ouray Crowfoot speak on behalf of their Tribes in Calgary, AB, October 12, 2022.
Blackfoot Confederacy members from Siksika – Chief Ouray Crowfoot and Council representatives, Kainai/Blood Tribe – Councillors Tony Delaney, Marcel Weasel Head, Floyd Big Head and Winston Day Chief, representatives Arnold Fox, Cameron Big Throat, Brandon Fox, Rita Calf, Denise Shade, Shane Sweet Grass, Nina Smith, Marilyn Standing Alone, Ritzie Creighton and Vivian White Quills, Piikani – Councillor Theodore Terry Provost, Elder Leonard (Bastien) Weasel Traveller and representatives at the Siksika Administration Building in Calgary, AB on October 12, 2022.
(All Photos: Todd Eagle Child)