The new regional chief for Ontario, RoseAnne Archibald, would like to do away with the apprehension of children from their homes.

"You know what would help is if we had programs and services, that would support families. That would be ideal. The ideal thing is not to have a system that even takes children from our families," she says.

Archibald was elected as the new chief last month at Nipissing First Nation near North Bay. She succeeds Isadore Day, and she has previously served as the deputy grand chief for Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

She noted the reunification of families in First Nations "is extremely important," and her comments follow on high-level meetings between the federal government and Indigenous leaders over the winter. The provincial government at Queen's Park, before last month's provincial election, was also taking a long look at child welfare.

"Healing kinds of programs and services, counselling, mental health supports... All of these things, if we could actually focus on these as a bigger part of the solution, then we wouldn't have children being apprehended," Archibald continued.

The new regional chief also cited studies, which showed children of families dealing with inter-generational trauma -- including the legacy of residential schools -- were less able to cope.

Archibald attended the swearing-in of the new provincial government at Queen's Park last month, saying she agreed with the new premier's focus on helping communities to be happy, healthy, safe, vibrant places to raise families and find prosperity.

"It's also a goal for our people, as well," she noted.

A key promise of the Tories in Northern Ontario was resource revenue sharing with First Nations, and Archibald sees this as upholding the spirit of the treaties.

 

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