Skip to content

Tla’amin reaches agreement with children and families ministry

Signing a small but important step forward, says hegus
MOVING FORWARD: Tla’amin Nation and BC Ministry of Children and Family Development signed the ʔaǰuθmɛt (ah-jooth-met) Interim Agreement at Tla’amin Governance House on May 23. Members of the Tla’amin čičyɛ (grandmothers) circle also witnessed the agreement signing. Front row: MCFD assistant deputy minister Denise Devenny [left] and Tla'amin executive councillor Losa Luaifoa. Back row [from left]: kʷʊkʷpə (grandpa) John Louie, čičyɛ Brenda Pielle, čičyɛ Gladys Osawamick, MCFD minister Grace Lore, Tla’amin hegus John Hackett, čičyɛ Evie Tom, čičyɛ Sherry Bullock and čičyɛ Elsie Paul

Tla’amin Nation and BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) have been negotiating an agreement since 2022.

MCFD minister Grace Lore met with Tla’amin hegus John Hackett and members of the Tla’amin čičyɛ (grandmothers) circle on May 23 at Tla'amin Nation Governance House, where the ʔaǰuθmɛt (ah-jooth-met) Interim Agreement was signed and put into effect. The name of the agreement means to understand what someone is saying, in Tla'amin’s language.

The agreement commits Tla’amin and MCFD to share information, collaborate and cooperate whenever a Tla’amin child is involved with the ministry’s services, according to a backgrounder on the agreement.

"This agreement is a small but important step forward to regaining our primary role and rightful place of supporting Tla’amin children and families with trusting and culturally safe services," stated Hackett.

Tla'amin signed a self-governing agreement with provincial and federal governments in 2016. Hackett said that Tla’amin has an inherent right to self-government, which includes exercising their laws, responsibilities, customs, language and practices in caring for their children, youth and families.

One unique aspect of the agreement is that the grandmothers circle and a few kʷʊkʷpə (grandfathers) are leading the way in the redesign and reform of Tla'amin Child and Family Services.

"Bill 38 has really set the path for this kind of work," said Lore. "There were a lot of discussions and foundational work that had to be done first in order to begin moving onto actual material papers."

Bill 38 was passed by the Legislative Assembly of BC in 2022 and  recognized Indigenous self-government in child and family services.

“It is such an honour and privilege to be on Tla’amin territory today to sign the ʔaǰuθmɛt agreement," said Lore. "This is about expanding and learning together to better support children and families on Tla’amin territory but also right across the province."

Join the Peak’s email list for the top headlines right in your inbox Monday to Friday.