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Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Canada: Stand up for the rights of First Nations children

    Monday, February 6, 2017 - 14:09



    Every child has the right to grow up in a safe and healthy home. 

    Sometimes families need a little help to make sure their children are getting the care they need. Our government has set up agencies to provide that help. 

    But the agencies can’t do their jobs if the government doesn’t provide enough money.

    For many years, the agencies supporting families in First Nations communities have had to work with much less money than organizations supporting families in other communities. At the same time, the needs of First Nations families are often greater because of the hardships caused by a long history of government policies that have hurt their communities.

    One terrible result is that support agencies are taking very large numbers of First Nations children away from their families. This is because the agencies don`t have enough money to provide families the support they need. One study found that in some provinces, more than 1 in 10 First Nations children had been taken away from their families.

    The situation is so bad that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in January 2016 that the government’s failure to meet the needs of First Nations children is a form of racial discrimination and that it must be dealt with immediately.

    The Human Rights Tribunal is like a court. Its role is to enforce Canada’s national human rights laws. When the Tribunal calls for immediate action, the government is supposed to act.

    After the Tribunal decision, Canada’s government did increase funds for family services for First Nations children. But the increase wasn’t enough to close the funding gap between First Nations families and other communities in Canada.

    The government must do the right thing and make sure that First Nations children have the chance to grow safe and healthy with their own families, communities and cultures.


    In this photo you see youth speaking up for the rights of First Nations children on Parliament Hill in February 2016

    Photo credit: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society




    Please write to Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

    •    Start with Dear Minister.

    •    Tell her about one thing in your life that makes you feel happy, or safe, or healthy. Say that you want the same for all First Nations children.

    •    Then write these two sentences:

    Please follow the ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and end discrimination against First Nations children.

    It’s time to set things right for First Nations children and their families.



    The Honourable Carolyn Bennett

    House of Commons

    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6 

    Postage:     None. Just put your envelope in the mailbox.

    Fax:         613-947-4622




    Please send a valentine to Canada’s Prime Minister. On it, write 

    Show your heart for First Nations children.

    Add your name and your town and mail it free (no stamp) to

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

    House of Commons

    Ottawa K1A 0A2

    Your valentine will join valentines sent by other Lifesaver activists, Amnesty International members, and supporters of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. The Society is a group that promotes the rights of First Nations children and they will be glad to have your support. Thank you. 




    If you would like us to send future Lifesavers to your email address or mail box, send an email to

    Lifesavers are free and action is optional.