Earlier, we reported the ministry of children and family development had discarded targets for establishing aboriginal and non-aboriginal authorities in its latest service plan - released on February 20. At the time, the minister responsible Tom Christensen explained those targets had been discarded because government "will not force the process by putting a time frame in place." So some our astute readers may be surprised to learn just such a time frame exists for at least one of those new aboriginal authorities.
On February 8, according to records obtained by Public Eye under freedom of information legislation, ministry stakeholders received an "update on aboriginal authorities" as part of a meeting at the Best Western Richmond Hotel and Convention Centre - which Christensen was scheduled to attend. And, during that update, the Vancouver Island Aboriginal Transformation Team notified stakeholders their authority would begin service by 2008 - having been "recognized in provincial legislation."
The team's timeline, also shows that - sometime between 2008 and 2020 - aboriginal communities will have the "required capacity to support children" - who will be "cared for through community laws, traditions and customs," resulting in "significantly improved outcomes for vulnerable children and families." The following is a complete copy of the text of that timeline, which doesn't indicate whether the team will be taking a phased approach to establishing the Vancouver Island Aboriginal Authority.
Vancouver Island Aboriginal Transformation Team
Timelines and Milestones
Prior to European colonization, the traditional practices of Aboriginal Nations supported healthy and vibrant communities, with strong systems for caring for children and families. Over time, with massive settlement and colonization, that capacity was eroded and fragmented.
In response, Aboriginal people have always insisted on their unceded rights to care for their children, and have taken steps to regain their traditional jurisdiction. The creation of Aboriginal Authorities represents a significant opportunity to advance that goal.
Tswwassen Accord affirms Authorities as consistent with self-determination
Unity developed on goal of reclaiming responsibility through Aboriginal Authorities
(Editor: the following milestones are listed between 2002 and 2008 on the timeline)
Aboriginal communities plan to reclaim Authority for their children
Goals set for transition of services from MCFD
Unity of issues of children initiates historiic changes in Aboriginal Community relations with Crown
Aboriginal Authority begins service
Aboriginal Authority recognized in provincial legislation
Aboriginal community begins to transform services
Responsibility for children in its rightful place: Aboriginal communities
(Editor: the following milestones are listed between 2008 and 2020 on the timeline)
Aboriginal Children and families cared for through community laws, traditions and customs.
Significantly improved outcomes for vulnerable children and families
Aboriginal communities have required capacity to support children
As Aboriginal people, fully exercising our inherent title and rights through self-determination, we have strong and healthy children, youth and families.