Note: This document was prepared to provide an orientation to Phase 1 of the AJI-CWI, as well as the overall AJI-CWI. Excerpts of this document appear on other pages of this web site.
The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry was commissioned in 1988 to examine the relationship between the Aboriginal peoples of Manitoba and the justice system. The report was tabled in 1991 and included an analysis and observations regarding the historical treatment of Aboriginal people by the social service system and, in particular, the child welfare system of the province. The inquiry stated that the Aboriginal peoples of Manitoba were not well-served by the existing system and made several recommendations regarding the child welfare system:
In 1999, the Government of Manitoba announced a commitment to address the AJIs recommendations. Additionally, the government established the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission to advise the government on methods of implementing recommendations of the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (1991).
The Commission prioritized issues of family and child welfare and recommended that:
The Commission makes this recommendation now because we understand that both the Government and Aboriginal representatives are willing to take such action and because of the importance of children and families.
The Framework agreement between the Federal Government and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs highlights child welfare, as does the tripartite agreement between the Manitoba Government, the Federal Government, and the Manitoba Metis Federation. Since the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples has also recognized the importance of the area by making a range of recommendations in its final report in 1995."
Through negotiations with First Nations and Metis representatives, the Province of Manitoba signed three separate three-year agreements (Memoranda of Understanding) with the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) (February 22, 2000) representing the Metis; the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) (April 27, 2000) representing southern First Nations; and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) (July 20, 2000) representing northern First Nations. All four parties subsequently signed the Child and Family Services Protocol. The overall purpose of these agreements was to establish a joint initiative under a common process to expand off-reserve jurisdiction for First Nations, establish a province-wide Metis mandate and restructure the existing child care system through legislative and other changes.