‘We need to stop pointing fingers and blaming people’

Yukon's First Nation citizens need to stop blaming government for taking away their children and begin to confront the toxic stew of social dysfunction that leads to government intervention, says Lorraine Stick.

Yukon’s First Nation citizens need to stop blaming government for taking away their children and begin to confront the toxic stew of social dysfunction that leads to government intervention, says Lorraine Stick.

“We need to stop pointing fingers and blaming people,” said the deputy chief of the Champagne/Aishihik First Nation, during what promised to be a particularly tedious part of the general assembly of the Council of Yukon First Nations on Tuesday, during departmental reports.

She acknowledged it wasn’t the proper time to make such comments, but she said she couldn’t help herself. She was angry.

“Our children are exposed to a lot of sexual and physical abuse, along with exposure to alcohol, drugs and pornography,” she said.

“When our children come into care, they’re traumatized to a point that some of them become unmanageable.

“We’re not going to get anywhere if we say these kinds of things and knock heads with people who are trying to help us.”

Her comments stand in stark contrast to the public remarks of other Yukon First Nation leaders on the subject.

During Grand Chief Andy Carvill’s opening remarks, he noted, “We still have our children being taken away from us.”

This, in turn, was an echo of indignant remarks made by Independent MLA John Edzerza in the legislature in April. He complained that the territory was sending traumatized aboriginal children Outside, to an institution in Saskatchewan.

These children are in government custody. The territory doesn’t have qualified social workers to deal with their profound trauma and social problems.

During Edzerza’s noisy campaign against this practice, he never addressed why these children had been taken away from their parents to begin with.

“I think this is not right,” said Stick.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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