Visit to Cowessess First Nation leads to photobomb for Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan this afternoon, which was part of a historic signing ceremony as part of a transfer of control over children in care to the community.
The First Nation is one of several Indigenous groups that have notified Indigenous Services Canada that they intend to handle their own child and family services as allowed under federal legislation.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 Saskatchewan First Nations, announced last year that it wanted $360 million from Ottawa over five years to apply the legislation on reserves.
Cowessess is also the site of a former residential school where, last month, ground-penetrating radar detected a potential 751 unmarked graves.
Once there, Trudeau announce the agreement alongside Chief Cadmus Delorme and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
"Never again should kids be taken from their homes, families and communities," Trudeau said at the ceremony to commemorate the agreement.
"Kids need to be kept by, protected by, supported by, and taught by their communities."
Some 150 children from the community are now in foster care, which some indigenous critics see as a modern day version of the country's residential school system.
"It's their time to receive the opportunity to come home and heal with their own families," said representative Mia Buckles.
Trudeau said agreements to transfer power to First Nations in areas such as education, health care and business are also possible.
"The pace at which we move will be dictated by the desire and the leadership of the communities we work with," he said.
The ceremony would not be one of Trudeau's with a photo-op opportunity. Some were not amused and took to Twitter. One member of the band actually managed to photo-bomb the PM himself [see above].