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October 30, 2018
From: Island Métis Family & Community Services Society and South Island Wellness Society
Protocol Agreement Signed between Island Métis Family & Community Services Society and South Island Wellness Society.
Agreement seen as a positive step forward and formalizes efforts to work together for better outcomes for children.
September 19, 2018 – Esquimalt, BC
Working collaboratively to renew historic relationships based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership is key to achieving Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada.
On September 19, 2018, Chiefs and delegates representing the Nine South Island First Nations (Beecher Bay First Nation, Esquimalt Nation, Pacheedaht First Nation, Pauquachin First Nation, Songhees First Nation, Tsartlip First Nation, Tsawout First Nation, Tseycum First Nation and T’Sou-ke First Nation) and Island Métis Family & Community Services Society (“IMFCSS”) took the next step in solidifying a collaborative working relationship between them by signing a Protocol Agreement during a bi-cultural ceremony at the Esquimalt Nation Longhouse. This Protocol Agreement, co-developed by the Executive Directors, Lila Underwood, of South Island Wellness Society, and Colleen Spier, of Island Métis Family & Community Services Society, represents a joint commitment to work for the betterment of the children and families within their respective communities, that are either in care of the provincial government or at risk of being taken into government care.
This Protocol Agreement was two years in the making, and started with a historic event on September 19, 2016, held at the Esquimalt Longhouse. The event was hosted for the purposes of Island Métis offering a formal apology to the Chiefs of the Nine South Island First Nations for not formally seeking approval to conduct its work on their traditional territories. In addition to the apology, approval was sought by IMFCSS to work collaboratively with the Nine Nations on their traditional territories, in carrying out service delivery for the Métis children and families they service. The apology was accepted and the pathway was laid for future collaboration through the development of the historic Protocol Agreement, which was signed last month, on September 19, 2018.
- South Island Wellness Society uses Traditional Decision Making processes to facilitate community-based collaborative planning for Aboriginal families that require support to address concerns about the care of their children and serves the Nine Nations on Southern Vancouver Island and the urban Aboriginal population.
- Island Métis Family & Community Services Society provides support services to Métis children and families in the Southern Vancouver Island Region, through its mission which is to “research, develop, implement and evaluate human service programs for the Métis people of Vancouver Island and to provide integrated and holistic service delivery that culturally and spiritually strengthens Métis children and families”
Photo Credit – Joeseph Whonnock
(left to right – Chief Russell Chipps of Beecher Bay First Nation, Lila Underwood, Executive Director of South Island Wellness Society, Colleen Spier, Executive Director of Island Métis Family & Community Services Society, Bill Bresser, President of the Board of Directors of Island Métis Family & Community Services Society.)