Treaty 8 First Nations chiefs walked out of a meeting Wednesday with Premier Jason Kenney at Government House in Edmonton.
The meeting was held to discuss children in care and federal Bill C-92.
The ability for First Nations to take charge of their own social services came into effect on Jan. 1 under Bill C-92. The goal of the federal legislation, passed in June, is to improve the health and outcomes of Indigenous children under government care.
Chief Allan Adam with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation said the walk-out was in response to the Alberta government not taking meetings with First Nations seriously.
“It’s just a check-box for Jason Kenney and his government to say, ‘Look, I’ve talked to the First Nations and everything is good,’” Adam said.
“Nothing is good under the rug anymore.”
Adam also recently called out the UCP over its failure to consult and take meaningful action on environmental concerns around the Teck Frontier mine project.
In a public letter sent to the federal government and other chiefs, Adam said the Alberta government should be providing a share of tax revenue from major industrial projects with First Nations.
The letter also specifically asked chiefs to “send a strong message to the premier at the upcoming all chiefs meetings on Feb. 12.”
Athabasca Chipewyan is one of 14 First Nations and Metis communities that have signed participation agreements on the Teck mine.
After Wednesday’s walkout, Adam said the Treaty 8 First Nations fully intends to establish its own governance when it comes to children in care.
“We don’t want to put our kids in jeopardy anymore,” he said.
Leaders from Treaty 6 and 7 First Nations stayed in the meeting.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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