Innu protesters barricade windows of Sheshatshiu office
Dozens of Innu protesters have blockaded the Newfoundland and Labrador Child, Youth and Family Services offices in Sheshatshiu.
The protesters have boarded up the windows of the building with wooden signs bearing slogans such as “bring our children back” and “baby snatchers.”
Sheshashui band councillor Jonas Rich said the group is upset that so many children have been removed from their homes. He said children are being fostered as far away as Saskatchewan and Ontario. He also said parents have told him they have had very little communication with officials about why their children have been taken away.
Rich said Innu children should be able to stay in Natuashish or Shetshatshiu: “The children not to be removed from the community because we got the resources there that are needed, we got the support team that would support the kids when they’re in crisis,” said Rich.
Rich estimated about 30 children have been recently removed from homes in Natuashish and Sheshashui.
They also said children have been put into care in other provinces, such as Ontario and Saskatchewan, where — they said —the children are losing their language and their culture.
The protesters said they want the children to be cared for in the community and the windows of the office will continue to be boarded up until they get some answers.
Government officials have said they are willing to work with the Innu people, and that government’s priority is to reunite children with their parents, but that it isn’t always possible.