AMC Calls on Province to End the Traumatic Practice of Newborn Apprehension

Press Release

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issued this statement in response to an apprehension of a newborn at a Winnipeg hospital on April 17, 2023. As a result of public outcry and support, the baby girl has since been reunited with her parents and family.

“Despite accommodating the agency’s requests, agencies are not closing their files appropriately, which led to an interruption of the sacred bond between mother and child,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick “The first moment between mother and child is an incredibly special and precious moment. It is heartbreaking this memory has been forever altered by this unwarranted and traumatic experience “

While Manitoba announced the end of birth alerts in July 2020, the First Nations Family Advocate Office (FNFAO) continues to witness alarming rates of birth alerts and newborn apprehensions, meaning First Nations children and youth are still being targeted by these colonial systems from birth.

AMC is willing to engage in policy and service collaboration but believes that real change cannot occur within a colonial framework. “How much more trauma must First Nations endure before the government realizes the mistreatment of First Nations people, especially women and girls, is a systemic issue that cannot be fixed with the same framework that created the problem in the first place?” Said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “This should never have happened, and agencies should not feel this comfortable taking babies from their mother’s arms; it should be the last resort, not the first move.”

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For more information, please contact:
Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Email: [email protected]

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba, with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people. The current elected Grand Chief of AMC is Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of Pimicikamak Cree Nation.

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