The BCAFN advocates for reform and transformation of the justice sector; working to reduce injustice against First Nations people and communities and revitalize First Nations legal orders.
BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee is the Co-Chair of the AFN Policing Task Force and AFN Chiefs Committee on Justice. Chief Jerry Jack and Chief Dean Nelson are BC regional representatives on the Policing Task Force and Chief Lydia Hwitsum is the BC regional representative on the Chiefs Committee on Justice.
This portfolio area oversees key areas related to the justice system, including corrections, policing, and Indigenous Rights and Human Rights abuses. The BC First Nations Justice Strategy, the MMIWG2S+ Calls for Justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and numerous other reports inform the foundations of this work.
BC First Nations Justice Strategy
The BC First Nations Justice Strategy, signed March 6, 2020, brings First Nations and British Columbia into partnership to address discrimination in the justice system against First Nations in BC, and support First Nations own justice systems. The Strategy was jointly developed by the BC First Nations Justice Council, BC First Nations, and the Province of British Columbia. Fully enacted, the Strategy will:
- Reduce the number of First Nations people who become involved with the criminal justice system;
- Improve the experience of those who do;
- Increase the number of First Nations people working within the justice system;
- Support First Nations to restore their justice systems and structures.
The Strategy includes 42 actions along two paths:
1) Reform of the current justice system; and,
2) Restoration of First Nation legal traditions and structures.
Policing and Public Safety
Policing and public safety reform is a priority area for the BCAFN. In 2023 the province initiated work to respond to the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act report and Declaration Act Action Plan actions related to policing and public safety. The BCAFN is working with FNLC partner organizations and the First Nations Justice Council to advance policing and public safety modernization efforts with BC in alignment with the UN Declaration and the processes outlined in the Interim Approach.
Resolution 26/2023 Provincial Policing and Public Safety Modernization (link coming soon)
At the national level, the BCAFN and AFN continue to engage with the federal government to co-develop legislation that will establish First Nations policing as an essential service. In 2022 the BCAFN and First Nations Justice Council held a Forum with First Nations in BC to gather input into how First Nations envision policing and community safety in their communities. These discussions were summarized in a What We Heard Report and contributed to a Strategy Paper that informs BCAFN’s advocacy regarding this legislation.
The creation of a National Indigenous Justice Strategy is also underway. The First Nations Justice Council is partnering with the FNLC to gather regional input into the national strategy.
Learn more about our work relating to First Nations justice and justice reform in 2023:
For work related to MMIWG2S+, please visit our Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ page
Indigenous organizations and legal aid clinic rebuke Canada for mass incarceration of Indigenous people, call for redirection of funding to Indigenous governments and organizations as part of Canada’s human rights review by the United Nations