First Nations Child & Family Caring Society is calling on people in Canada ito help raise awareness of Bear Witness Day on May 10th.

spirit bear

This upcoming Tuesday, May 10, 2022, First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (The Caring Society) will recognize Bear Witness Day. The goal of Bear Witness Day is aimed at raising awareness of Jordan’s Principle.

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle and legal rule that ensures First Nations children receive the services and support they need when they need them. This includes access to health care and education, among other things.

Jordan’s Principle

Jordan’s Principle is named in loving memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from
Norway House Cree Nation in Manitob.

Jordan was born with complex medical needs and passed away in the hospital at age five while the provincial and federal governments argued over who should pay for his at-home care. This was care that would have been paid for immediately had Jordan not been First Nations.

Following a nine-year case, the federal government was ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to fully implement Jordan’s Principle by May 10, 2016. Even though it has taken several more years and further non-compliance orders to gain significant progress, May 10th was chosen for Bear Witness Day. As a result, this is an important date in the history of Jordan’s Principle.

“Each year on May 10th we share Jordan’s story and encourage people in Canada to show their support and ‘bear witness’ to ensure Jordan’s Principle is fully implemented,” says Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director at the Caring Society.

“Bear Witness Day provides us with an opportunity to educate Canadians on the inequities experienced by First Nations children, and it helps us ensure that moving forward, these children have timely access to the public services they need. However, there is much work to be done by Canada to end ongoing inequities in services for First Nations children, youth, and families. There are solutions, and so public awareness and pressure are needed to ensure the federal government ends this discrimination.”

Spirit Bear

May 10th also marks the bearthday of Spirit Bear.

Spirit Bear is a teddy bear, and reconciliation bearrister that represents the 165,000 First Nations children and their families impacted by the human rights case that made Jordan’s Principle a legal rule. It also represents the thousands of other children who stood with them for fairness.

The Caring Society

The Caring Society invites people in Canada to participate in Bear Witness Day 2022. Canadians are encouraged tolearn  about Jordan’s Principle, and share information with family and friends to spread the word. Candians are also encouraged to post a photo with their own teddy bear on social with the hashtag #JordansPrinciple and #BearWitnessDay.

To learn more about Jordan’s Principle and Bear Witness Day, visit The Caring Society.

Published by HOLR Magazine.