Tla’amin (ɬaʔamɩn) Nation and BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) have signed a letter of understanding (LOU) titled: ʔaǰuθmɛt – To Understand What Someone is Saying.
According to a media release from Tla’amin, ʔaǰuθmɛt (pronounced “ah-jooth-met”) is an ʔayaǰuθəm (pronounced “ay-ah-joo-thum”) word which translates to the rest of the title: to understand what someone is saying. ʔayaǰuθəm is the language that belongs to multiple First Nations communities, including ɬaʔamɩn, that are on the northern border of Coast Salish territories.
“As a modern treaty nation, ɬaʔamɩn Nation understands the significance of achieving full governance jurisdiction for our čičuy and ǰɛʔaǰɛ (children and families), stated hegus John Hackett. “This LOU represents a positive step in our reconciliation journey, but there is still much work to do. Our nation is committed to working in partnership with the province on future agreement development to ensure ɬaʔamɩn čičuy and ǰɛʔaǰɛ flourish for generations to come. ƛoƛɬayɩmštəm (we will raise the children).”
The release stated that the LOU is one of many steps ɬaʔamɩn is taking in its journey toward exercising full jurisdiction over child and family services.
“Through this letter of understanding, we are committed to the vision of child and family services that ɬaʔamɩn Nation has for their children, youth and families,” stated Mitzi Dean, minister of children and family development. “You are on an historic path to exercise your inherent rights over child and family services for your members. We stand with your nation in recognizing the ɬaʔamɩn best interests of children and youth, and believe that together we can achieve a relationship where ʔaǰuθmɛt (to understand what someone is saying) is at the core of all our interactions.”
This agreement sets a foundation for ɬaʔamɩn and the province to develop a stronger and more collaborative relationship in the provision of child and family services based on mutual respect and recognition of rights, and sets the stage for the parties to negotiate future agreements that will meet the needs of ɬaʔamɩn children and families and support a smooth transition in jurisdiction over child and family services, according to the release.