The following is an overview of the historic development of the Awasis Agency and the progress towards decentralizing CFS delivery to the community level:

Chiefs of Northern Manitoba, under the auspices of MKO Inc., recognized that the provincial child & family services mandate would be a useful tool to facilitate the Band’s authority and capacity to control First Nations programs and services and enhance First Nations Government.

February 22, 1983
Tripartite Agreement between Canada, Manitoba, MKO Inc, the Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba was incorporated as a First Nation Child Caring Agency in accordance to the provisions of the Child & Family Services Act of Manitoba.

Stemming from the recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (AJI) Report (1991) the restructuring of the child welfare system in Manitoba commenced through the implementation of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry – Child Welfare Initiative (AJI-CWI). The AJI-CWI was a joint initiative amongst the MKO, Manitoba Métis Federation, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Province of Manitoba.

In preparation for the “Decentralization” process, on July 15, 1998 a Band Council Resolution (No. 276-38-98) was signed by the Chief and Council authorizing the local Awasis Agency to establish a separate bank account as per the terms and conditions of the BCR.

In March of 2000, Cross Lake Chief and Council announced their intentions of pursuing a separate mandate to operate CFS within their community within one year. By October 11, 2000, A BCR (No. 276-122-00) was signed by the Chief and Council supporting Pimicikamak Cree Nation’s intention of pursuing their own Child and Family Services mandate locally.

On December 28, 2000, Tim Sale, then Minister of Family Services and Housing, suggested that “given the current Departments investment in the provincial initiative to extend the jurisdiction of existing First Nations agencies, I have proposed that devolution plans for smaller regional agencies, such as Cross Lake, be deferred until a later date..."

Through the efforts of the AJI-CWI, on November 24, 2003 the new Child and Family Authorities Act was proclaimed by the Province of Manitoba.

The parties continued to work together and by 2005 developed a new system that recognizes and respects cultural diversity in Manitoba and returns to First Nations and Métis peoples the right to develop and control the delivery of their own child and family services. The most fundamental change is the delegation of responsibility for the delivery of child and family services from the province to four new Child and Family Service Authorities, three of which are Aboriginal Authorities, including the Northern Authority.

Over the past decade the Cross Lake Awasis Unit has been preparing its decentralization strategy in collaboration with the Awasis Agency and the Northern Authority. We understand that it is the “AUTHORITIES” intention to provide Cross Lake with as much support as required to meet the goal of securing a separate mandate.