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Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation assert they will protect all their children

Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation assert they will protect all their children

Earlier this week the Missisaugas of New Credit First Nations issued a press release about their experiences with McMaster Children’s Hospital and the treatment one of their children experienced during a critical illness. Here is the statement in it’s entirety.

Makayla’s current health status has been brought back into the spotlight during testimony at the court case of another indigenous girl from Six Nations of the Grand River, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in August.

The same doctors who treated Makayla at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario are now pursuing a court ordered apprehension of the second child, also 11 years old from the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan of Six Nations
of the Grand River.

Justice Edwards, the judge hearing the case in Brantford, initially imposed a publication ban at the request of the Six Nations Band Council, but late last week lifted part of the ban permitting media to publish details of the case while keeping the names of the girl and her parents confidential.

The decision to file a court action against the CAS and the parents of the child came after her mother removed her from chemotherapy to pursue a combination of indigenous medicine and alternative therapies.

The Six Nations child’s family clearly articulated to the CAS and the medical team in charge of the child’s care at McMaster Children’s Hospital, that they had another treatment plan in place; including a timeline, a specific course of action that included known remedies, indigenous medicines and alternative therapies – as well as a contingency plan to return the child to chemotherapy if other methods proved a failure.

The child’s mother also notified the child’s family and the Six Nations community at large of her intentions and her course of action through letters to the editor sent to the Two Row Times.

Doctors at McMaster hospital reported the child’s mother, who has twelve children and is an immersion teacher of the Kanien’kehá language, to the Children’s Aid Society for medical neglect.Lawyers for the Children’s Aid Society read an undated letter written by one of the doctors to the CAS in which she states “…it is with grave concern that I report the medical neglect of [the Kanien’kehá:ka girl from Six Nations].”

The doctor who wrote the letter later admitted during the proceedings that she did not believe the child was being medically neglected but that she wanted to “get the attention” of the CAS hoping they would bring the child back to McMaster Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy.

CAS did a thorough investigation of the Six Nations girl’s family and found no medical neglect or other reason to remove the child from her family, noting during the proceedings that they felt it would be “traumatic” for her to be forcibly removed from the family during such a critical illness.

Doctors for McMaster relayed during their testimony that they were “disappointed” and “did not understand” why the CAS did not remove the child from her family and return her to chemotherapy as they were aware of a recent case in Ottawa where the CAS did just that.

Early in the proceedings, one of the doctors stated that she knew of one other case where a First Nations child opted to leave chemotherapy to pursue indigenous medicine. The doctor then stated, under oath, that this child was now experiencing a relapse.

The court room was filled with people from the conjoined communities of Six Nations/New Credit who were shocked and outraged at the statement, knowing that the doctor was referring to Makayla Sault, whose case drew intense media attention earlier this year.

Makayla Sault and her family are well known across Canada and the United States for their First Nations church ministry and according to public knowledge the child is not presenting as unwell.

The Sault family spoke to the Two Row Times and said, “We have been successful at destroying blast cells in her blood which doctors told us can only be done through chemotherapy.” They also relayed that they are continually treating their daughter and that she is healing.

The Sault family and the Missisaugas of New Credit First Nation released a press statement regarding the case over the weekend stating that The Kanien’kehá:ka girl from Six Nations is pursing a similar course of treatment that the Saults did through the Hippocrates Health Institute and is currently experiencing successful results.

Court continued to hear testimony late last week from Andrew Koster of the CAS, Dr. Dawn Martin-Hill and Dr. Karen Hill later in the week to give accounts to the cultural relativity that comes into play when indigenous patients utilize indigenous medicines.

Court resumes this Wednesday in Brantford. tw4emrhUzuU

Earlier this week the Missisaugas of New Credit First Nations issued a press release about their experiences with McMaster Children’s Hospital and the treatment one of their children experienced during a critical illness. Here is the statement in it’s entirety.

MEDIA RELEASE

Makayla Sault is a member of the Missisaugas of New Credit First Nation.

Makayla is currently recovering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and the effects of an 11 week course of chemotherapy she underwent earlier this year. She is under the care of her family, and is receiving traditional medicines to assist with her recovery. She also receives supportive care from their family physician and other medical professionals.

Earlier this year, Makayla and her family reached the difficult decision to forego further chemotherapy, because of the very serious side effects she suffered. These included septic infections, organ damage (which is likely permanent), severe weight loss, vomiting, mouth sores, curvature of the spine, dangerously high levels of toxicity, and devastating pain, nausea and exhaustion. The side effects she suffered were among the worst medical staff had ever seen. She formed the reasonable belief that she was at greater risk of death from the effects of chemotherapy than from leukemia. She and her family chose to instead pursue a course of traditional healing, consistent with the practices of her people since time immemorial.

Makayla is a very mature child, on the brink of adolescence. She understands her condition, the course of her recovery, the medical advice she has received, and the possible consequences of foregoing chemotherapy. In our view, she is legally capable of making decisions for herself concerning her medical treatment, and of providing either informed consent or refusal to such treatment.

Rather than accept Makayla‘s decision, McMaster’s medical staff falsely informed Makayla that she had no ability to make decisions about her own care until she reached the age of 16. They threatened Makayla‘s parents with jail, and the forced removal of not only Makayla, but their other children. Finally, with a view to executing their threats, medical staff contacted Brant Child and Family Services.

Brant Child and Family Services fulfilled its obligations under the Child and Family Services Act, and conducted an investigation. The agency concluded that Saults were a loving, capable, responsible and diligent family, and that Makayla and her parents were not only legally entitled to make decisions regarding her care, but had made a difficult but reasonable decision concerning that care.

At a meeting with the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation and Sault family on May 20, 2014, representatives of Brant Child and Family Services advised us that they were closing their file. They expressed regret at the trauma and further stress caused by their investigation, and the inappropriate .involvement of child welfare authorities.

McMaster Children’s Hospital representatives were invited to this meeting, but failed to attend.

While Brant Child and Family Services reached the correct conclusion with respect to Makayla, their involvement and the resulting anxiety and disruption to Makayla and her family confirms our historic and modern experience that the operation of the Child and Family Services Act with respect to our children within our territory comes at an unacceptably high price.

The Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation have always cared for our children, within our extended families and as a community, despite the disastrous interventions from outsiders and their tragic results. Residential ;schools, the Sixties Scoop, and more recent interference with our families and children, purportedly in their “best interests”, have caused and continue to cause immeasurable harm.

We have never surrendered our inherent right to care for our children, within our families, community and culture. Nor has it been extinguished. Accordingly, we assert our exclusive jurisdiction over the welfare of our children, including Makayla.

The Child and Family Services Act is not binding within our community. The presence and involvement of staff from any outside child welfare agency will be at the discretion and with the express written permission of the Chief and Council of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation.

Any further attempts by any institution to interfere with our children in a manner that, in our view, is contrary to their best interests, and unethical, not be tolerated.

The leaders of many other First Nations communities across Canada are following this case closely and have told us that they are willing to stand behind us to protect our children, including Makayla.

The actions of McMaster Children’s Hospital have caused tremendous harm to Makayla, her family and our community. We will take steps to protect them from any further harm, should they be at risk. The Sault family has asked us to speak on their behalf. Please direct any and all media inquiries to Chief

Bryan LaForme, Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, at (905) 768-1133.

Press Release NCFN – Makayla Sault

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