In the late 1980s, the elders and leaders of the newly formed Carrier Sekani Tribal Council were worried about their communities. They saw young people committing suicide. They heard elders talk about the lack of health care. They watched small children being taken from their homes. They witnessed whole families break down.
From the start, these elected chiefs had promised they would take care of their people. They would ensure their social well-being. These leaders knew it was time to begin on a new path – one that would lead their member nations to a better place and a solid future.
The tribal council took their first step on this path by finding eight people to work with Carrier families. Of course, eight people weren’t nearly enough for a nation of 10,000 but the step was in the right direction. Not long after, the elders and chiefs added more nurses and social workers to the ranks – and by 1990, they started a non-profit society that eventually grew into Carrier Sekani Family Services.
Since then, we at Carrier Sekani Family Services have worked towards the day when we can take responsibility for all the health and social services BC currently provides for Carrier and Sekani people. We look forward to creating our very own health and social services programs, built on Carrier wisdom and culture. It is a slow process sometimes, but we see results every year!
- In the mid-1990s, we worked with the Ministry of Child & Family Development (MCFD) to gain more control over the aboriginal children in their care. As a result, we are now a Level C4 group. That means Carrier children don’t have to leave our communities. They can stay in our own caring aboriginal foster homes.
- In the late 2000s, we worked with the Ministry again. This time, it was to prepare for the day when all Carrier and Sekani children will be under our protection, not the Ministry’s. This is a long legal process and we are finally seeing results. We are now planning how to build the best child welfare program possible, with plenty of advice from parents, elders, and youth.
- In 2005, we became one of the first aboriginal organizations to take direct responsibility for research on our people. We make sure that all of the research done in our First Nations communities actually meets their needs.
Today, Carrier Sekani Family Services has more than 150 staff members. We all work together to provide the best possible health programs and social services to First Nations people in Carrier territory. All of our programs have strong Carrier values built in.
The eleven nations we serve are Burns Lake Band, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Lake Babine Nation, Nadleh Whut'en, Nee Tahi Buhn Band, Saik'uz First Nation, Skin Tyee Band, Stellat'en First Nation, Takla Lake First Nation, Wet'suwet'en First Nation, and Yekooche First Nation. Ten out of the eleven have signed a health transfer agreement with us; and so we provide health services to ten nations.
At this time, we have five departments that offer several programs and services. Click here.
- Registered nurses and Residential Care Aides that serve 10 of our Carrier Sekani member nations
- A diabetes clinic that travels to northern and remote First Nations communities
- Programs to help children overcome physical delays and learning delays
- Support for patients and their families while in the hospital
- An integrated mental health and addictions program with a fully accredited healing camp in the summer
- Telehealth and primary health services
Child & Family Services
- Family homes that open their doors to Carrier children in crisis
- Social workers that protect First Nations children in foster care
- Support for families dealing with problems in the home
- Child welfare plans that include the needs of First Nations parents
- The Walk Tall Youth Program
- Family Support Services that connect children and youth with their families and communities
- Bridging and Life Skills Programs that help First Nations people learn new skills
- Family Empowerement that facilitates family visits for children in foster care
- A soup bus that feeds more than 500 people every day
- Cultural programs and healthy activities for girls and boys
- Studies on health and social issues in our member First Nations
- A new plan for child welfare services based on wisdom from elders and families
- Researchers that collect and preserve Carrier knowledge
- A Family Justice Program