Jurisdiction – Whes’ke’ghe

The McLeod Lake Indian Jurisdiction Team is honoured to work on your behalf to advance jurisdiction and Child and Family Welfare for members of the Tse’Khene Nation.

About Us

  • At the onset of this important work, including approval of funding, this department was named Jurisdiction as proposed by the BC government and in early negotiations.
  • Since then, the department has received several questions about what Jurisdiction is and what it means.
  • The Jurisdiction Team came to MLIB membership to find a suitable name for the department. We promoted it at consultation sessions and did a big promotion at the AGA, where we received several great submissions.
  • Mussi to everyone for your input! Some brought forward the English name and some included the Tse’Khene name.

  • The power and authority to create laws and decisions regarding Child and Family Welfare have shifted to First Nations.
  • We can make our own laws and create agreements with BC and Canada acknowledging our inherent rights to look after and protect First Nations children and family services for members on and off-reserve.
  • First Nations have the right to ensure our traditional practices and values are exercised and passed on to children.
  • First Nations have the right to ensure our children stay connected to their families and community.

What are “Child and Family Services?”

All services supporting McLeod Lake children and families, including:

  • Early intervention services
  • Prevention and reunification services
  • Community / Family supports
  • Cultural supports
  • Child protection services
  • Post majority services for young adults and youth aging out of care

  • McLeod Lake is creating an MLIB Child and Family Services Framework.
  • The Nation is hosting member engagement sessions to increase awareness and provide the opportunity for members to share input on the development of MLIB’s law.
  • MLIB’s Jurisdiction Team is researching existing Indigenous Nations child welfare laws for common themes and ideas.
  • MLIB’s Jurisdiction Team is working with the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and other service providers to build effective services.

Our Health Team

Membership Engagement

  • This past year, the Jurisdiction Team has done a lot of consultation with MLIB membership.
  • We hosted meetings in McLeod Lake, Prince George, Kamloops, and Vancouver.
  • The team is also open to coming to other areas where MLIB members live.
  • Stay tuned for potential visits to your area! We may book meeting space or bring a meal to your home.
  • If you would like your area to be visited by the Jurisdiction Team, please contact Ken Solonas or Chris Branigan and we will put it on the list of areas to consider.
  • The Jurisdiction Team has also delivered hybrid meetings (in-person and online via Zoom).

  • In the first round of consultation with members, we learned quite a bit from the McLeod Lake people.
  • We heard that MLIB members would like:
    • More home support
    • Availability of child and family counselling
    • Respite for children in care and caregivers.
    • More services for families living off-reserve.
    • Outreach workers for off-reserve membership.
    • Cultural activities incorporated into the Jurisdiction consultation sessions
    • Shorter meetings
    • A traditional name for the program.

Saje wears many hats in her position with MLIB. As the Child and Youth Counsellor, she helps children work through any issues that may arise. She acts as a referral source for the school, families, and community, and does one-on-one counselling at Morfee Elementary, Mackenzie Secondary, and within McLeod Lake and Prince George.

Saje’s main goal in this position is to help youth learn to cope with a wide range of emotional and psychological difficulties, including anxiety, depression, stress, loss, and grief. She has put on workshops for youth about these concerns as well.

As a Social Worker, Saje is on the work team for Whes’ke’ghe, helping prepare MLIB to take over their own child and family services. She provides support, therapy, and advocacy for the families of McLeod Lake and Prince George, and works with them to grow their skills. Saje also assists families with crisis intervention, activity planning, and ensuring the health and safety of children and parents.

Counselling / Emotional Support: Counselling and emotional support are provided on a  regular basis to the McLeod Lake and Prince George MLIB residents who may have concerns or challenges with substance abuse, grief, loss and/or how to develop healthier relationships.

Parent Support: A regular parent support group called ‘Parent’s Circle’ has been started. The Parent’s Circle is a space for parents/caregivers to share challenges and successes in parenting, and there are videos available to watch that showcase indigenous parenting principles and strength-based parenting.

Dudes Club: Dudes Club is a peer mentoring support service in McLeod Lake. Activities are held in the evening, and in the evenings. Men can come to the band office and enjoy a movie night, meal, poker nights, woodworking/construction and other activities they enjoy.

  • Fay Masear, Council Rep.
  • Yasmin Prince, Council Rep.
  • Jayde Chingees, Council Rep.
  • Geraldine Solonas
  • Sonya Solonas
  • Agnes Mastin
  • Bonnie Tibbets
  • Anita Vallee
  • Tania Solonas
  • Deborah Prince
  • Member Rep. (to be confirmed)
  • Youth Rep. (to be confirmed)

Guiding Principles

  • MLIB Motto: Wu’tun’e wee’zooh yi’yalh, whes’keghe s’o ududeh’chi oo’s’o ghu’nuyelh’o.
    • “Making sure the footprints we leave behind are the ones our children will be proud to walk in.”
  • Supporting the Family Unit
  • Best Interests of the Child
  • Maintaining Family Connection
  • Maintaining Cultural Connection
  • Collaborative Planning
  • Mentorship
  • Strength-based Approach
  • Restorative Practice

Aunties & Uncles Network

McLeod Lake members have spoken. They expressed the need for Community Caregivers for MLIB children, so the Jurisdiction team has put that on our work plan and begun bringing the idea to membership to find caregivers for the Tse’khene children.

Our goal is to keep MLIB children with their families or within Tse’khene families, at the very least.

So far, we have had eight (8) caregivers put their names forth, not only in the north but in other communities as well.

For more information on the MLIB Caregivers Network, including applying to become a Community Caregiver, please contact Saje Francis at childandyouthsupport@mlib.ca.

These are the types of Caregivers you can be:

  • Respite: Provide temporary relief from emotional and physical demands of caring for children
  • Emergency Placement: Provide a safe placement option for children and youth in emergency situations
  • Long-term: Provide long-term care for children and youth
  • Family Care: Parent(s) and child-care in home

Caregivers must:

  • Be willing to work with the family
  • Provide mentorship to the parents
  • Uphold and promote cultural connections
  • Attend any mandatory trainings
  • Be open to meditation with the family
  • Have knowledge of non-violent conflict resolution, attachment issues, and behavioural concerns

Caregivers must:

  • Be prepared to work with the MLIB Child and Family Services team to overcome any problems that may arise in caring for children
  • Provide temporary care to a child while working with their family to support the goal of returning the child to the family
  • Complete the following:
    • Criminal record check
    • Background check for previous ministry involvement

NOTE: Previous history of violence or harm against children will exclude you from taking part in this program.

Caregiver supports include:

  • Network of other caregivers
  • Training opportunities
  • Support from peers and professionals
  • On-going check-ins
  • Financial supports
  • Other supports and services as needed

News & Updates

Please stay tuned for further updates, events, and information from this department.

Contact Us

Meaghan Van Somer, Health Director
(250) 851-5172

Chris Branigan, Therapist / Family Worker
(250) 750-6853

Deborah Prince, Jurisdiction Coordinator

Saje Francis, Social Worker
(250) 750-4415