A recently-released video reportedly captured the tense moments when Canadian authorities took custody of a newborn baby girl from an indigenous woman while she sat in a hospital bed.
According to The Canadian Press, Thursday’s incident was live streamed by the woman’s uncle. In it, the woman’s seen cradling her baby while Winnipeg Child and Family Services (CFS) social workers and police explain to her why they’re taking her baby. The woman is then seen sobbing in the bed while relatives comfort her.
The woman’s aunt told The Press that authorities took her niece’s child following false allegations that she came to the hospital to deliver her daughter drunk. Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs family advocate Cora Morgan said the woman had previously contacted CFS for help with addiction and parenting but maintained that she didn’t arrive at the hospital drunk.
The video sparked outrage as many believe it provided a disturbing glimpse into the Canadian government’s all too common treatment of indigenous persons.
According to CBC News, the mother, who declined to be identified, told reporters Friday that authorities “blindsided” her as she arranged for her aunt to take custody of her newborn daughter.
Citing statistics from the Manitoba government, The Canadian Press indicated that, on average, province officials take custody of one newborn daily—with the news outlet noting that approximately 90 percent of children in CFS’ care are indigenous.
CFS General Child and Family Services Authority CEO Debbie Besant backed the agency’s actions, noting that their first consideration is to consider whether it’s possible to reunite the child with their parents. In doing so, Besant said they try to place the child with a relative in the interim.
The agency official went on to say that her colleagues acted appropriately in this case and that they will continue to work with the family seen in the video.
She said, “I am confident in the decisions made. We will continue to work with this family, and engage with any collateral or partner agencies the family wishes to involve.”
[Featured image: Facebook video screengrab]