Days after the federal government pledged tens of billions of dollars to reform child welfare systems on First Nations communities, a northern Manitoba grand chief called the entire system a “monster.”Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee made his comments in a speech to Southern Manitoba Chiefs’ Organization Annual General Assembly.“What the child welfare system has done is create a system that took over from the residential school system and put it into another entity,” he said.“The monster that was the residential school is now CFS," meaning child and family services.On Tuesday, a judge approved a $23-billion settlement that will have Ottawa compensate more than 300,000 First Nations children and their families for the chronic underfunding of on-reserve child-welfare services.The federal government has also pledged an additional $20 billion to reform the child welfare system on First Nations communities.With billions in funding promised by the feds to fix child welfare systems on First Nations, Settee said he believes leaders in southern and northern Manitoba need to start working more cooperatively to take control over CFS systems in communities across the province.“The system is created by entities that have no idea how we live and how we exist, and I think we are at a point where we, as leaders of our nations, need to tell the government what it is that they need to do,” Settee said.“I look forward to when they no longer decide for us what they think is best for us. We have to tell them what is best for us, because only we know how we live in our First Nations and the realities that we face every day.”In 2020, a federal act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families created a way for First Nations communities in Canada to take control over their CFS systems.In January, the Peguis First Nation became the first indigenous band in Manitoba to take control of their child welfare through the legislation.Settee wants to keep children from being taken out of indigenous communities and placed in non-indigenous homes.“That has got to stop, and we must tell the government no more,” he said.“We will take care of them, and we will look after them in a culturally appropriate manner.”In Manitoba, nearly 90% of the approximately 12,000 youth in care identify as indigenous."Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which, in the Cree language, means Northern Manitoba Chiefs, is a non-profit, political advocacy organization that provides a collective voice on issues of inherent, Treaty, Aboriginal and human rights for the citizens of the sovereign First Nations we represent," said Settee. The MKO First Nations are signatory to Treaties 4, 5, 6 and 10. MKO receives its mandate by resolution of the MKO Chiefs in General Assembly. The Grand Chief, elected for a three-year term, serves as the principal spokesperson.According to the MKO website, First Nations’ self-government in Northern Manitoba has three components:1.\tthe repeal or amendment of The Indian Act and the dismantling of the federal government department of Indian and Northern Affairs;2.\tthe transfer of federal and joint federal-provincial programs, services, and related funding allocations directly to First Nations in Manitoba; and3.\tmost importantly, the legal recognition and extension of First Nations’ jurisdiction and self-governing authority over our traditional lands.