May 10 is Bear Witness Day

May 09, 2022 |
Truth and Reconciliation

May 10 is an important date in the history of Jordan's Principle at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). Jordan's Principle is a child-first principle and legal rule named in memory of Jordan River Anderson. 

Jordan was a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs, Jordan spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who should pay for his at home care. Jordan died in the hospital at the age of five, never having spent a day in a family home. A teddy bear was Jordan's favourite toy and it has come to symbolize the fight against the discrimination of First Nations children, youth, and their families.

After ten years at the Tribunal, using the powerful case of Jordan River Anderson and a history of racism as evidence, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society was finally successful in proving that discrimination existed and the federal government was ordered to make things right. The CHRT issued the first of several compliance orders on May 10, 2016. May 10 is Spirit Bear's birthday, which has become the mascot and an important symbol of Jordan's Principle and the ruling.

Bear Witness Day on May 10 serves as a reminder – and a day for us all to "bear witness" that First Nations children receive the services and supports they need, when they need them.

Reconciliation is in all of us. Manitoba is the only province that has started the process of enacting Bear Witness Day as a recognized holiday on May 10. For that reason, CPSM acknowledges and is sharing awareness of the significance of this day.  

This year we're focusing on education:

Learn More about Jordan's Principle

Jordan's Principle originated in Manitoba but is making a national impact.

WATCH: Learn more about Jordan's Principle here or watch the documentary Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger to learn more about Jordan River Anderson and Jordan's Principle.

READ: If you wish to share the story with children, Download a free PDF of Spirit Bear and Children Make History! a story about how Jordan's Principle came to be.

LEARN MORE: Find more ideas on the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society website.  


*Header image credit: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society