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Aboriginals Peoples in Canada: Repairing the Relationship Harleen Kalirai Vanessa De Castro.

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Presentation on theme: "Aboriginals Peoples in Canada: Repairing the Relationship Harleen Kalirai Vanessa De Castro."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aboriginals Peoples in Canada: Repairing the Relationship Harleen Kalirai Vanessa De Castro

2 Aboriginals Time: - 1995, Federal government acknowledged the “inherent right” of Canada’s aboriginal peoples to self-government - “Aboriginal” refers to the original or “first” occupants of this country (Canada). Focus: - Focused on survival strategies for the most part Theme: - Aboriginal people have travelled a great distance in order to get legal and constitutional space.

3 Divisions Aboriginal people are divided into: Status, Non-status, Métis, and Inuit. Métis are served by the same healthcare system as other Canadians receive, whereas the Aboriginal and Inuit people receive customized care. Therefore it is difficult for Aboriginal peoples to speak from one voice due to the difference between each other within that community.

4 Constitutional Status Federal government only provides services to those who are registered status Indians & the Inuit. Status Indians are then divided further by treaty or non-treaty Status Indians are: - Registered in a general registry in Ottawa, entitlement to residence on band reserve lands, jurisdiction under the Indian act.

5 Non-status Indians When their ancestors failed to register under the Indian act, or lost their status in order to be allowed to vote, drink alcohol of the reserves or marry a non-Indian. Non-status Indians do not live on reserve.

6 Métis Are descendants of mixed European- aboriginal unions. Métis were originally from Red river settlements in Manitoba.

7 Inuit Enjoy special status and relationship with the federal government, regardless of the fact they have not signed any treaties.

8 The Cycle of Destruction Aboriginal people in the cycle of destruction face problems of poverty, ill health, educational failure, family violence and other problems reinforce one another. To break the circle of disadvantage all these conditions must be tackled together.

9 Poverty The roots of poverty can be traced back to the forced relocation of Aboriginal peoples onto plots of land, called reserves. With no planning, infrastructure or economy set up, Aboriginal people were restricted to small tracts of land. The destruction of traditional ways of living, combined with the poorly organized set-up of reserves resulted in impoverishment. Many Aboriginal people died due to lack of shelter, food, health care and money. Furthermore, the Canadian government put tight restrictions on the reserves, resulting in higher levels of poverty. On average, 55.6% of Aboriginal people living in Canadian cities were poor in 1995. In cities like Regina where there is a larger Aboriginal population, Aboriginal people accounted for 24% of the poor. This was more than three times their proportion of the total population in the city.

10 Health Care Upon arrival to North America, Europeans brought with them many foreign diseases that had a devastating effect on Aboriginal people who were neither immune to them nor knew how to cure them. Due to the underlying racial backdrop against which Aboriginal people lived, health care was traditionally saved for those deemed deserving of it- namely the white European settlers. Furthermore, Aboriginal medicine practices were generally regarded as inferior to the European medical practices, and were often dismissed or even banned. Over the course of history, such racism and discrimination took its toll on the Aboriginal population. Despite the fact that the Canadian health care system has been praised as one of the best and most progressive in the world, quality health care is out of reach for many Aboriginal Canadians. Federal, provincial and jurisdictional disputes, cultural barriers and geographic isolation have impeded Aboriginal people’s access to the health care system.

11 For example, dental decay rates for Aboriginal children in Ontario are two to five times higher than rates among non- Aboriginal children.

12 Based on toxic tar sand on Aboriginal lands http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yikj9 9t7J8M&feature=channel

13 Employment Barriers The paternalistic views that many of the early Europeans settlers in Canada held contributed to the foundation of misunderstanding, ignorance and racism that early white-aboriginal relations were built upon. While the white settler tended to view Aboriginal people as inferior and savage, the Aboriginal people increasingly viewed the White people with distrust, anger, resentment and fear. Many Aboriginal people had no hope of attaining any kind of employment, so long as beliefs that Aboriginal people were inferior prevailed in society to add to this the problems of poverty and ill health, and one can see how the prospects for Aboriginal employment in Canada were dismal. The history of discrimination and disadvantage of Aboriginal peoples is reflected today in the current situation regarding Aboriginal people in the work force. It is estimated that the unemployment rate for Aboriginal people is double that of the national average and in some areas of the province in Canada the unemployment rate is five to six times higher than non-Aboriginal people.

14 The economic disadvantage foes hand in hand with the social problems associated in the daily lives of Aboriginals. While Aboriginals, including registered Indians on and off reserves, as well as, Metis and Inuit reported annual incomes between $14, 000 and $ 19,000, average Canadian incomes around the same period were close to $27,000 annually. A family of four cannot be expected to live sufficiently with an annual income of $14,000. The Canadian government needs to address this wage gap with improved social programs that not only give financial aid to those who need it.

15 Aboriginal Peoples in the Cities: Paradox: Isolation of reserves are unattractive for investment and economic growth however, fosters context for aboriginality to flourish. Push/pull factors. Seeking power and resource control.

16 “No More Indians” Aboriginal affairs policy: “no more Indians” through absorption into the system. Accommodation: Royal Proclamation of 1763. Assimilation: – Dependency – Justification – Indian Act Integration: The White Paper.

17 Devolution Led to significant gains - Increased Aboriginal input over local affairs - Greater control over service delivery, administration of departmental programs & localized decision making. Shift in Indian Affairs Department - Establish Aboriginal control over community affairs. - Different perception better equipped to solve local problems. - Centralized problem solving structure prove ineffective.

18 Conditional Autonomy Four policy pillars: - Land claims settlement. - Improved socioeconomic status on reserves. - Reconstruction of Aboriginal peoples- government relations. - Fulfillment of Aboriginal concerns. Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996). Conditions for self-government.

19 Next Steps Stop trying to solve the Aboriginal problem and focus on repairing the relationship.

20 Changes Take Aboriginals seriously. Recognize Aboriginal title and treaty rights. Promote Aboriginal models of self- determining. Address the limitations of space.


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