Aboriginal Crisis In Canada Dissected
Why caring shouldn't be a fad.
People who are of First Nation descent have been stuck in an oppressive cycle for decades, yet it seems like the Canadian government only cares when it suits their agendas. There have been attempts of reconciliation over the past few years between the government and First Nation communities, but is that enough? Where is the funding that they have promised? And why haven't they tackled the daily living conditions of those communities? It seems like it takes a state of emergency for officials to take notice of what is really going on in Canada.
First, let's back up a few steps and ask the questions, how did this happen?And where did everything go wrong? Colonization is really where the cycle was created, more so assimilation. European settlers didn't see Aboriginals in the future of Canada, and started on the path of assimilating Aboriginal peoples into a race that conformed to European standards. This path consisted of policies and regulations, which attempted to segregate aboriginals from non-Aboriginals.
A major milestone in the assimilation of First Nations' peoples was the Indian act. The Indian act was created to remove First Nations from their traditional lands, causing the displacement of many First Nation' communities. It allows the government to control the communities, and prevents them from being a sovereign nation. Aboriginals were no longer allowed to practise their traditions, or self govern. Another facet of assimilation is residential schools. Which were set in place to remove children from their communities, and remove the Indian from them. These children endured poor living conditions, neglect and abuse for years. These conditions had caused 25% of the students to die. Not only were they abused, but they were prohibited from speaking their language, they were forced to practice Christianity and to conform to European societal norms. This is just a breeze over the assimilation that took place during these years.
Assimilation has created a vicious cycle, which has lived on to this generation of First Nations. Substance abuse, mental health issues, and poverty are all factors of this cycle. Which could only be ended if these communities are given the resources to aid them in piecing their cultural roots back together, and moving forward.
Secondly, we have to ask how do these events impact todays generations? Today's generation are stripped of their cultural rights. The assimilation that has occurred had caused the removal of land from many Aboriginal communities. Re-locating them to reserves, which have poor living conditions, under-staffed hospitals and underfunded infrastructures. These elements impact how the youth is raised. Aboriginal youth are still not given the opportunity to have proper education and to attend schools that are fit for students to learn in. This really impacts how the generation moves forward in their lives.
Compared to non-Aboriginals they are not given the same opportunities or funding. The cycle also carries on to substance abuse, which had been created when the prior generations attempted to self medicate to forget the trauma that they had undergone. This was then passed onto the youth, there is a large portion of the youth population that abuses substances.
As seen in the suicide epidemic that took place in Attawapiskat, today's generation struggles with mental health. There is improper funding for hospitals, which has caused the progression of this issue.
Moving forward how can we alter the future, and prevent history from repeating itself? Currently, there has been progressive steps taken from the government to reconcile. Yet, it seems like these steps are far from one another. There isn't enough discussion about todays social climate regarding First Nation issues. If only the Canadian government would be more aggressive with their tactics in relation to the issues. There should be more programs in place for First Nations, and more jobs created in First Nation Communities. In addition, there should be more funding dedicated to mental health issues, which isn't just temporary relief.
What can you do? Start a discussion. Get educated. Donate money. All of these alternatives can aid the communities in moving forward.