If you’re not from Canada, you could be forgiven for not knowing about some of the peculiar things that go on here. But Canadians know about many of them, and many of us are sick of them. Here’s a list of behaviors that are the absolute worst.
Although Canada’s child welfare system has improved the quality of services provided to First Nations children, more remarkable successes can be achieved by addressing these injustices. Hundreds of years ago, the Aboriginal peoples of what is now known as Canada were among the most discriminated against people on Earth. Even after decades of effort and struggle towards cultural assimilation and equality, many First Nations suffer from inadequate social conditions and severe underrepresentation in traditional roles.
The discrimination against indigenous children has existed for centuries. In Canada, laws such as the Indian Act divided Aboriginal communities, creating hostile conditions for their development. The Government wanted to make natives more European to assimilate them into the Canadian way of life. However, this was not a smooth process. Almost 90 years ago, the Canadian residential school’s campaign was born to convert indigenous children into ‘good Christians’ but instead created traumatic circumstances for thousands of young people of many different tribes.
In 2008, the Prime Minister of Canada apologized to residential school survivors and their children on behalf of the Federal Government for the atrocities committed against many Indigenous Peoples due to the Indian Residential Schools Act.
It was not an easy decision, and several groups were consulted to reach this formal conclusion. The Government made it clear that they will continue working closely with Indigenous peoples towards reconciliation moving forward. I am very thankful for this acknowledgement of reconciliation efforts by the Canadian Government and hope that we can indeed make great strides together in accepting each other’s differences.
As reported on January 26, 2016, by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Native Canadians have suffered racial discrimination due to inequitable child welfare. This discrimination stems from a failure to properly uphold Jordan’s Principle, which aims to eliminate red tape and inter-jurisdictional confusion regarding First Nations children needing medical care.
The ruling was shocking, especially since it followed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action for child welfare reform and the Harper government’s response to establish Jordan’s Principle.
The tribunal pointed out that Canada’s Government has known about the inequitable funding they provide First Nation children with for nearly two decades. They even ignored the auditor general’s recommendations regarding how to fix this issue. So naturally, there are way more care-dependent children today than when residential schools were functional in Canada during their peak years, with no change in observation.
Canada’s northern territories are known for being vast and lonely. To escape the harsh climate, indigenous peoples moved to the southern parts of Canada for centuries. Despite their presence there, the Canadian Government has long neglected the north to support First Nations communities who inhabit them due to a seemingly strained relationship with its citizens. As a result, despite living near one another, there is still a massive gap in terms of income, employment opportunities and social services between First Nation members and other Canadians. Unfortunately, this isn’t new information – research over time shows more than just negligence on behalf of the Government that has resulted in inequalities across income rates, housing, education stats, etc. Nothing concrete has been done so far over decades to remedy it!
The Federal Government must work together with religious groups and Indigenous communities to maintain school burial grounds. Firstly, the online registry must be put into action – including, where possible, plot maps for deceased residential school children. It is a vital step towards reconciling our past.
More than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their homes in Canada and placed into residential schools based on the belief that they would receive advanced education while living there.
These beliefs were naïve, and now Indigenous peoples are struggling due to the remaining effects of having been separated from their families at such a crucial age and many other reasons.