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Canada (162,320)
Sociology (229)
Chapter 7

Sociology 2R03 Chapter 7.docx

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Augie Fleras

Chapter 7 Aboriginal peoples: Canada’s first inequality Introduction: first nations, second class citizens, third world conditions  Aboriginal communities comprise 96 of the bottom 100 communities in Canada based on a community well-being index (income, housing, employment, education) FYI: in our backyard? Surely not!  80% of Aboriginal homes have no access to water lines but rely on wells and cisterns  300 home have no access to water  2011: assessment found that 75% of water systems on 571 reserves posed high or medium risk to human health Continued  More youth not enough housing and jobs  Unemployment is a major cause of poverty and powerlessness  Employment rates for aboriginal peoples of working age (25-54) stood at 65.8%in 2006, compared to 81.6% of non aboriginal workers  On some reserves, up to 95% of the population are un/ under/ employed to the point of relying almost entirely on governemtn transfers  Median income for Aboriginals was 30% ($18 962) less than the median income for other Canadians  Earning gaps for aboriginal women and non-aboriginal women is 10-20% o For men its 20-50% lower  In urban setting income difs between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals is $7083 and in rural settings its $5592 higher  2006: 43.6% of Aboriginals had less than high school education, 5.6% possessed university degree or certificate  9/10 Aboriginal women experience extreme violence  Nearly 21% of the population experienced spousal violence  Suffer traumatic injuries and violent deaths a four time the rate in Canada  Most self destructive group; suicide rate of six to either times the national average for certain age groups o Inuit youth suicide rates are 11 times higer then national average  Pikangikum: Canada or the world’s suicide capital  Aboriginal peoples are victimized at a rate of 319 per 100 population (461/1000 for those aged 15-34 years compared to 101/100 for non-Aboriginals)  Aboriginal offenders account for 21% of federal penitentiary admission and 19% of provincial admissions into custody, despite constituting just over 4% of Canada’s population  1/3 female offenders is aboriginal  On-reserve aboriginal youth is more likely to go to jail then graduate high school  20 000 aboriginal owned businesses (half on reserves), 50 finacial institutions, and an aboriginal trust company and bank FYI: robust economic growth in “indian” country: osoyos indian band  Aboriginal land base is 3.2 million HA (Inuits control 1/3)  37 000 Aboriginal business owners  Osoyoos Indian Band has a population of about 400 and is one of 7 bands that comprise the Okanagan Nation of British Columbia o Moves to create a community-based economic self-sufficiency by 2005 resulted in a series of economic projects in agriculture, eco tourism, and commercial, industrial, and residential that have proven profitable o Operates its own business, health, social, educational, and municipal services  Ojibwa, Cree, and Inukitut are on a solid footing Attawapiskat first nations: “where dying in slow motion is a way of life”  Aboriginal peoples are perceived as problem people who have social, economic, cultural problems that cost or inconvenience Canada An inconvenient truth: Haiti North at -40  The 1800 strong community of Mushkego (Cree) peoples declared a state of emergency when a severe housing shortage forced several dozen families to live in temporary shelters without insulation or plumbing  Rampant overcrowding: people crammed into wood-frame tents heated by oil drum stoves (fire hazard), and nearly 90 individuals lived in an abandoned construction trailer  About 80 000 new homes are needed aross Canada and it may take 800 years to solve the housing backlog  50% of houses on reserves are substandard  Attawapiskat and Kashechewan are in a state of emergency because of floodwaters and sewer backups that have overwhelmed substandard infrastructure, resulting in evacuation of hospitals and closing of schools  Politicians and bureaucrats are so averse to being labeled as racist that many are reluctant to criticize or challenge band mismanagement or government policy Who’s to blame: playing the blame game  Generally blame was directed at four sources: the remonteness of Attawapiskat, mismanagement by local leaders, government indifference, and the continuing legacy of colonialism embodied in the Indian act  Location: isolated reserves have minimal tax base and little additional revenue o No reason for Attawapiskat to exist: housing costs, poor construction, lack of maintenance by tenants without any stake in ownership, rot ad mould are chronic problems o This year’s federal housing allocation was $1 million (enough to build 4 houses), yet there is 300 people on the waiting list  Blaming local mismangament: blames leaders of Attawapiskat o Government said they delivered about $90 million in transfers but there is little to show for the money o Lorne Gunter: the governemtn is remiss in bringing about changes to band management and community governance; it overcompensates by demanding reams of reports on band’s use of public funds  Federal indifference to Attawapiskat: polite racism in action o Money allotted to reconstruction of school but it still hasn’t been done o Ottawa may have earmarked about a billion dollars a year for aboriginal infrastructure but a perceived federal indifference toward any meangful follow-up does little to dispel bureaucratic misnagement and ineptitude  Colonialism and Indian Act o Must reclaim control over land and resources through co-management or joint ventures, ensuring a revenue source to secure self sufficiency o The Attawapiskat crisis was framed as an institutional problem reflecting poor policy making and an indifferent federal bureaucracy  Mory money  Relocation o No year round road access: had the lowest average earnings per employed worker, lowest secondary school graduation rate, and lowest percentage of people with a certificate or diploma o New locations may prove to be just as bad  Improving local governance  Repriming the relationship: enhancing the self determining autonomy o Any sustainable solution must begin b
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