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Does Canada perpetuate aboriginal people living in poverty?

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  • Does Canada perpetuate aboriginal people living in poverty?

    How come all our policies in Canada perpetuate the situation of aboriginal people living in poverty on remote, isolated reserves under the argument that they need to preserve their distinct culture and lifestyle?

    The culture of the mainstream Western world has evolved dramatically over time, and continues to evolve at breakneck speeed, even during the course of one generation (computers/internet/cell phones for example) and people just adapt and are happy.

    But for some reason we seem to believe that the culture of aboriginal groups needs to be preserved in some former era and include a "traditional" diet based largely of hunting, fishing, and some gathering.

    It is possible to move away from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle, join the mainstream capitalist economy, and still maintain a rich and vibrant culture...just look at India and China, and Japan, they obviously have distinct cultures. Just like a lot of European countries have distinct cultures from each other.

    Maintaining cultural traditions is one thing, but poverty is not a tradition.

    I personally would like to see the reserve system abolished and encourage all first nations to join the mainstream Canadian economy and prosper, while maintaining their own culture if they choose. Just like lots of immigrants to Canada have joined mainstream society but preserved rich and wonderful aspects of a distinct culture like religion, food, traditions, and language.

    Thoughts?


    {Admin Edit...changed the title to be more descriptive}

  • #2
    I think a lot of racism and prejudice exists in this country because "they" live on reserves, and "we" don't. It's one of the many unintended consequences of the reserve system that was set up many generations ago, during an entirely different time.

    I don't know what the solution is, but I think it has always up to Aboriginals to decide what they want to do and what's best for them.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MrOilers View Post
      I don't know what the solution is, but I think it has always up to Aboriginals to decide what they want to do and what's best for them.
      Well, not exactly, since Canadians' taxes pay for it all. Also the First Nations don't elect anybody to parliament so are they really participating in making the laws that affect them? I guess they are involved in the "negotiations" leading up to making the laws.

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      • #4
        I mean, I think the decision rests with Aboriginals as to whether they want to be more integrated with the rest of Canada, or maintain isolation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Transplanted_Edm View Post
          But for some reason we seem to believe that the culture of aboriginal groups needs to be preserved in some former era and include a "traditional" diet based largely of hunting, fishing, and some gathering.

          It is possible to move away from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle...
          How many reserves are actually like that? Most of them seem to be nothing more than rural ghettos.
          “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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          • #6
            The statistics on quality of life, health, wealth and so on of aboriginals who live off reserve vs. on reserve are pretty stark. It's obvious the reservation system has failed. But it's not so simple as just abolishing it.

            I really don't know what the solution is, but the status quo certainly isn't it. Personally I think that a lot of talk about "preserving traditional cultures" is just plain bunk, largely based around "noble savage" ignorance. The ironic thing is that even with the current sad state of affairs, aboriginal people live longer, healthier lives with less infant mortality, disease and starvation than they ever did before Europeans arrived.
            Last edited by Marcel Petrin; 10-12-2010, 11:15 AM.

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            • #7
              There is no doubt that the reserve structure has created an Entitlement Society. This has been supported all along by a ( no matter what your political stripe) Liberal society.

              The ironic thing is that ultimately First Nation entitlements, many which are enshrined in the constitution will be challenged most by the very same society. Demographics will move a majority of the the baby boom into their entitlement years. There will only be so much money to go round for pensions , health care etc . After working a lifetime people will demand their entitlements for a lifetime of contribution. The fundamental situation will not have changed , the perceptions most certainly will. An older larger population seeking now entitlements will be resentful of a younger generation with entrenched rights withdrawing from the same pot. There will be uncomfortable times ahead

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
                The ironic thing is that even with the current sad state of affairs, aboriginal people live longer, healthier lives with less infant mortality, disease and starvation than they ever did before Europeans arrived.
                I would suspect you would have a problem validating that statistic given the records kept at the time.

                Further, we are all enjoying longer and more productive lives as a result of the various sciences.

                I can give you thousands of examples of immigrants comming to Canada whose original circumstances were not that much different that those of the native peoples.
                It's time for the natives to take the initiative.
                We do them a disservice to cater to their ancestral customs where children are involved and must someday compete and a changing world.
                Last edited by Old Dawg; 10-12-2010, 02:17 PM.
                "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;they listen with the intent to reply.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Old Dawg View Post
                  We do them a disservice to cater to their ancestral customs where children are involved and must someday compete and a changing world.
                  I agree with this. It's difficult (not impossible, but very difficult) to prosper in an environment isolated from the progress and change that is happening everywhere else.

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                  • #10
                    I would suspect your would have a problem validating that statistic gevn the records kept at the time.
                    No doubt that exact statistics on infant/child mortality, life expectancy and so on would be non-existent. But archaeologists and anthropologists can make some pretty educated guesses. While obviously there's more chronic diseases, alcohol abuse, physical/sexual abuse, and obesity it's likely that a quarter or a third of children in subsistence hunter/gatherer societies didn't make it to 15.

                    Of course it would also vary greatly from region to region, tribe to tribe, and even from one time period to another. Some of the more advanced societies might well have had pretty decent standards of living.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
                      I would suspect you would have a problem validating that statistic given the records kept at the time.
                      No doubt that exact statistics on infant/child mortality, life expectancy and so on would be non-existent. But archaeologists and anthropologists can make some pretty educated guesses. While obviously there's more chronic diseases, alcohol abuse, physical/sexual abuse, and obesity it's likely that a quarter or a third of children in subsistence hunter/gatherer societies didn't make it to 15.

                      Of course it would also vary greatly from region to region, tribe to tribe, and even from one time period to another. Some of the more advanced societies might well have had pretty decent standards of living.
                      I have no valid data to discuss this issue with you so will not hazard a guess.
                      I am sure that infant mortality was very prevalent prior to the discovery of sulfa drugs and sterilzation methods in both primative and industrial European societies. Who had the most problem would probably be a factor of proximity to disease (s) and or treatment.
                      Last edited by Old Dawg; 10-12-2010, 04:36 PM.
                      "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;they listen with the intent to reply.

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                      • #12
                        I think the conversation is doing a disservice to those that choose to maintain their traditional culture and lifestyle.

                        If any a portion of the culture chooses to maintain a traditional lifestyle of being hunter/gatherers...fine, it there choice and they are free to do so and who are we to say they are making a poor decision?

                        If any portion of the culture chooses to intergrate to the mainstream (and many do) it should be encouraged to the benefit of all.

                        The issue is with those individuals and bands that choose to make poor choices...not the culture overall.

                        There are already laws governing the provision of a child's needs including education...enforce them, as we would with any other group.

                        There are already laws governing those that make bad choices...enforce them, as we would with any other group regardless of origin or background.

                        Follow through on the treaties and agreements, it will take time to resolve and give and take from both sides. But enough of the pandering and excuses from both the ones making poor choices and the Governments at all levels.

                        My 2 bits

                        Tom

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thomas Hinderks View Post
                          I think the conversation is doing a disservice to those that choose to maintain their traditional culture and lifestyle.


                          The issue is with those individuals and bands that choose to make poor choices...not the culture overall.


                          My 2 bits

                          Tom
                          So Tom, may I suggest that if "cultures" make choices that affect the larger society such as poor medical and or educational choices per se, who should be responsible for the outcome?
                          It seems we are paying and paying and paying without seeing many positive results.
                          "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;they listen with the intent to reply.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It seems some young native people are just either confused, not taught or simply do not care about their ancestors past or their roots. They seem to be caught between two cultures. Last year there was a bit of a to do about them hunting whales off the coast of B.C. They made a fuss about it being their customs/ancient right etc: then they hauled off in an big expensive speed boat to fulfil their ancient custom. One would think if it was that much of an ancient custom they would have used a canoe. Same as reserves. There has been a fair bit of publicity lately about what the chiefs on these reserves make. Some of the wages are very generous despite the rest of the reserve looking like a third world country. The Native Affairs Department needs a complete overhaul. They have been doing the same thing for decades and obviously most of it does not work.
                            Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

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                            • #15
                              Once the kids in Hobbema turn 18 they receive there " oil money" I've work with youth from there who have received anywhere from 80,000 to 250,000 dollars and this was given in one lump sum. Most of the youth I knew owed most of it to lawyers by the time they turned 18. The one's that didn't give it all to lawyers were broke by the time they were 19. Sad but how would any 18 year old deal with that much money at that age.

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