SECRETS AND EMPTY PROMiSES: HOW CANADA iS FAiLiNG iTS INDiGENOUS POPULATiON
Updated: Mar 9, 2023
Americans often joke that Canada is this safe haven, free of the -isims so prominent in the United States. To Americans, in Canada, there is no racism, no sexism, no homophobia, everyone has free health care; it is just a happy place to live. Yet, for indigenous communities, this is certainly not the reality. The Trudeau government has been vocal about creating a Canada that is welcoming to people of all ethnicities, religions, genders, and sexualities. Yet, these promises fall flat when considering the rights of indigenous people in Canada. Time and time again, the Canadian government has failed the country's Indigenous peoples. In 2019 the Human Rights Watch reported on the poor treatment of indigenous people by the Canadian government, citing inadequate access to clean drinking water and a lack of funding for children and family services (HRW, 2019).
The history of the mistreatment of indigenous people starts with colonialism; however, this report is going to focus on more recent history than that. One of the most significant forms of mistreatment enacted on Indigenous peoples in Canada was the residential schools. All the way until 1996, Indigenous children were taken from their families and sent to schools funded by the Canadian government with the intention of assimilating them into Canadian culture. These kids were banned from speaking their languages, the schools were unsanitary and inhumane, and many children faced abuse. In 2007, the Canadian government started a commission called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide “those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences” (Government of Canada). While this commission does good work bringing to light the atrocities of the residential school system, it does little to address how poorly indigenous communities in Canada are still treated ...
Author: Eden Wein