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Rx for Canada: Aboriginal Education in Canada for Non-Aboriginals. Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., M.P. DRAFT. “Canadians have been denied a full and proper education as to the nature of Aboriginal societies, and the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non- Aborginal people”

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Rx for Canada: Aboriginal Education in Canada for Non-Aboriginals

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Rx for Canada: Aboriginal Education in Canadafor Non-Aboriginals

Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., M.P.


  • “Canadians have been denied a full and proper education as to the nature of Aboriginal societies, and the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aborginal people”

  • Interim Report

    Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    February 2012

2011 Housing Crisis

Chief Theresa Spence 2012 in the shadow of the Parliament Buildings



“Paternalism has been a total failure”Nellie Cournoyea, ‘Speaking Together’ 1975

First Woman Premier, NWT


  • 1.7.1

  • The Government of Canada

  • (a) commit to publication of a general history of Aboriginal peoples of Canada in a series of volumes reflecting the diversity of nations, to be completed within 20 years;

  • (b) allocate funding to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to convene a board, with a majority of Aboriginal people, interests and expertise, to plan and guide the Aboriginal History Project; and

  • (c) pursue partnerships with provincial and territorial governments, educational authorities, Aboriginal nations and communities, oral historians and elders, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars and educational and research institutions, private donors and publishers to ensure broad support for and wide dissemination of the series.

First the Facts

Library of Parliament

Primer on Aboriginal Issues


First Nations, Inuit and Métis make up 3.8% of Canada’s total population

(1,172,790 people).

First Nation people

(both status &non-status Indians)

account for close to 60% of Canada’s Aboriginal people.

There are approximately


First Nation communities in Canada.

The Métis share of the Aboriginal population is approximately 30%.

The Inuit make up 4% of the total Aboriginal population.

The Aboriginal population in Canada grew 45% between 1996 and 2006 – six times faster than the non-Aboriginal population.

Almost half (48%)of the Aboriginal population is age 24 and under, compared with 31% of the non-Aboriginal population.

The median age of the Aboriginal population is 27 years.

In 2006, 50% of the on-reserve First Nations population aged 25 to 64 did not complete high school, compared with 15% for other Canadians.

Overall, 34% of the Aboriginal population, aged 25-64 years, did not have a high school leaving certificate.

8% of Aboriginal people have a Bachelor Degree or higher, compared to 22% of non-Aboriginal Canadians.

In 2004, the Auditor General found that, at current rates of progress, it would take 28 years for First Nations on reserves to reach educational parity with non-Aboriginal Canadians.

The high school graduation rate for students on reserve has not improved over the last three years with only about one third of students graduating.

By 2031, between 21% and 24% of the population of Saskatchewan is expected to be Aboriginal.

In Manitoba, this proportion is projected to be between 18% and 21%.

In 2006, the median income for Aboriginal peoples was $18,962 – 30% lower than the $27,097 median income for the rest of Canadians.

Non-Aboriginal people working on urban reserves earn 34% more than First Nation workers.

On rural reserves, non-Aboriginals earn 88% more.

23% of Inuit households in Nunavut experience overcrowding, compared to 1.4% of non-Aboriginal households.

First Nations peoples are 5 times more likely than non-Aboriginals to live in overcrowded homes, and 4 times more likely to live in dwellings requiring

major repairs.

The federal government estimates that there is a need for approximately 20,000 to 35,000 new housing units on First Nations reserve.

The Assembly of First Nations estimates that the need for housing on reserve is as high as 85,000 new units.

A federal assessment has found that 39 percent of First Nations water systems are at high risk of being unsafe.

As of December 31, 2012, there were 117 First Nations communities under drinking water advisories.

Suicide rates among First Nations are 5 times higher than the general population.

Suicide rates among Inuit are 11 times higher than among non-Aboriginal Canadians.

Nunavut reports a suicide rate 40 times the Canadian average for young Inuit men.

The life expectancy of First Nation citizens is 5 to 7 years less than non-Aboriginal Canadians.

Among the Inuit in Canada, life expectancy is almost 15 years lower than the national average.

Nunavut’s infant mortality rate is almost 4 times higher than the general population.

Tuberculosis rates among First Nations living on-reserve are 31 times the national average.

The rate of tuberculosis among Inuit is 185 times the rate of non-Inuit Canadians.

According to a recent study, nearly 70% of Inuit preschoolers live in households rated as “food insecure.”

In addition to community governments and leaders, Aboriginal peoples are represented by five national organizations (NAOs):

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) represents First Nations in Canada, in particular “Status Indians” living on reserve.

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo is National Chief of the AFN


The Métis National Council (MNC) represents the Métis of the historic Métis Nation.

The MNC President is

Clément Chartier


  • The ITK represents the INUIT people in Canada.

  • The ITK President is

  • Terry Audla

  • www.itk.ca

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) represents First Nations women across Canada.

NWAC’s President is Michelle Audette


The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) describes its constituency as including Métis, non-registered and off-reserve First Nations.

Betty Ann Lavallé is CAP’s National Chief.


The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) manages and administers federal funding for friendship centers in urban communities.

The President of NAFC is Vera Pawis Tabobondung.


On June 11, 2008, the Prime Minister offered a Statement of Apology to the former schools of the Indian Residential Schools on behalf of the Government of Canada.

The Indian Residential Schools education system saw more than 150,000 Aboriginal children taken to boarding schools, to be “civilized,” educated and converted

to Christianity.

Special Obligation toFirst Peoples

  • In the Haida and Taku River decisions in 2004, and the Mikisew Cree decision in 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the Crown has a duty to consult &, where appropriate, accommodate when the Crown contemplates conduct that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. The Court explained that the duty stems from the Honour of the Crown and the Crown’s unique relationship with Aboriginal peoples.


Special Obligations toFirst Peoples

“free, prior and informed consent”


The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN in 2007.

Canada endorsed the Declaration on November 12, 2010.

United Nations

James Anaya, Special Rapporteur

Dr. Cindy Blackstock


  • 4) The Commission recommends that each provincial

  • and territorial government undertake a review of the

  • curriculum materials currently in use in public schools

  • to assess what, if anything, they teach about residential

  • schools.

  • 5) The Commission recommends that provincial and

  • territorial departments of education work in concert

  • with the Commission to develop age-appropriate

  • educational materials about residential schools for use

  • in public schools.

  • 6) The Commission recommends that each provincial

  • and territorial government work with the Commission

  • to develop public-education campaigns to inform

  • the general public about the history and impact of

  • residential schools in their respective jurisdiction.

New Zealand

  • Maori 20% population

  • Maori Studies K-8, optional in high school

  • Maori culture part of identity of every Kiwi

Progress in Canada: curricula

  • Nunavut

  • Saskatchewan – important work of Human Rights Commissioner – curricula

  • Ontario –

    • OISE –Suzanne Stewart

    • Bruce Stonefish




of the


First Peoples as LEADERS

  • Environment:

    • Obvious stewards of our Natural Resources

  • Health :

    • Medicine wheel vs medical model

  • Education

    • Learning by doing

  • Governance/Leadership

    • Asking not telling

  • Seniors

    • Elders vs Elderly, acknowledge the wisdom





Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux








Motion 402

  • That this House agree with the findings of the Interim report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commisssion that “Canadians have been denied a full and proper education as to the nature of Aboriginal societies and the relationship between Aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples”

Motion 402

  • That

    • Government active role in promoting awareness and public education – generally and specifically about residential schools

    • Work with TRC and FN’s, Inuit, Metis organizations to implement funding programme

      • Public education, develop curricula

      • Available to PT, Aboriginal govts, non-profits, CBO’s

    • Educate non-aboriginals about these issues

“eradicate the ignorance”

  • Provinces and Territories Curricula

  • Perfect fit- Rotary

    • Eg Guelph, Iqaluit

  • Church groups, KAIROS

  • Scouts, Guides, Boys and Girls Clubs, Summer Camps

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples


UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People


Shannen’s Dream


Jordan’s Principle


  • I am a witness

  • http://www.fncfcs.com/fnwitness/

  • Kelowna Accord – 2005

  • http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/aboriginal-first-ministers-meeting

    Truth and Reconciliation Commission


  • “Canadians have been denied a full and proper education as to the nature of Aboriginal societies, and the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aborginal people”

  • Interim Report

    Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    February 2012

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