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FIRST NATIONS SOCIETY TODAY. Chapter 12. BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES. approx 200 First Nations bands in BC most have central community and parcels of reserve lands conditions and services vary greatly How to enhance the lives of First Nations on and off reserves? healing past abuses

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building healthy communities
BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
  • approx 200 First Nations bands in BC
    • most have central community and parcels of reserve lands
    • conditions and services vary greatly
  • How to enhance the lives of First Nations on and off reserves?
    • healing past abuses
    • building new opportunities for pride in identity and abilities
    • political and economic solutions important
      • self-government and economic development
      • social programmes and educational opportunities
slide3

breaking the cycles of abuse

    • tapping into the spiritual roots
    • Elders playing a leading role
    • traditional ceremonies
      • sweat lodge
  • wellness of survivors of residential school abuse
    • Aboriginal Healing Foundation 1998
      • providing support for sustainable healing process
      • 10 year mandate and $350 million to help Metis, Inuit, and First Nations communities heal themselves
        • bridge gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people
    • providing resources, promoting awareness, building on strengths and resiliency
the indian act in the 21 st century
THE INDIAN ACT IN THE 21ST CENTURY
  • Indian Act still regulates lives and reserves still exist
    • “Certificate of Indian Status”
  • misconceptions of entitlements received under Indian Act
    • paying taxes
      • First Nations people pay taxes like other Cdn citizens except on reserve where tax exemptions covered
        • applies to goods, income and some on-reserve services
        • Status Indians living and working on reserves are exempt from income tax
        • First Nations bylaws allow for collecting property taxes on reserve
          • non-Aboriginal governments can’t
  • not paying taxes unfair?
    • amount insignificant compared to profits and taxes generated by resources on non-reserve land
      • First Nations not benefited
economic development
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
  • self-government needs economic foundation
  • unemployment a major problem
    • few jobs available on reserve
    • no access to loans for businesses
    • Aboriginal people one of fastest growing populations
  • past economic programmes not successful
    • emphasis on individual rather than collective/group
  • ignore holistic or integrated nature of community

Unemployment rate – census 2006

slide6

need new solutions

    • each situation different – need different solutions
  • seeking new economic opportunities
    • need secure land and resource base
    • Cdns need to respect agreements (ex. Treaties)
    • provide choices and decent income
      • developing self-esteem and identity
      • work in traditional economy or market economy
    • self-reliant and sustaining for individual and community
      • beyond survival, bringing growth and prosperity
    • First Nations governments to carry out administration of their lands and resources
      • make decisions on development and organization
    • new development to incorporate First Nations customs and values
resource management
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
  • important in strengthening economies is local control and management of resources
    • BC resource rich, but First Nations not full partners in managing resources
      • even though resources being taken from traditional territories
      • more involved now due to advances in treaties and other initiatives
slide8

resource-based economy giving way to technology, info and service industries

    • resource management and info closely linked
      • Aboriginal perspective – successful use and sustainable management is knowledge-intensive
      • service industry (tourism, recreation) also linked to knowledge and skills
  • key is having control
    • many First Nations in rural areas where resources located
    • land claims another way to resource management
      • negotiations include clauses to return resource management to First Nations
tourism services
TOURISM SERVICES
  • recently many First Nations developing businesses and services attracting tourists to communities
    • promote pride in culture, provide employment and business revenues

Tin Wis Resort Lodge in Tofino

Tsimshian interpreter at the Laxspa’awssite near Prince Rupert, BC.

Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre in Duncan

the urban experience
THE URBAN EXPERIENCE
  • women are largest segment of First Nations living in cities
    • often head of families
  • important to build sense of community within which can identify
    • Friendship centres offer many services
  • BRITISH COLUMBIA ASSOCIATION OF ABORIGINAL FRIENDSHIP CENTRES
    • Friendship centres began in 1963 in Vancouver
    • by mid-1960s support organizations across BC
    • early – place to socialize and receive emotional support
    • now – providing service in employment, abuse and family support, legal services, cultural retention
education
EDUCATION
  • education always been important to First Nations people
    • despite inequities, discrimination and violence of system, have understood need to participate in Cdn system to successfully participate in Cdn society
    • economic impact on education and training
  • for generations, control of education removed from First Nations
    • shared by federal government and churches
    • 1950s into public schools
      • difference between integration and transference
        • integration must respect racial and cultural differences, blending of both
        • transference expects First Nations students to give up identity, adopt new values and lifestyles
      • province provided educational services, but Dept of Indian Affairs still responsible for funding
        • First Nations no say in funding distribution

St. Michael’s Indian Residential School at Alert Bay, BC

slide12

1972 release “Indian Control of Indian Education”

      • produced by National Indian Brotherhood
      • outlined philosophy, goals, principles, and directions for First Nations students educational programme
      • emphasized pride, understanding other Cdns, harmonizing with nature
      • 1973 greater control by First Nations as policies from report
  • long way to go before goals achieved
    • some positive steps taken
    • some bands taken control of education in communities
      • operating own schools on reserves
      • more control over funding off reserves
slide13

1987 Sullivan Report – BC education survey

    • critical of public school failure to achieve equality for Aboriginal students
    • government initiated changes
      • Local Education Agreements
      • special funding for Aboriginal language and cultural programmes
      • creation new branch Ministry of Education – Aboriginal Education Branch
      • creation and development of BC First Nations Studies course
  • First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)
    • provincial First Nations collective organization
      • facilitates communication and support for First Nations educators
      • communicating with federal and provincial governments
      • publications by First Nations educators
      • goal of putting control of Aboriginal education into hands of Aboriginal communities
slide14

BC Teachers Federation to better serve First Nations students

    • increased awareness in racism and inclusiveness
    • Employment Equity Program to recruit, retain and support Aboriginal teachers
  • UBC and SFU offer undergraduate and graduate programmes to train First Nations teachers
    • UBC offer graduate programme of First Nations ancestry
      • advanced research in important issues facing First Nations education

Native Indian Teacher Training Program at UBC

First Nations University of Canada in Saskatchewan

slide15

pre-school experience

    • unique, culturally relevant programmes
    • Aboriginal Headstart a federal programme
      • language and culture
      • foundations for reading and writing
      • health and nutrition
      • social support for family
      • parental involvement
  • formal education
    • public school or band-run school
      • immersion schools
  • post-secondary
    • special courses aimed at First Nations students
    • Institute of Indigenous Government in Vancouver
      • in partnership with UBC
    • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
      • with University College of the Cariboo
    • En’owkin Center in Penticton
    • extending education controlled by Aboriginal people
language renewal
LANGUAGE RENEWAL
  • language is central to survival of First Nations cultures
    • conveys meaning and ways of thinking that can’t be translated
    • 1991 census – 12% Aboriginal people in BC speak an Aboriginal language
      • 35% would like to learn
      • many languages considered endangered
  • factors contributing to decline
    • effects of residential schools (most significant)
    • aspects of mainstream culture
      • English in the workplace
      • tv and radio
  • no practical need to learn
slide17

powerful cultural need

    • linked to identity
      • symbol of who you are and connects to roots
  • taking action
    • programme development in schools
    • some approved for credit as second language from high school and into college
    • Language Authorities
      • fluent speakers that are able to teach without completing a Teaching Degree
      • establish criteria to certify proficient speakers
      • acts as advisors to develop language programmes and supports their use
      • authority for creating new vocabulary
        • modern technology has objects only in English
    • schools can make a difference, but in families and communities the most significant changes occur

October 4, 2007, Honourable Olga Ilich, Minister of Labour and Citizens’Services, announced a $250,000 grant to help preserve B.C. First Nations languages. The FirstVoices project provides necessary support to digitally archive First Nations languages, some of which are currently known only among a few elders. The interactive teaching tools can be accessed online, as seen demonstrated by this Saanich Nation student.