Bolder Action Needed to Give Aboriginal Children and Youth a Decent Life

by NationTalk on September 18, 20071052 Views

OTTAWA, Sept. 18 – A new report released today concludes that bolder, more innovative government action is needed to give Aboriginal children and youth a decent chance in life.

The report, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Children and Youth: Time to Act, was prepared by the National Council of Welfare (NCW), a federal advisory body, to draw attention not only to the discrimination and poverty faced by many Aboriginal children and youth but also to the many success stories. It combines statistical evidence with interviews with Aboriginal women and men who work with children and youth. The report notes that Council members, in the process of researching the report, were astounded at the patience of Aboriginal people and themselves felt a sense of frustration and impatience for bolder action. Council Chairperson Dr. John Rook stresses that “Aboriginal women and men are at the centre of creating a better life for their children and young people and they are finding solutions that work. Governments need to act now and in new ways, to genuinely work with Aboriginal people and support them more fully in their own decisions about what is needed.”

The Council encourages Canadians to build understanding and support for Aboriginal peoples. As Dr. Rook says, “this makes Canada a better place for all of us.” The Council also urges government action that includes: a comprehensive national anti-poverty strategy, with specific vision and accountability to Aboriginal peoples; immediate investment in basic needs for today’s children and youth, and in other programs and policies that are making a difference, and; greater effort to build fair, sustainable governance frameworks in the interests of a better quality of life for all Aboriginal women, men and children.

In the Council’s report, a two-fold picture of the prospects for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children emerges. One is a portrait of Aboriginal children and young people often still caught in a legacy of colonialism, racism and exclusion. Their developmental years are fraught with high rates of poverty and its related causes and consequences from health problems, poor housing and educational difficulties to astounding numbers of children taken into state care and of youth in trouble with the law or victims of violent crime. The other side of the portrait shows progress, even in the face of these obstacles. Aboriginal individuals, families, organizations and communities are finding solutions, acting as role models, developing successful programs and providing the keys that restore hope for future generations.

The report is available at http://www.ncwcnbes.net.

The NCW is an independent body established to advise the federal government on issues related to poverty and social development. For further information, please contact Claudette Mann at claudette.mann@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca or:

National Council of Welfare
112 Kent Street, 9th Floor
Place de Ville, Tower B
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0J9

Telephone: (613) 957-2961
Fax: (613) 957-0680

For further information: Claudette Mann, National Council of Welfare, (613) 957-2961, Fax: (613) 957-0680, claudette.mann@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca

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