Twenty Years after MPs Promise To Eradicate Poverty: First Nations Child Poverty and Children in Care Rates Are At Crisis Levels

by NationTalk on November 25, 20091216 Views


November 23, 2009

“It’s been twenty years since Parliament unanimously agreed to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. Today, far too many of our First Nations children live in extreme poverty and all its ugly manifestations,” said National Chief Shawn Atleo, who will attend tomorrow’s breakfast with MPs and Senators to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1989 motion, and the release of the Campaign 2000 Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada.“All politicians, and all Canadians, must be reminded that the tragic circumstances faced by Indigenous peoples on a daily basis, from high suicide and incarceration rates, to missing and murdered women and children, are all rooted in poverty and despair,” said National Chief Atleo. “We all have a responsibility to make a difference and contribute to even the small steps such as ensuring access to breakfast programs and affordable healthy food so that no child goes to school hungry.”

“The long term solutions must focus on education and economic development so parents are able to work and provide for their families,” said the National Chief. “We urgently encourage the federal government to work with us to implement Treaties and agreements and to stabilize fair funding so that every community has good homes, good schools, and clean drinking water.”

Wilton Littlechild, a commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a former Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, Alberta, from 1988 to 1993.

“My grandfather, Chief Dan Minde, a leader for 33 years, once said: You will be given your community in a certain condition. While it is in your hands, do everything that you can to make it better and then proudly give it to your children — the future. When I voted in support of Mr. Broadbent’s motion, I did so in the belief that Canada would make every effort possible to eliminate the scourge of child poverty,” said Mr. Littlechild. “Today, one in four First Nations children live in poverty and nearly 30,000 are in state care — this is a national crisis. I urge today’s government, and all Canadians, to make the elimination of poverty our country’s immediate priority. We must not fail our children, our future.”

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

For more information:

Karyn Pugliese, A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 210 or cell: 613-292-1877 or e-mail kpugliese[at]

Bryan Hendry, AFN Communications
613-241-6789, ext. 229, cell 613-293-6106, or bhendry[at]

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