May 19, 2021
Access to Education for Inuit Youth
Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse – Considering the limited availability of residential care units for youth in Nunavik, Inuit youth must leave their communities to receive rehabilitation services. Two media articles reporting that Inuit youth could not speak their language in rehabilitation centers prompted the Commission to launch an investigation. The investigation initially concerned the right of Inuit youth to speak their language as well as the social services they receive while in the residential care of the CIUSSS-de-l’Ouest-de- l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-ODIM). However, the Commission soon realized that youth residing in these facilities were deprived of a formal education, as were youth residing in units under the governance of the Ungava Tulattavik Health Center in Dorval.
For this reason, the scope of the investigation was expanded to include their right to education. The investigation focused on the following areas:
- The cultural safety of Inuit youth from Nunavik placed under the residential care of the CIUSSS-ODIM
- The use of language
- Cultural and social isolation: obstacles to exercising cultural rights
- Rehabilitation services
- Cultural competence and clinical tools
- The right to rehabilitation services in their communities
- Access to education in English of Inuit youth placed in residential care
- Obstacles to access to education in English and lack of schooling
- The limits of the legal framework
- The cultural safety of Aboriginal students
- Final considerations
The current investigation demonstrates a series of actions and omissions and institutional practices on the part of the different actors involved which led to the exclusion of Inuit children in residential care from the formal education system as well as a chronic violation of their right to education and to the full development of their human and cultural potential.
May 3, 2021
Alberta: Human Rights Strategy
The Alberta Human Rights Commission has released a “draft” Indigenous Human Rights Strategy to reduce systemic racism that Indigenous individuals and communities face in health, education, child welfare, housing, and justice (including policing and corrections) systems. Research, data, and information collected from consultations with key stakeholders indicate that systemic racism—in the health, education, child welfare, housing, and justice (including policing and corrections) systems—is a major issue facing Indigenous Peoples in Alberta. The overarching goals of this strategy are:
1. To help address and reduce systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in health, education, child welfare, housing, and justice (including policing and corrections) systems.
2. To work with communities throughout Alberta to address the racism and discrimination Indigenous people encounter in their day-to-day lives.
3. To build capacity and knowledge within and across the Commission to ensure we can serve Indigenous individuals and communities with respect. This must address the accessibility of our processes, relevance of our educational material, and our awareness of the lived experiences of Indigenous Peoples, in all their diversity.
4. To strengthen and expand Commission’s relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations.
May 13, 2020
Premier Pallister ignores Métis and First Nations contribution to Manitoba History
Premier Pallister missed a golden opportunity to advance reconciliation by deliberately choosing to ignore the contribution of the Métis and First Nations peoples to the founding of Manitoba and its entry into the newly formed confederation of Canada. “Manitoba” derived from the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine languages means “straits of Manitou, the Great Spirit”. (Canadian Encyclopedia). Louis Riel, the Métis leader, brought Manitoba into Canada in 1870. He also led the northwest rebellion after Canada reneged on land promises it made in return for Manitoba’s entry info confederation.
What better forum to advance reconciliation than the 150th anniversary of Manitoba’s entry into Confederation to celebrate the leadership of Louis Riel, the Métis leader and the First Nations who made up the original inhabitants of Manitoba. In a province where Indigenous people make up 18% of the population according to the 2016 census, Pallister could have taken the opportunity to celebrate Indigenous people. What a missed opportunity to change perceptions, combat negative stereotypes and use the opportunity to move reconciliation forward. Instead he has chosen to further entrench negative bias and white privilege in a province where according to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs:
- 74% of incarcerated men are Indigenous
- 82% of youth in custody are Indigenous
- over 90% of children in the child welfare system are Indigenous
- the highest rates of child poverty at 75 per cent;
- highest rate of police-involved deaths of Indigenous people at 60 per cent; and
- one of the highest rates of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls at more than 50 per cent
Prime Minister Trudeau on National Indigenous Day on June 21, 2020 acknowledged the contribution of Louis Riel and the Métis people in bringing the province of Manitoba into Confederation. He also took the opportunity to recommit his government to Reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.