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Canada and the Culture Wars: Majority say legacy of colonialism still a problem, two-in-five disagree 

October 5, 2023

Deep divisions over continued challenges from residential schools, special status for Indigenous Peoples

Angus Reid Institute Poll Survey Results

October 5, 2023 – Canada was officially proclaimed a dominion by the British in 1867, but this land’s history extends thousands of years prior. For most in this country, the legacy of first contact between Indigenous Peoples and early settlers continues to be real problem for modern society to solve, but approach to and resolution of this issue remain a source of strife.

Take the Cultural Mindset Quiz Here

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute explores Canadians’ views on the legacy of colonialism, the harm of residential schools and the status of Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the fourth part in the Canada and the Culture Wars series.

These data find a majority of residents recognize colonialism has left unresolved discord in the relationship between Canada and First Nations.

* One-in-five (19%) say this legacy is a huge problem to be dealt with,
* while one-in-three (35%) say that this is a problem among many others.
* A significant minority see less of an issue (40%).
* Indigenous respondents are more likely to say this is a problem (61%), but are far from unanimous, with
* one-in-three (34%) disagreeing.

In the week following the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, many Canadians are likely more aware of these discussions.

Overall, 55 per cent of Canadians say Indigenous Peoples should have an inherently unique status due to their presence in these lands before colonizers.

* This group is led by young women (74%), those with a university education (65%) and
* those who voted for the Liberals (64%) and New Democrats (75%) in the previous federal election.
* On the other side of this, 45 per cent say that Indigenous Peoples should have no special status. * This group is more likely to be comprised of older men (59%) and 2021 Conservative voters (68%).

Notably, those who identify as Indigenous are more likely than the general population to feel that special status is warranted, with 62 per cent saying so.

Other contentious issues divide Canadians along Angus Reid Institute’s Culture Mindsets spectrum (take the Canadian Culture Mindsets Quiz here to see where you fit). Whether it’s removing names of those who helped to build the residential schools from public buildings or giving more attention and resources to addressing the legacy of the schools, Canadians are widely divided, with Zealous Activists in support of action and assistance, Defiant Objectors largely in opposition.

Link to the poll, and more key findings, here: