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Aboriginal Issues

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Aboriginal Issues Essay

As I read the articles about the aboriginal people what stood out to me and impressed me the most was the over representation of Aboriginal people in our Canadian prison system. A shocking statistic that I read was that 2.8% of the Canadian population is Aboriginal but they account for 18% of our federal prison inmates. Aboriginal people have been faced with so many historic inequities such as being forced to move to reserves with almost none of the basic infrastructures needed to run a functioning society. Having their children taken from their families and put in abusive residential schools, being forced to learn and live by a foreign culture and beliefs as well as being faced with racial discrimination and having their rights ignored. Due to the history of injustice and discrimination aboriginal people have experienced higher unemployment rates and lower incomes leading to lives of poverty, substance abuse, and family violence. I think that the residential schools play a big role in the problems some of the Aboriginal people faced because when they took young children who had learned only a small amount of their families cultures and tried to teach them western cultures and beliefs. As well some of the children were sexually traumatized and beaten, which likely caused a lot of confusion and difficulties growing up.

In my opinion because of all the injustice in the past there is a huge lack of trust that the aboriginal people have with the Canadian government and our criminal justice system. In 1996 the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples wrote a report that concluded that people who attended these residential schools should have their voices heard and be respected. After the RCAP's report came the Gathering Strength, Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan which showed the Canadian government's part in the residential schools and what is being done to fix it. I think this helped the over 80,000 aboriginal people who attended these schools and their families better cope with the past injustices and was a step toward mending these issues.

There were several readings that were particularly interesting including an online article titled Social Challenges: The Well-Being of Aboriginal People which mainly talked about the overrepresentation of aboriginal people in our criminal justice system and why this happened. Another Article that I found quite interesting was the Backgrounder from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada which focuses on giving Aboriginal people affected by the residential schools a voice and showing the involvement of the Canadian government in these issues.

Citations:

Backgrounder: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2013 from http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3

Centre for Social Justice: Key Issues: Aboriginal Issues. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2013 from http://www.socialjustice.org/index.php?page=aboriginal-issues

Canadian Council on Social Development: Social Challenges: The Well-being of Aboriginal People. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2013 from http://www.ccsd.ca/cpsd/ccsd/c_ab.htm…...

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