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Issues in Canada
The Future for Canada’s Aboriginal People
Colonial Remnants Versus Modern Nationhood
“In fact, an Indian youngster growing up in Canada has a better chance of being sent
to prison than of going to university.”
Canadian Human Rights Commission
Renegotiating Aboriginal peoples’ relationship with the Canadian government and Canadian
society is occurring alongside a renegotiation of Native identities. There are several
monumental tasks confronting Canada’s aboriginal communities. These tasks must overcome
a history of domination and paternalism, and maintain ties to ancestral knowledge and
traditions, all the while participating in a modern, ‘global’ environment.
The election of Phil Fontaine as leader of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is seen
as a conciliatory shift, away from the ‘protest politics’ of former AFN leader Matthew
Coon Come. But this should not be misconstrued as smooth sailing for the Federal government.
Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Robert Nault is committed to pushing revisions
to the Indian Act through Parliament in the near future, despite protest from many aboriginal
communities and leaders. Conflict around this issue is likely, and there is a long road
ahead for settling land claims and aboriginal rights to natural resources across the
country. The stakes are high, but finding a new equilibrium will be among the most important
issues for Canada’s future
What do you think?