The history of the indigenous people in Canada is complex. Bitter, demoralizing legacies are now being brought to light. Colonization, the Indian Act, the segregation of people into restricted parcels of land called Indian Reserves, and the creation of Indian Hospitals, are just some of the realities that have left a huge and lasting negative effect on their lives. The most widespread was the ultimate national experiment in assimilation - the Indian Residential School system.
Even the churches, which should have asserted peace and justice, were complicit in eradicating local languages, cultures, spirituality and so much more.
Every compounded action resulted in severe damage to the indigenous people’s way of life, the destruction of families and communities, and most importantly the loss of their identity.
The Reality of Today
As a result of their long, disheartening history, so many indigenous people of Canada live in poverty and have poor health, subpar education and inadequate housing. Often many generations are forced to live together in crowded conditions. They have lower income levels, higher rates of unemployment and higher levels of incarceration.
Countless indigenous women have been murdered or disappeared, and there is an alarming suicide rate among the youth – the highest in the world.
Ensuring a Better Tomorrow
Northern Bridge Community Partnership realizes there is no single, sweeping solution to right the wrongs experienced by our indigenous brothers and sisters. Meaningful change will happen when more and more Canadians step forward and join hands in solidarity and service.
Northern Bridge Community Partnership is committed to standing with indigenous people as neighbours, friends and full partners. It is only then that decisions can be made that positively affect us all. Together, we are shaping programs and services, and will serve in any way we are asked.
The Staggering Truth About Our Northern Canadians
51% of youth on reserve never graduate from high school, and many must leave their communities to attend high school or post-secondary school.
Unemployment rates among indigenous people are 3 – 4 times that of non-indigenous communities.
Although Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, living conditions for indigenous communities rank among “Third World” conditions.
Those who live on-reserve are most likely to live in multi-generational, crowded, one- or two-bedroom homes, many without sewage.