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FNMI Canadian Fact Sheet

Brief history of FNMI communities in Canada
by

Helen Malek

on 4 October 2012

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Transcript of FNMI Canadian Fact Sheet

FNMI Communities in Canada A Brief History As a society we have a “lack of understanding …of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures, histories, and perspectives.
First Nations: refered to as such because they were here FIRST. Indigenous people of Canada.
Metis: refers to First Nations peoples of Aboriginal and French decent.
Inuit: indigenous peoples of Northern Canada. "As of 2001, 976,305 people in Canada identified themselves as Aboriginal (3% of Canadians). Seventy percent of Aboriginal people live off reserve; 62% identify themselves as Indian, 30% as Métis and 4% as Inuit. Canada's aboriginal population is diverse in ancestry, history and culture. There are 630 First Nations (Bands), comprising 52 Nations or cultural groups and more than 50 languages." (www.ccsa.ca) Currently facing many challenges stemming from a long history of systemic problems:
-appropriated lands
-trading of guns
-loss of cultural traditions with incoming new technology (language, beliefs, traditions)
-residential schooling
-discrimination (from early to modern age) Residential Schools:
-19th century, Canadian govt assumed responsibility for educating First Nations peoples.
-Goal was "aggressive assimilation": full immersion into mainstream Canadian culture
-attendance of FNMI children was mandatory
-Language and traditions were eradicated through harsh discipline; children were abused if they spoke native language, hair was cut, customs were wiped out.
-Conditions were substandard, and children were emotionally, physically, and sexually abused
-Based on discrimination towards "savage" culture as Canadians saw it; fear of the unknown, misunderstanding of culture
-Last residential school closed only in 1996
-When children returned to tribes on reserves, were isolated, alone, often rejected due to lack of knowledge of traditional language and culture
-Could no longer help parents with traditional hunting/textile/navigational/etc skills
-Became ashamed of Native heritage due to treatment in the schools
-Partly contributor to lasting impact of substance abuse, poverty, cultural void, and suicide Reserves:
-Many FNMI people live on reserves
-Canada's way of allowing First Nations part of what was originally their land
-Now facing deep social problems on the reserves as a result of isolation, and residential schooling
-Self-governing bodies struggle to balance Tradition with Canadian Law Discrimination:
-adds to complexities of problems
-false ideas and beliefs about FNMI communities in Canada prevents finding solutions
-Misunderstanding and unawareness perpetuates stereotypes
-Many efforts made to give voice to this community and draw awareness, and reestablish their culture and heritage
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