Aboriginal Youth: Interview/Outreach Program Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Native Americans Type: Essay Paper: #28379972 Related Topics: Peacekeeping, Intermediate Accounting, Youth, Indigenous People
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Inuit, Metis and the First Nations which are three distinct groups constitutionally recognized comprises the Aboriginal population of Canada. Every one of them has their peculiar needs and characteristics, for instance the First Nations has over 50 individual groupings, the Inuit have a variety of different dialects while the Metis speak several languages although they have their specific language known as Michif. Instead of having their specific circumstances looked at in the context of Pan- Aboriginal perspective that lays emphasis on their present health needs and historical differences, the Aborigines of Canada expect their linguistic and cultural diversity to be affirmed and recognized by all. The reference "Aborigines" has derogatory connotations from the colonial legacy and is therefore frowned upon. They prefer the terms Inuit and Metis, the First Nations or Indigenous to refer to each of the distinctive groups. In this report the terms are interchangeably applied.

Aboriginal Populations in Urban Centers

Amongst the Inuit and Metis or the First Nations in urban centers, presently many of the FNIM populations dwelling in urban locations are a rapidly growing chunk of the indigenous people. Statistical figures from Canada indicate that the percentage of indigenous populations dwelling in urban areas grew in 1996 at 47% to 49% in 2001 and by 2006 had frog-leapt to 54%. A recently conducted key research of the urban life of the Aborigines living in Canada indicates that the First Nations or Indians without recognized status and the Metis are more urbanized, accounting for 74% and 66% of all those who dwell in urban areas. Among the First Nations or Indians with recognized status, in other words those registered, about 38% are town dwellers while only less than 30% of the Inuit do the same. An independent source suggests that almost 11,000 Inuit dwell outside Nunangat - a traditional territory which is mainly in Edmonton, Yellowknife, Montreal and Ottawa-Gatineau. It is thought that the total number of Inuit living in Toronto is only 1.4% out of all the indigenous people found here (First nation Inuit and Metis report, 2012).

Urban Aborigines and racial discrimination

A survey carried out in 2006 by EKOS revealed that almost 42% of the FNIM people living outside the reserves had experienced one form of racial discrimination or the other, especially in schools where this kind of exposure accounted for 28%. The study of urban Aborigines also revealed that many of the FNIM people living in towns had also encountered racism in one form or the other (Environics 2010:10).

Among those who claim racial discrimination or some form of poor treatment, 48% of the Inuit and 50% of the First Nations people are more likely to mention negative treatment they have encountered on services related to non- Aborigines, as compared to the Metis whose level of mistreatment stands at 36%. In Toronto, discrimination is a major issue accounting for about 59% of claims made. These revelations have elements of natural repercussions for people's inclination to access services (First nation Inuit and Metis report, 2012).

Due to lack of running or portable water, the First Nations declared a state of emergency on April 15th, 2011. This was a crisis that needed a dedicated and integrated approach since it posed several potential health risks which challenged the financial resources of the community. The community's ability to access power is limited to use of generators which in most cases are not dependable because the people are not connected to the main power grid. Efforts are underway to link the community to the grid. But interestingly, out of the 170 job opportunities that existed in 2008, about 50 chances for teachers and nurses were being held by people from outside the community (First nation Inuit and Metis report, 2012).

Poverty and social impoverishment

One of the most isolated and impoverished communities of the First Nations are Pikangikum. Most residents have no plumbing or running water and they live in substandard and overcrowded quarters. Poverty is rampant, they lack water and food security, and they do not have gainful employment. Poor education even by provincial standards and a glaring lack of infrastructure in the community are peculiarly positioned challenges against a background of social exclusion; racial discrimination and colonialism are a consequence the historical injustices the peoples of the First Nations have had to endure. To worsen matters, there are no residential educational institutions. All these challenges creates a disturbed youthful generation caught between a state of cultural and social disorientation and the First Nations' traditional and cultural origins as opposed to the norms of the

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The report of the North/South Partnership for Children captures the environmental challenges facing the people of the First Nations. This report indicated that the community experienced great economic, infrastructural, health social, and governance and community capacity deficits. These are major deficiencies which compound up on each other, are linked and are not amenable to any quick fix solutions (Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation, 2006-2008, n.d).

The Police and the experiences of the youth

Although the youth view police officers as role models, and even though the officers themselves are aware of the problems the youth are facing, nothing much is being done to help them. However, the first urban police in Canada to establish a distinct and separate unit to address the challenging needs of the Aboriginal youths is the Metropolitan Toronto Police. However, cultural and historical factors still prevent the Aborigines from taking advantage of the full range of the police services at their disposal (Aboriginal peacekeeping unit, n.d).

Suicides and issues of identity

Several young people from the NishnawbeAski community are caught in cultural cross-roads of an identity crisis. They don't seem to fit anywhere and they suffer from a lack of a sense of belonging. The media exposes them to lavish and trendy lifestyles while they are in school, or while they temporarily travel to urban centers, but when they think of the extreme poverty and dereliction in which their families live, they are torn apart by the object reality they see. Although they are referred to as Indians, they know pretty well that they are not, and although they know that the land and its resources should provide them with a lifeline, they Is absolutely nothing in the media or the mainstream education system to help them make this much needed connection. Every day, they are confronted with the question as to why they exist and who they truly are. When the emotional, physical and sexual abuses which are intergenerational as a consequence of identity loss and residential education are thrown into the mix, then it should not come as a surprise that some young indigenous people prefer the option of committing suicide than endure such extreme instances of humiliation. Suicide therefore comes as a sweet and acceptable alternative in the absence of any hope of relief from this vicious circle of sexual and physical abuse, racial and social discrimination and the never ending chain of poverty (Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation, 2006-2008, n.d).

Economic indices of social well-being

The social and economic conditions under which people live are the social determinants of health. The present Aborigine conceptions of social determinants of health status encompasses but are not limited to: physical environment, income levels and employment, health status, food security and education. Aspects such as cultural continuity, environmental stewardship, resources and capacities, education system, community infrastructure and health care system are some of the intermediate determinants of health. Self-determination, social exclusion, racism and colonialism are distal determinants of health (Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation, 2006-2008, n.d).

Education as a key social determinant of health

Such basic and rudimentary things like hook-up to a safe and viable sewerage system, availability of safe drinking water in every home, and access to a dependable power grid would form readily practical and tangible goals. The issues this would address include lack of pit latrines and the use of pit privies in place of toilets, lack of water in homes and use of unreliable diesel generators to supply power. Education is, however, the most important of all the social determinants of health. There is no bigger barrier that poses obstacles to social well-being, general health, mental health and prevention of suicide rates among the Pinkangikum than the poor education system they have. Most of the children sniff solvents and do not go to school, while the few, who do so, do not get the quality of education that can adequately prepare them for the grim challenges that exist outside their community. Nearly all of them fail to get places in post-secondary institutions of learning (Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation, 2006-2008, n.d).

Healthcare services

The members of the First Nations who reside in reserves access their health service needs from many…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation, 2006-2008 (n.d).

First nation Inuit and Metis report (2012) Aboriginal Research for the Community Action Research -- Community Integration Leader Project.

Aboriginal peacekeeping unit (n.d). Retrieved from: www.torontopolice.on.ca/.../aboriginalunit.pdf


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