DEBTS TO PAY: TREATY RIGHTS AND BROKEN PROMISES
Posted by strattof on October 22, 2009
DEBTS TO PAY:
TREATY RIGHTS AND BROKEN PROMISES
All Canadians benefit from the treaties signed between First Nations and the Canadian government. Regina, for example, is situated on land ceded under Treaty 4 in 1874. Under Treaty 4, the Cree and Salteaux First Nations relinquished most of current day southern Saskatchewan. In return, they received small parcels of land and other benefits, including education, housing, and health care.
While First Nations have kept their side of the treaty agreements, the Canadian government has frequently broken the promises it made to First Nations. Here are some key facts and figures:
LAND CLAIMS: There are two types of land claims in Canada, specific and comprehensive claims. Specific claims arise from the breach or non-fulfilment of government treaty obligations. Comprehensive claims arise in areas of Canada, such as British Columbia, where Aboriginal land rights have not been dealt with by past treaties.
- There are currently between 800-1,000 unresolved specific land claims in Canada. 70 of these are in Saskatchewan.
- The 2010 Olympic Games are being held on un-ceded First Nations territories in British Columbia and are providing mining, resort, real estate, and energy developers with opportunities to continue expansion of projects on First Nations territories throughout the province.
EDUCATION: Education is the responsibility of Indian and Northern Affairs.
- Since 1996, a 2% cap on funding increases has been in place for First Nations education. The cap does not keep pace with inflation or population growth.
- First Nations students who attend school on reserves receive 30% less funding for education than other Canadian children. That’s $3,000 less per child, per annum.
- Only 20 of Saskatchewan’s 142 on-reserve schools are in good condition.
- Between 2005 and 2008, 2,100 First Nations students in Saskatchewan were denied post-secondary education grants due to the 2% cap.
HEALTH: Health services on reserves are the responsibility of Health Canada.
- The First Nations infant mortality rate is 1.5 times higher than the Canadian infant mortality rate.
- Tuberculosis rates on reserves are 8-10 times higher than those for the Canadian population.
- During the recent H1N1 outbreak, the incidence per 100,000 for the Canadian population as a whole was 20. It was 135 per 100,000 for Manitoba First Nations.
- Residents of northern Manitoba reserves waited for 17 days for H1N1 emergency supplies, including flu masks, respirators, and hand sanitizers.
HOUSING: On reserve housing is the responsibility of Indian and Northern Affairs.
- 26% of First Nations on reserve live in overcrowded houses.
- Of the almost 96,000 houses in First Nation communities, more than 21,000 (21.9%) are in need of major repairs.
- Almost 50% of First Nations households are contaminated by mould.
- Although current figures are not available, some houses in First Nations communities are without running water. Hence the urgent need for hand-sanitizers during the recent H1N1 out-break.
WATER: Safe drinking water in reserve communities is the responsibility of Health Canada.
- In 2008, 93 First Nations communities lived under either boil water advisories or “Do Not Consume” orders.
Canada has already spent $22 billion on the war in Afghanistan, yet it continues to neglect its promises to First Nations peoples
MAKING PEACE VIGIL August 20 2009