Youth Programs

Current Reality

2016 Census Data

  • 29.2% of First Nations people were 14 years of age or younger in 2016, over four times the proportion of those 65 years of age and older (6.4%).
  • 22.3% of Métis people were 14 years of age or younger, compared with 8.7% who were 65 years of age and older.
  • 33% of Inuit were 14 years of age or younger, while 4.7% were 65 years of age and older.                      

Aboriginal population has grown by 42.5% since 2006 – more than 4x the growth rate for the non-indigenous population now equal to 4.9% of Canada’s total population. Past increases were 2.8% in 1996, 3.8% in 2006.

Wayne K. Spears opens the book Full Circle by contextualizing the beginnings of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation as a time of “extraordinary unrest”, quoting previous National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Georges Erasmus: 

Youth Perceptions haven’t changed in 30 years

“Sadly, as we head towards the 1990s, we, the people of the First Nations, have to admit that our relations with Canadian government have never been worse. Our rising expectations of recent decades, our hopes for a better future, have unfortunately turned out to be illusory, shattered by the grim reality that governments…are still not ready to work honestly with us to resolve issues that have been outstanding for centuries.” 

Almost 30 years later, despite many apologies and acknowledgements, countless reports and recommendations, and an overwhelming use of the word ‘reconciliation’ by the Canadian government today, many Indigenous people, especially Indigenous youth, still remain skeptical, if not completely disillusioned, by the notion of reconciliation.

“Indigenous Youth Voices. A Roadmap to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action # 66. June 2018”

Call to Action

Call to Action # 66Multi-year funding for community-based youth programs

Current and Ongoing Problems

Lack of political leadership and lack of awareness of Indigenous issues among the general population

July 9, 2019 – Environics Research released “Youth Reconciliation Barometer 2019, Final Report”.  Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth identified a number of barriers to reconciliation, notably:

  • myths and stereotypes about what Indigenous Peoples receive from Canada
  • a lack of political leadership to implement real change, and 
  • too little understanding among non-Indigenous people.

The national survey reveals how Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada view the future and reconciliation between their peoples.

The first of its kind, the Canadian Youth Reconciliation Barometer charts the state of reconciliation among youth in Canada (ages 16 to 29) through their attitudes, aspirations, priorities, and experiences. Only a minority of non-Indigenous Canadians view Indigenous Peoples as possessing unique rights that differentiate them from other ethnic or cultural groups in Canada, or are certain that resource development on Indigenous lands should not proceed in the absence of consent from the Indigenous Peoples concerned. It thus appears that the support within Canadian society of specific steps to advance reconciliation is not always underpinned by an awareness of the different constitutional and legal realities that affect the status of the country’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. 

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