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Reconciliation Matters

Cedar Park United, in response to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, has committed to engage in meaningful education, awareness-raising, and action with regard to the healing of relationships between Canada’s aboriginal and settler peoples. This post was prepared by the Social Justice Ministry  “TRC working group.”

Why Should I care? The opportunities for Aboriginal people and communities in Canada to build economic independence and improve their quality of life have never been greater than now.  Unfortunately, they are often hampered in the timely pursuit of these by a lack of capacity,  lack of adequate infrastructure, an inadequate and underfunded education system, an Indian Act which causes dysfunction and which creates dependencies of all kinds, and the legacy of Residential Schools.  Aboriginal Canadians represent the fasting growing demographic in Canada and 50% are under the age of 25.  Canada needs a happy, healthy and productive Aboriginal population who will participate and contribute to the growth and well being of our nation.   If we do not help and support our Aboriginal brothers and sisters in finding and implementing solutions to those issues impeding their progress and enable them to seize the opportunities before them, all of the peoples of Canada will be the poorer for it. The challenges will only get bigger and more difficult to overcome.  Now is the right time for us to engage and be part of the solution by being aware and being proactive in support of this agenda where opportunities arise.  It is the “right” thing to do. How can I become engaged, informed, involved?

a) Presentation:  Wednesday February 26th 7 PM at Cedar Park United. Come to hear Nakuset, Executive Director of Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal  speak on The Resilience of Urban Aboriginals.

b) Bring supplies needed by the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal: toothbrushes, toothpaste, personal hygiene products, toiletry essentials.“HE” laundry detergent, floor cleaner, Windex, infant diapers, pull ups,  women’s and children’s underwear, socks, gloves, toques.

c)  Join with Cedar Park Youth in Action (Free the Children) Group and sign up for the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative “ Together We Stand”  information blitz  at  beginning February 24th

d) Use your Netflix account to watch “We Were Children.”  (Award winning film about the impact of Canadian Aboriginal Residential Schools)

e)Join the Cedar Park United “TRC working group” (contact Terry Taylor:



FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS NATION, and INUIT in CANADA HISTORY 101: • First Nations and Inuit Peoples were the first Aboriginal groups in Canada • 53 distinct languages are spoken by Aboriginal Peoples; many of these languages are found only in Canada • First Nations People lived in all areas of Canada; Inuit People lived and settled throughout the Northern regions of Canada • Early French fur traders and English traders married First Nations women, and their descendants are the people of the Métis Nation When Europeans arrived in Canada, they began to make treaties with Aboriginal peoples • The treaties required Aboriginal People to give up their lands in exchange for certain rights and benefits • Most of the treaties included land reserves to be used by First Nations People • In 1960, Aboriginal People were given the right to vote in Canada • Residential and industrial trade schools were established by the federal government • Over 150,000 students attended between 1870s and 1990s • Last residential school in Ontario closed in 1992 • Purpose to eliminate parental involvement in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of Aboriginal children • In 1920, attendance was made mandatory • Operated by religious organizations (majority were Anglican and Roman Catholic)

POPULATION STATS (2011 Canadian census) • 1,400,685 people identified themselves as Aboriginal • The Aboriginal population has grown faster than non-Aboriginal. There was a population increase of 20% between 2006 and 2011, compared with 5% for the non-Aboriginal population • Aboriginal population is made up of: First Nations: 61%, Métis: 33%, Inuit: 4% • The Aboriginal population is significantly younger than the non-Aboriginal. 50% were under 25 years of age • 80% of Aboriginal people live in Ontario, BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan • 34% of Aboriginal people live in five cities: Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto • 22% of Aboriginal people live on-reserve • The Aboriginal population could reach between 1.7 million and 2.2 million in 2031, Aboriginal Peoples would then represent approximately 5.3% of the Canadian population, compared to 4.3% in 2011

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