Most see the attention and money currently going toward these issues as ineffective
By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
June 7, 2018 – The Trudeau government has made a commitment since the 2015 election to reset the relationship with First Nations.
But the challenges of this relationship – and how Canadians perceive it – are detailed in a new study from the Angus Reid Institute that finds residents more likely to say Trudeau is paying “too much” attention to Indigenous issues, rather than “too little”.
Further complicating this issue for policy-makers, Canadians – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike – are deeply divided about some fundamental questions regarding the first human inhabitants of this land.
From Indigenous self-government, to the legacy of residential schools, to the unique status of Indigenous Canadians, people in the country voice significant disagreement about the path forward.
These divisions manifest themselves across the general population. While most Canadians agree that the attention and money currently being devoted to Indigenous issues in Canada is not particularly effective, they vary wildly in their perspectives about how to change this status quo.
Despite this tension, six-in-ten Canadians (61%) say they have optimism about the future of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
More Key Findings:
- Amid a vote by parliament to extend an invitation to the Pope to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools, 53 per cent of Canadians say Canada is too focused on apologies for this legacy, while 47 per cent say it is important and cannot be ignored
- Social issues, such as violence and alcohol abuse are at the top of the list of concerns facing First Nations communities. Seven-in-ten Indigenous (68%) and three-quarters of non-Indigenous Canadians (75%) say this
- Despite a number of concerns over poor quality of life for many living on reserves in Canada, three-quarters of Canadians say that reserves can succeed, given the proper level of investment
- But on spending, 28 per cent of Canadians say the government has not put enough money into Indigenous issues, while one-in-three (33%) lean the other way, saying the government has allocated too many resources in this area
- Half of Canadians (47%) say that Indigenous people have an inherently unique status in Canada because their ancestors were here first, while half disagree (53%), saying there should be no special status for Indigenous people in modern Canada