A Glimpse of Life on Indigenous Reserves

We can all participate to make a difference!

Written by Tyrese Ewere

There is an entire third-world community in Canada and no one is talking about it. These communities lack sufficient funding and without individuals making a difference, these communities will ultimately perish. Life on Indigenous reserves is substandard in relation to how our current society operates. Indigenous people are the founders of this land that we call home, so why are they being treated like this? One basic explanation of why Indigenous people have been treated poorly is due to the subpar lack of funding which has led to poor infrastructure, inadequate healthcare and a lack of employment opportunities.

Unlike the majority of Canadians, members of the Indigenous community are unable to attend elementary school and pursue a higher level of education due to the lack of funding and deplorable education opportunities. Education is imperative as it leads to pathways for jobs and several opportunities which allow communities to be economically stable. Education is a fundamental right that all Canadians receive, and due to the lack of funding from the government, the percentage of Indigenous individuals who have a post-secondary degree is diminutive compared to other regions in Canada. This factor alone is contributing to the augmented unemployment rate and poor salaries of various Indigenous individuals. Many reserves do not have well-established schools or the schools have been poorly maintained, run-down and are simply unsafe for students. For example, Pikangikum First Nation just recently attained a school after years of schooling in cold, damp, and vandalized portables.

“My friend taught in Pikangikum when there was no school – only portables. Oftentimes the portables would be too cold to be in. They often did not have heat.” – Jennifer Gaweda

Healthcare is inarguably the most basic right to human identity and it is astonishing to hear that Indigenous communities do not receive the same access to it. Lack of safe drinking, sanitation, substandard housing, and expensive food is detrimental to the healthcare infrastructure. There is no reason for deplorable living conditions here in a country which is rich in resources. Compared to our health system, Indigenous communities cannot utilize proper medical equipment due to a lack of funding by the government. Making changes begins with the power of knowledge.

You may be asking yourself: but how can I make a difference? The Canadian Roots Exchange is a beneficial program that is reconciling Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The program is a youth-led charity fund that encourages young Canadian citizens to make a difference by standing in solidarity with various vulnerable Indigenous communities. Educators from various Indigenous communities establish programs for young Canadians to participate in. Through this program, educators are allowed to interact with today’s youth, voice their experiences, teach their culture and connect with today’s Canadians. The Canadian Roots Exchange Program believes in the growth and collaboration of all communities to come as one and become equal. You can make a vast difference in someone’s community!

Various youth participating in the Canadian Roots Exchange program by doing a spiritual activity

A donation link is down below so you can support and make a difference!

Donation link: https://canadianroots.ca/monetary-donations/ Learn more: https://canadianroots.ca/

Thomson, KarrieA Glimpse of Life on Indigenous Reserves