'It's a Canadian issue': Nearly half of Indigenous children in poverty
On a hot July day, the North Central Family Centre is quiet, as staff and children are gone to the beach. The centre is usually bustling with inner-city families, many of which are struggling just to get by.
“We're often finding children hungry. They're just trying to find ways to survive here and you can see that in them every day,” said Jamiy Moran, North Central Family Centre’s employment coordinator.
Moran is Metis. She hasn't dealt with poverty herself, however she knows many who do.
“I have other family members who have, and I've seen that,” Moran said. “I've seen the struggle and I've seen the pain.”
Nearly half of Indigenous children in Canada live in poverty, according to a report released on Tuesday, as the country's premiers gathered on Big River First Nation for an annual meeting.
“According to the United Nations’ human development index, Canada is rated 12th in terms of quality of life. But for First Nations people, we're 72. So it's 12 versus 72,” said Assembly of First Nations chief Perry Bellegarde on Tuesday.
The report also finds little evidence that the poverty situation has improved over the last decade.
Published by the Upstream Institute, and written by researchers at the AFN and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the study found that 47 per cent of First Nations children on and off reserve live in poverty. That figure rises to 53 per cent when looking at First Nations children living on reserves
Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe said the leaders discussed child and family services across the nation at Tuesday's meeting. He said the AFN’s report gave some valuable insight.
“We have a number of child and family service agreements with our tribal councils across the province. They are working well, but there's much more room for improvement as we move forward,” Moe said.
Moran said she hopes all levels of government take the facts brought to light by the report, and make meaningful changes for with those that need it most.
“It's a Canadian issue, it's a national issue,” Moran said. “It's not just an indigenous issue.”