First Nations child poverty unacceptable, chronic underfunding to blame

June 19, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, MB _ A new report on child poverty in Canada has several recommendations to help eradicate poverty among First Nations, including “Redress urgent, continued, systemic and colonial underfunding causing ongoing crises in education, housing, food insecurity and the provision of clean and safe drinking water free from assimilative efforts by government.”

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs agrees that the federal government needs to create a new relationship with First Nations to address the chronic underfunding of First Nation citizens in the province.

“Many of our programs, including housing and education are based on 1999 statistics when the population was less than 800,000, but our population has more than doubled and the funding has not increased,” said Grand Chief Dumas.

“Imagine if provincial transfer payments were based on outdated statistics for non-Indigenous people. Would everyone be okay with that? I doubt it.”
According to the Campaign 2000 report 17.4 per cent of the over 1.2 million children in Canada live in poverty. Those numbers climb rapidly to 37.9 per cent of First Nations children who live in poverty.

“This is completely unacceptable. Our children, like all of our citizens, have rights. They deserve equality and this is an injustice that has been going for decades, and the only time it becomes front page news is when a report come out with what we have been saying for years,” said Grand Chief Dumas.

“We know what we need to be healthy. True nation-to-nation relationships with economic reconciliation is necessary to reduce and eliminate poverty for First Nations children in Manitoba.”

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs supports any actions to elevate the well-being of our children and increase their chances of success and healthy living.