Federal COVID-19 Strategy for Aboriginal Peoples is Flawed
(Prince Albert, SK – March 18, 2020) Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Government of Canada will provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund, to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities. The distinctions-based approach at the heart of the strategy is a flawed approach, since the majority of Aboriginal peoples now live off reserve and in urban communities.
In Saskatchewan, the majority of Métis in the province do not belong to the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan (MN-S). Among points worth remembering is the fact that the 2016 Census reported that there were 57,800 self-identifying Métis in the province; however, only 10,000 Métis are on the registry of the MN-S. The COVID-19 strategy for Aboriginal peoples needs to be reshaped and recast, to ensure that the strategy is fair and effective.
“We appreciate the Government of Canada’s ongoing strong support for Aboriginal peoples, but using the distinctions-based approach during the COVID-19 crisis is continuing to advance discrimination and disadvantage at a time when all Aboriginal people are vulnerable,” said John Hanikenne, President of the Coalition of Aboriginal Peoples of Saskatchewan.
CAPS is a political advocacy organization representing the rights and interests of status and non-status Indians living off-reserve and Métis. Founded in 2006, CAPS is an affiliate member of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which is one of the five national representative Aboriginal organizations in Canada.
For more information contact:
John Hanikenne, President
Coalition of Aboriginal Peoples of Saskatchewan