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The Promise of Indigenous Youth

This article was originally created in October 2012 in the blog series "The Rise of the Fourth World" published by the Centre for Governance Innovation. Access the original post. Canadian social policies directed towards Aboriginal (First Nation, Metis and Inuit) populations have largely been developed outside of a historical, cultural framework, providing a long standing demonstration of the role of policy as a centralized mechanism of social control. Little attention has been given to the specific cultures of diverse Aboriginal communities in the design and administration of policies which are administered across Canada. Aboriginal peoples have, historically, been collectively addressed in federal policies as “the Indian Problem,” rather than recognized and addressed, as they expected, as sovereign peoples with distinct cultures. Indigenous peoples endured formidable hardships. Their populations were decimated by the introduction of old world diseases such as small pox, typhus and influenza. The demographically weakened and political marginalized Canadian Aboriginal population was further affected by national social policy. The government introduced a series of political and administrative measures designed to undercut Indigenous cultural survival, including the criminalization of spiritual and cultural practices, forced re-location, the implementation of assimilation policies which interfered with local governance, and punitive forms of ...