Justin Trudeau Works on Improving the Relationship with Native Americans

by hunter_c on April 13, 2016 - 10:01pm

Justin Trudeau was elected as the Prime Minister of Canada on November 4th, 2015, and he has been working on improving the relationship between the government and the First Nations of Canada. Before that, I would like to introduce Justin Trudeau as more than just the Prime Minister of Canada. He is the eldest son of former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau and he was born on December 25th, 1971 in Ottawa. In 1994, Justin Trudeau received a Bachelor’s Degree from McGill University in English Literature and an education degree from the University of British Columbia in 1998. He is married to Sophie Grégoire and they have three children together, Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien. 

Long before Trudeau was elected, he went to go visit Theresa Spence in December 2012. The former chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation was on her hunger strike for the Idle No More movement, and to get the attention of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Justin Trudeau tweeted after his meeting with Theresa Spence saying, “It was deeply moving to meet @ChiefTheresa today. She is willing to sacrifice everything for her people. She shouldn’t have to. #IdleNoMore.”  But Trudeau’s efforts and support for the aboriginal people of Canada did not stop there, according to this CBC news article Trudeau laid out a “5-point plan” shortly after he was elected which included finding the missing aboriginal women in Quebec and to bring justice to the deceased. He was quoted saying, “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation,” at the annual Assembly of First Nations where thousands of Chiefs cheered at this declaration. He has promised that several projects discussed during his election campaign are “already underway” such as launching a national public inquiry over the missing Native women in Quebec. Furthermore, Trudeau also plans on making significant investments in First Nation’s education and lifting the 2% gap on Native American programs, which would drastically improve their education. He also plans on implementing all 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which were suggested after an extensive six-year investigation reported that over 3,000 children died in residential schools between the 1840’s and the 1990’s. With these changes, he hopes to repair the damage that has been done by previous governments. Perry Bellegarde, a national Chief said that, “The First Peoples of Canada have suffered too much, and for too long. Our people have waited in terrible conditions, suffering indignity and going without many of the basic services other Canadians take for granted," and that he urges Trudeau to “move quickly” on his promises. On December 15th, 2016, Justin Trudeau met with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Council, Native Women's Association of Canada and the AFN to further discuss aboriginal issues.

 

The interest and dedication that Justin Trudeau shows regarding aboriginal issues is crucial towards repairing some of that damage that has been done, along with stopping the cycle of horrific abuse going on in the Native American communities. As the leader of Canada, if there’s someone who can make a massive impact on these people’s lives, it’s him. His work on finding the missing women in Northern Quebec that I mentioned in an earlier piece is an excellent leap forward, along with attempting to help the Native American youth by providing a better education may stop the shocking abuse that I also wrote about in an earlier piece, and may also reduce the high percentage of anxiety disorders and addiction problems among aboriginals. The problems that he is addressing are directly linked to what I have discussed in some of my other posts, and his continued support will be needed to make significant changes in the Native American communities but it is a very good start and an outstanding step in the right direction.

 

 

Sources:

Mas, Susana. "Trudeau Lays out Plan for New Relationship with Indigenous People." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 08 Dec. 2015. Web.

"Justin Trudeau Pledges Reconciliation in Canada after Aboriginal Abuse." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Dec. 2015. Web.

Smith, Teresa. "Justin Trudeau Meets with Hunger Striking Chief Theresa Spence." National Post. 26 Dec. 2012. Web.

"Justin Trudeau." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web.