Enough for All’s Goal:
All Indigenous people are equal participants in Calgary’s prosperous future.
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The urgency of poverty among Indigenous peoples in Calgary cannot be overstated. In addition to the cultural, socio-economic, systemic and psychosocial consequences it has on a population, poverty stymies the long-term potential and progress of the individual and the larger community. The landscape and reality of poverty among Calgary’s Indigenous population has been examined in numerous reports throughout the years, each identifying a consistency of issues, concerns and recommendations.
In order to meaningfully address the unique issues facing Calgary’s Indigenous peoples, Enough for All collaborators are working intentionally with the Indigenous community to develop an Indigenous Poverty Reduction Strategy, which will be implemented as an integral component of the overall Enough for All strategy. The Enough for All Indigenous Advisory Committee, is one collaborative working on advancing the implementation of the Enough for All strategy. The Indigenous Strategy is linked with the other sections of the overall Enough for All strategy to address the issues and priorities in:
Canada ranks 25th out of 30 countries in the OECD with regards to child poverty, but more shocking is that First Nations, Métis, Inuit and non-status children are at or below 40%, with more than half of the First Nations children living below the poverty line. The cost of doing nothing will only perpetuate the multitude of current issues.
The strategy will encourage businesses and organizations to implement a living wage ($18.15/hour in Calgary as of 2016) to support Indigenous employees earning minimum wages, an amount which continues to perpetuate issues of the working poor (indigenous and non-indigenous) who work at this pay level with little or no benefits.
Indigenous people in Calgary (2010) make up less than 3% of Calgary’s population but make up 21% of the homeless population. 41% of all Indigenous homeless are women. 38% of all homeless youth are Indigenous.
Many Indigenous Calgarians live in homes that are in need of major repairs, and many homes do not have enough space for the many relatives that also live there. Rental rates are very high in Calgary. Application processes for assisted housing can present barriers to people with low literacy levels. Discrimination and waiting lists are other issues that perpetuate the problem.
Indigenous people in Canada and in Calgary are over represented in all the social determinants of health and well-being. The detrimental statistics are the direct result of the deep poverty the Indigenous people of Canada face, this social determinate leads back to the history, politics, and governance (the colonization process) that has been in effect for the past 500 years.
Recognition of the United Nations Declaration Rights of Indigenous Peoples is critical to reduce the barriers that have evolved as a result of Canada’s colonial past. The sources and domains of Indigenous Knowledge, and Ways of Being, need to be infused into all areas of education, training sectors, skill development; and the social, economic, political, spiritual, and cultural areas as indicators of health and well-being for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
The concept of reconciliation must be at the heart of all dialogues and planning, and the voices of Indigenous peoples must be heard, respected and honored. The Year of Reconciliation—March 27, 2014 to March 27, 2015—proclaimed by his worship, Mayor Naheed Nenshi marked one of the foundations of the Aboriginal Strategy. Calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will shed further insight onto the unique barriers facing Indigenous Canadians affected by the cycle of poverty. The barriers urban Indigenous peoples face today such as racism, unemployment, lack of education, low skills, and other continually contribute to the detrimental state of Being for urban and on-reserve First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Status and non-status Indians.