Excessive emphasis on the Indian problem to the exclusion of positive dimensions has the effect of framing Aboriginal people as a problem people… Aboriginal peoples are not a problem but peoples whose lives are complicated by forces beyond their control.
– Augie Fleras
How many stories about Indigenous Peoples start this way?
“The statistics paint a bleak picture of Indigenous people in Canada. Young Indigenous males with five times the national youth suicide rate; prison population eight times the national average; diabetes and tuberculosis levels at epidemic proportions; thirty percent of the children in welfare care in Canada are Indigenous, etc. etc. etc.”
Study after study gets released, listing these mind-numbing statistics, and journalists dutifully report them, to offer context to the shameful living conditions facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
Why do we repeat those statistics? Because, we witness evidence of them. Up close and personal. We travel to the reserves, full of rotten houses and lousy drinking water. We drive by Indigenous people in the inner city, struggling with drug problems.