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Food Insecurity Among Indigenous People in Canada

The reported population of indigenous identity in Canada is more than 1.6 million, constituting all over 4.9 per cent of the Canadian population. There are several issues identified in the indigenous population in Canada. In the year 2019, 49 per cent of the non-indigenous people are recognised to be suffering from food insecurity due to the lower income, which is not enough to cover their desired food expenses (Sawchuk, 2018).

A census of 2016 has also reported that more than half of the indigenous population live in the cities and metropolitan areas. Even after the increased rate of the indigenous population in Canada, the rate of employment is lesser. Also, the income of the indigenous people remains lower than the non-indigenous population.

The colonial governments have laid the imposition of the European education style to eliminate the movement of the families for farther away. The incorporation of the traditional education of these people was supposed to be assimilated by the useful techniques of observation, education, group socialisation and participation in the community ceremonies. The schools have been changed to achieve an effective educational system in the aboriginal places so that formal education can be provided for the growth of the indigenous people (Michelle et al., 2018).

A large population (according to the 2016 census) live in dwelling and overcrowded areas, which require immediate repairs but are not able to afford the services. For example, if the non-indigenous population constitute a per cent average of 8.5 of the overcrowded population, the indigenous population is carrying over 18.5 per cent of the population. The most common issues of the Canadian indigenous populations are inadequate heating, contaminated water, and bug infestations.

The health status of the indigenous people is also lacking behind, with four times more infant mortality cases in the Canadian non-indigenous population. The rate of tuberculosis is 290 times more than the native people. Among the health issues, many people commit suicide because of the health and employment issues that make the indigenous people lag behind in terms of social, cultural, and generational dislocation, leading the people in depression conditions. Social inequity, international trauma, historical losses, cultural disruption, mental illness, and early childhood diversity are the major causes of suicides that are the cumulative risks. The disease characteristics have also been increased in the indigenous people due to the higher rates of urbanisation in Canada, which raised the cases of diabetes, HIV, and other contagious diseases (Dery, 2014).

The highest risk factor in Canadian indigenous people is that most of the indigenous people are presented as offenders and inmates. The indigenous people are at a higher risk of getting the strictest punishments to form those actions, which are very common among non-indigenous people, and no actions are taken against the native people. A report of 2016-2017 has accounted for over 27 per cent of the indigenous people getting incarceration and constitute over 20 per cent of the total imprisoned population, whereas only 4.9 per cent of cases have been reported against the imprisoned population of the Canadian people.

However, after Gladue imprisonment case of 1999, when the innocent person was imprisoned and tortured a lot, the landmark supreme court of Canada ordered to consider the background of the indigenous offenders. The order was made regarding their sentencing decisions which were based on section 718.2(e), to direct the alternatives to improve their health conditions and to treat their unfair and inhumane conditions (Asmundson et al., 2020). 

References

Asmundson, G. J., Blackstock, C., Bourque, M. C., Brimacombe, G., Crawford, A., Deacon, S. H., & Campbell-Yeo, M. (2020). Easing the disruption of COVID-19: supporting the mental health of the people of Canada—October 2020—an RSC Policy Briefing. Facets, 5(1), 1071-1098.

Dery, H. (2014). Issues and Trends to 2020: Library and Archives Canada's Contribution to the Canadian Archives Summit. Canadian Issues, 30.

Michelle Filice. (2018). Education of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Sawchuk, J. (2018). Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The Canadian Encyclopedia.

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