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The Social, Economic and Political Challenges Aboriginals Face in the Welfare System

The Social, Economic and Political Challenges Aboriginals Face in the Welfare System


The Canadian indigenous society has been subjected to many difficulties for centuries now.  Most of the  indigenous  persons are  forced  to  commit and  overcome  enormous and unending challenges  for the  sake  of their community  and the  nation in general.  Modernization has  not  spared  them either  and  even today  most of the indigenous  persons and particularly women and children are  disadvantaged  in the  nation (Linnit 1).  Based on statistical reports  most of the indigenous  persons are  characterized  by  poor  health,  lack of  schooling opportunities, short life anticipation, reduced employment  choices  and  existence in poor  conditions and remote locations.   Along with all the issues they are additionally subjected to negative perceptions held by the society. The  Canadian government  and the existing system has  done so much in ensuring  that  there is wellness  among the  groups  but  more  needs to be done (Linnit 1). It is clear that the current welfare system has failed the Aboriginal people as their cultural perspectives, cultural safety, and cultural competencies are not represented adequately in the welfare system.

Aboriginal persons play an essential responsibility in the formative history of Canada as well as its cultural identity (Roache 1).  The  national  Aboriginal populace is  made  up  of  approximately 1.4million  persons  by three  main  groups.  These groups are the Inuit, the Northern American Indians and Metis (Roache 1).  All the  groups posses  different  cultural  traditions  as well as distinct languages  in their  appropriate  authorities. More recently, there has been adequate reports supply in regard to the issues being faced by Aboriginal persons within the Canadian welfare system.

The slashing of the children programs in the context of welfare without a guarantee of a comeback is one of the primary issues faced by Aboriginal people. Indigenous  approaches  are  projects that are  administered  by indigenous  persons and they are designed  to  fill the existing gaps  in  Family Developments Child Programs  and the  Ministry Of Children  particularly for the  Aboriginals  families. The projects began in the year 2009 with an allocation of 600,000 dollars every year (Roache 1).  The  communities  were given assistance  programs for families  and  cultivation  in order to  fight hunger  as well as offering  training  to  the groups of social  workers  who  would in turn  assist indigenous  families  with  dialogues based  on the cultures  sensitivity.  However  with  the  mishandling of  funds  over  the  last six or so years since the  foundation  of the  projects it proved  to be rather  challenging  for  auditors in establishing the  expenditure  of all the funds (Flanagin 1). The mismanagement  reports  have  resulted  into the  cut of  most  of the  welfare  programs  based on the  lack of  effectiveness in  those  programs. Children and family  development  ministry  has  been working  of  the design of  templates  to run the  different programs  which will  also be utilized  in  aids  enquiries. The  restoration of  the programs can be  characterized  as  heart  breaking  because  of the lack of  appropriate  communication  and follow up among the involved  parties.  This has thus exposed indigenous children to cultural sensitivity and negative perception held by the state’s citizens (Roache 1).

In addition the general number of the missing indigenous women unresolved cases is on the rise.  Based  on the  recent  report  from the  investigation conducted by  the NWAC it  has been established  more  than eight  hundred  women  have  be on a miss  or  even  murdered  since  the year 1990 (Roache 1).  Most of the missing women are unidentified and probes investigations have been filed for at least 400 hundred women.  This is an abuse of both gender and culture since the graves of such persons will exists with marks.  The rationale behind the high rate of unresolved cases is particularly blamed on the inaction by police forces.  Most  of the  indigenous  women were and  are  overwhelmed by some sensitive matters  that  involves  domestic  violence,  mental illness and addiction.  Since they belong to a minority group their urgency is not in existence in the system (Flanagin 1). This therefore, demonstrates the fact that the welfare system fails to incorporate the issues and the needs of indigenous women which is a form of insensitivity and incompetence.

Unequal access  to  healthcare  in  the Canadian  system is an additional issue that  indigenous  people  are  faced  with.  It is clear  that first nations’ people are  more  likely  to  acquiring chronic illnesses, mental  illnesses and HIV/AIDS  as  compared  to the  other  nations (Linnit 1). Based on  UNICEF’s report  which was  released  on 2009 it was established  that  Aboriginal children have a  double  vulnerability  of  hospitalization for illnesses that  can be prevented.  However  the welfare  system and the  Canadian  government is  on the highest  care  denial  based on the  governmental  worry  of  the  coverage  payments (Linnit 1).  It is not reasonable  and it is rather ironic that  the  government  is  designed  and emphasis of the  provision of  quality  care  for  all yet  the services  still remains  to be inaccessible for  aboriginal persons.  Indigenous persons are characterized by the poorest health and the highest rate of mortality.  Some efforts  have  been made  recently  in offering education  in the  context of  health  problems to the  Aboriginal communities  but the communities  are still  at the highest  vulnerability for deaths and illnesses.  In these particular communities heart and chronic illnesses such as diabetes are on the rise.  There is a direct association which can be demonstrated amid health, income and social forces.  In comparison to the non indigenous children Aboriginal children holds a higher rate of respiratory issues as well as infectious issues. This is mainly influenced by poor and inadequate housing as well as overpopulation in their communities (Linnit 1).

Indigenous persons and children particularly are forced to access an education system that is characterized by lowness.  Colonialism can be described as an account for most of the uncomforting and bitter legacies and the core enveloping of them all being education. The welfare  fails in taking charge  of the  situation to  incorporate  better systems to  equip the group  with  adequate knowledge  as well as  expertise  that is required  in the modern society (Roache 1).  This specific system began as a national assimilation experiment with the system of Residential Indian Schools. Based  on  Canada’s  statistics that for the year 2011 , only  22 percent  of the Aboriginal  persons  had the  privilege of   having  completed  post secondary  and high school  education (Roache 1).  In the last twenty  years  education  among the  group  has  risen  but its indication  is very  low which is an indication of  inefficiency of the welfare system in  incorporating their education  needs.

Moreover the group is subjected to poor and crowded housing. This condition should never have lasted longer if the welfare system took effect and achieved its objectives (Flanagin 1).  The system has failed generally. With such conditions families  are exposed  to  vulnerabilities  of diseases  since they  housing situations  differs  greatly with  the rest of the nation’s.  with the low access to  care  and less  knowledge in regard  to health  matters  the  group is  characterized with  high rate of deaths. In particular women and children suffer the most since most of them are forced to exist without any form of care. The system  has failed  since it is  responsible for  creating and  enhancing the wellness of the  group  through the  provision of  programs  to address  such matters (Flanagin 1).  However, their  needs  are  overlooked  by the  system which is highly  grounded  of the  misuse  of funds  rather  than care.

Most women, from the indigenous group are not educated which is influenced on the lack of cultural diversity embracing.  Aboriginal people are highly unemployed since history as compared to the rest of the groups.  The   number of  adults  from the Aboriginal  communities  who are  not employed accounts  to 15 percent as compared to the  7.5 percent  of the non indigenous  persons in the state (Flanagin 1).  This accounts to their low income status and poor existence conditions.  There  is  a high  earning  gap  in the state  and it is estimated  that  if the  gap  will  not be handled with further  measures it may  take more than  sixty  years to solve the issue.  For instance in 2010, the middle Aboriginal earner was only 20,700 dollars while the non native accounted for 30, 100 dollars (Flanagin 1).

The justice system of Canada has been regarded to be unjust for the indigenous persons for decades now. However, even with the report very little has been done in handling the issue. Abioriginal persons demonstrate the highest incarceration rate in Canada till today.  This therefore  hinders  their ability  to participate in  social  or even  economic activity  to  improve  their  living status.  Aboriginal incarcerated population increased by more than 20 percent amid the year 2009 up to 2014 (Flanagin 1).  The  statistics are  depressing  since  indigenous women  depicts  34.5percent of  the general female  gender in the  prisons  while the  male  represent  more than 22 percent of  the  respective gender (Flanagin 1).  This is a high population  who are  being  denied  their  legal  freedom  based on the fact that  they come from a small group. Aboriginal adults are only a representative of 3 percent of the general population in the state (Flanagin 1). This means that most of the productive persons from the communities are in prison thus lagging development behind.

There are higher death amidst youths and children due to the occurrence of unintended injuries and illnesses.  This is based on the fact they live on poor amenities and the exposure to communities that are characterized by low generation of income (Miller 6). In addition the group is characterized by higher rates of suicidal due to stresses and depression.  Youths from the group commit more suicide as compared to the rest of the groups. Housing is an additional issue faced by the group. Most of the housing for the indigenous groups are termed and therefore requires repairing. Indigenous persons are normally overrepresented in the justice system and particularly the criminal one. The high rate of crime  is mainly  fueled  by the  impacts  the poor schooling system , poor experience  in the welfare  system for  children,  dislocation as well as  dispossession  of the  groups.  Cultural diversity is not well incorporated in the welfare system.  Cultural factors normally influence the social situations.  Culture is a essential part of maintaining and learning a stronger ethnic distinctiveness (Scott 11). The welfare  system does not support  the  competency, safety  as well as perspectives  since  the traditional  values  like  being uncompetitive, and sharing hinders cultural support  and this creates  conflict with  other  values  which brings  challenges to the integration matter.  While  the  issue  of promoting  integration  may not  be the primary  objective of the welfare’s system, the revival  and  encouragement  of some of those cultural values.  This may primarily lead to the development of social situations via indigenous self commitment initiatives (Coates and Hetherington 240).

There is less progress that has been obtained in regard to the development of social conditions. However,  the  existing gaps  that  is in between the  economic  and social  conditions  of the  indigenous  persons  in Canada which  posses more  difficulties (Arch, Repucci, Dunham, Bret and Roylance 125). The welfare system is highly required to design as well as implement a system that suits the needs of the minority groups.  This  is to ensure  that  they are  well included  in  the  system without  discriminating or ignoring their  cultural  perspectives. The system  and  programs should have the  ability  to embrace  cultural  diversity  by  eliminating  language  and  perception hurdles.  The current system does  not adequately represent the  indigenous persons  since they continue to  suffer from  poor education, unemployment,  poor care, poor housing  and injustice that  is conducted  by the  system (Arch, Repucci, Dunham, Bret and Roylance 125).  Women and children are characterized by special requirements which are ignored by the existing system.

The wellness  of persons  is determined  by the  integration of social conditions  which incorporates  income,  health,  education, employment  and  cultural (Sissons 114). The dispossession of  cultural  perspectives  and  diversity , social  inequalities, discrimination and prejudice  have attributed  to the  main  difficulties  facing the  Aboriginal  persons in the state (Sissons 39).  The welfare system  should  try and implement  community  based  approaches  which stresses the  significance  of  culture, values  and unique characteristics. The welfare  should try and establish  the association  amid  governance  and  economic growth  and the responsibility  of  traditional  economies  for the  indigenous community  as a minority group.


Aboriginal are Canadian native people and thus they should never be considered as minority. Their contributing towards the state’s growth and its history is one that can never be understated.  The group is subjected to a non fitting culture, social standards, healthcare and education system which needs to change. The  welfare  system  has the  obligation of  enhancing  every  individuals  wellness  and this should not exclude the  indigenous persons.  The system  is characterized  by  high  discrimination  that  does not  account  for the  needs  of the  group as  urgent.  With  poor living conditions,  unemployment, poor healthcare access,  poor  education and low income  that characterizes  the group this is a clear  depictions that  their need are  not represented.  In addition, the  system  lacks the  integration of  cultural  diversity which would  eliminate  the negative perception  held  by persons  in the  community and improve  the general living  standards.  Cultural participation, perspectives, diversity, competency and safety should be offered   under the system through implementing an inclusive system and favorable programs for all persons. Programs and particularly those that are aimed at development and enhancing the wellbeing and abilities of children for a better future for the communities. The future lies on higher employment and they therefore need a system that includes them and suits their cultural perspectives.













Coates, John and Hetherington  Tiani. Decolonizing Social Work. Routledge, 2016. Print.

Flanagin, Jake. What’s behind Canada’s Troubled Relationship with Its Aboriginal Peoples. 2014.Retrieved from

Linnit, Carol. Canada Faces A Crisis In Situation With Indigenous  Peoples Says UN special  reporter. 2013. Retrieved from

Miller, Bruce G. Invisible Indigenes: The Politics of Nonrecognition. Lincoln, Neb. [u.a.: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2003. Print.

Puddington, Arch, Sarah Repucci, Jennifer Dunham, Bret Nelson, and Tyler Roylance. Freedom in the World 2016: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. , 2017. Internet resource.

Roache, Trina. Top 5 Indigenous Issues  All Canadians  Should Care  About. 2015. Retrieved from

Scott, Tracie L. Postcolonial Sovereignty?: The Nisga'a Final Agreement. , 2012. Internet resource.

Sissons, Jeffrey. First Peoples: Indigenous Cultures and Their Futures. London: Reaktion, 2005. Print.

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