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Study finds high child poverty levels in First Nations communities

Indigenous Canadian children are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than non-aboriginal kids.

The findings released today in a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives delved into poverty rates on reserves and in the territories as measured by income.

Poverty rates are highest for First Nations kids on reserves in Manitoba at 76%, with Saskatchewan close behind at 69%.
In BC, 52% of on-reserve First Nations children are living in poverty.

It cites long-standing barriers such as underfunded schools and child welfare services that stand in the way of kids achieving their full potential.

Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs says there’s a racist undertone to the issue, he points to how quickly the government is able and willing to help other groups, but at the same time chronically underfunded First Nations.

He says it’s infuriating that governments are so ready to dismiss the hardships First Nations communities face.

He says the public isn’t much better, having skewed perception of First Nations people.

Grand Chief Phillip calls for the immediately re-funding of programs and services that were cut during the Harper government.

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