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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big city Indians: Aboriginals do better living off reserves

In “Big city Indians: Aboriginals do better off reserves,” Mark Milke with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy reveals that the majority of Aboriginals who live off reserves do better as a result.

Digging through 2006 Statistics Canada data, Milke reveals that “out of almost 1.2 million Canadians who identify themselves as Aboriginal, just over 26 per cent live on a reserve; the rest do not.” This number is up slightly from 2001 data.

His research also shows that “As a nationwide average, when on-reserve North American Indians are compared to their counterparts off-reserve on earnings, the median for males who worked full-time was $30,045 on-reserve compared to $41,984 off-reserve—an almost $12,000 difference. Similarly, women do better away from the reserve: their median was $28,012 on reserve but $32,862 off the reserve, or an almost $5,000 advantage in the latter category.”

According to Milke, cities present the same opportunities for Aboriginals as non-Aboriginals: access to education and better career opportunities.

Milke concludes from this that policies designed by politicians and Aboriginal leaders to keep Aboriginals on reserves are doing more harm than good.

Read “Big city Indians: Aboriginals do better off reserves," here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 16, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues | Permalink


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I believe that the average life expectancy off reserve was 8 years longer also but that data may need upgrading.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-12-16 11:30:47 AM

That sounds like a more meaningful stat, John.

Life expectancy is a better measure of quality of life than income, especially when rural and urban incomes likely differ among non-Aborginals the same way that urban vs reserve incomes differ among Aboriginals.

A rural or reserve lifestyle could simply be a preference.

By Milke's point is still valid -- don't create policies designed to keep natives on reserves. Let them choose as an urban lifestyle presents opportunities that a rural lifestyle may not.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-12-16 2:41:54 PM

The appropriate analogy for these policies are the EI benefits designed for the Maritimes, keeping people where few opportunities exist and dependency prevails.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-12-16 5:11:05 PM

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