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Letter: Canada's Indigenous population continues to face discrimination, racism

Chris Nelson obviously isn’t well informed about the true (and often hidden) history of the past few hundred years in Canada, nor why Indigenous people are being vaccinated sooner.

Re: "Column: Canada is not genocidal," Airdrie City View, May 27

Chris Nelson obviously isn’t well informed about the true (and often hidden) history of the past few hundred years in Canada, nor why Indigenous people are being vaccinated sooner.

I looked up the definition of genocide, which is defined as the “intentional destruction of a particular group through killing, serious physical or mental harm, preventing births and/or forcibly transferring children to another group.”

Was this done to Indigenous People in our country? Yes.

Let’s start with Sir John A. MacDonald’s “starvation policy,” which forced thousands of people living on the prairies into reserves in order to free up land for the coming railway and white settlers. Close to 20,000 people starved and entire families were wiped out, including men, women and children.

Then, there was the forced removal of more than 150,000 children, who were sent to residential schools where the survival rate for students was between 40 and 60 per cent. Then, close to 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their homes and adopted out to white families during the 'Sixties Scoop.'

There are currently more than 1,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. And the policy of forced sterilization of Indigenous women has occurred in the past and is still happening today. Currently, 52.2 per cent of children in foster care are Indigenous, but account for only 7.7 per cent of the child population.

There are also on-going issues of systemic racism in health-care, education and policing – not to mention the lack of proper housing, food security and clean drinking water on many reserves.

The reason that Indigenous populations are being prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is based on the fact that Indigenous residents have an increased risk for infection and serious illness because of the history of colonization and the continuation of systemic racism.

Rather than taking the time to write an opinion piece which causes more harm to people who have already been oppressed and discriminated against for so long, perhaps Chris Nelson could spend the time educating himself. We all need to educate ourselves to these horrible truths.

Sue Methuen

Airdrie


Airdrie Today Staff

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