Social Inequality with Canadian Aboriginals SOC 300 Dr. Kelly Train Milica Rados 500460778 Different ethnic backgrounds immigrate to Canada making it a very multicultural society. Immigrants coming to Canada have made it progress to a more multicultural society, making other nations believe that this is the case, however this does not include native societies that have been living in Canada for the longest period of time. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how Aboriginals live in Canada.
This paper argues that aboriginals in Canada are not treated with the same equality as non-aboriginals livening in Canada, even though Canada is known as a multicultural society. By studying the history of Aboriginal settlement in Canada and understanding their connection to the land there is a better understanding of why taking over their land is a social issue. By taking over their land their sense of connection to nature was taken away which was a big part of the Aboriginal culture. This caused educational inequality and also the inequality they face within their workplace and the wages they receive.
By studying history, their culture, education and their current economic state it becomes more clear why this is a social issue in Canada and how that takes away from the multiculturalism Canada is known for. Aboriginals, which include first nations people, were the first people of Canada however, the treatment they receive today shows otherwise. Aboriginal treaties, Westphalia Treaty of 1648, that were established in Canada in the mid-seventeenth century were used to “harmonize discovery and conquest principles” (Frideres, 2000).
The land that Aboriginals occupied was more than just land to them, they felt a connection with Mother Nature and they established roles in their families that helped them create a working community. Without even trying to understand how Aboriginals felt about their treaties and their land the British Common Law abolished Aboriginal land and tenure (Frideres, 2000). The British came into Canada stronger, with weapons and technology that the Aboriginals did not know about or ever see and when they took over their land they had nothing they could do or say about it.
The Aboriginal had no choice but to cooperate and let the land that they felt strong connections to be taken over. Losing a sense of connection to the land and having to watch one of the most important parts of their community being taken over cause further problems for the Aboriginal people. Due to the problems faced with settlement of British into Canada, Aboriginals have not had the same independence they had when they were living in Canada alone, they don’t receive the same equality or freedom.
According to symbolic internationalists the identity of a person cannot be determined without understanding the historical context of what the individual is born into. “Socialization theory” argues that individuals are born into groups and learn their culture and what they learn goes on to the next generations (Frideres, 2008). If a person born into Aboriginal social groups, their understanding of who they are comes from the group they are born into. Their parents teach them about the land and help them develop the same connection to nature that they feel.
Aboriginal identity emerges from Aboriginal groups that are shaped by their sense of location (Frideres, 2008). Aboriginals have a strong connection to their land and nature around them and that is what they teach the next generation as stated before. Aboriginal people are the original occupants of the territory known as Canada and as such possess a special relationship to this space (Mills, 2006), and even though this is the case it does not mean that Aboriginals need to own all of Canada and all the land should be considered there.
However, the land that they did occupy and did have should be left as is because their connection to the land is important to them. But that is not the case. Aboriginal people are an ethnicity abstracted from their distinct history and relationship to the land and to newcomers (Mills, 2006). They no longer get to own their land but at the same time they have to watch their land being taken over. Over time this sense of group, or community disappears. Generations can no longer teach younger generations about the importance of nature and therefore the history is slowly lost.
Since they lost their history and their connection to the land a lot of other parts of their culture and their beliefs was taken away as well. The main issue faced was losing a sense of their culture. Canada being a multicultural society, allows for all people to practice their culture and they have the freedom to believe what they want. The aboriginals lost that right when their land was taken over. It was lost because they no longer owned their nature and it was taken over by technology and architecture, making them less united with the forest and the land that they lived in.
By taking over the land they were also forced to have to change their education. In schools they were no longer allowed to learn Aboriginal culture. In 2002 by studying Canadian schools it was said that as many as 30 percent of elementary students and 40 percent of high school students did not speak even a little of their Native tongues (Schissel, 2002). The reason that this is the case can be because Aboriginal families stopped practicing their culture and heritage at home therefore distancing the children from understanding where they came from.
That is not because they no longer wanted their kids to know the traditions or history of their ancestry, but it was simply because they lost the connection they had. After being forced to stop practicing aboriginal culture when the British settlement fist happened, they had to learn a new culture and therefore it was slowly lost sine it was forbidden. Therefore the main reason that such high numbers of Aboriginal students do not speak their native language is because the educational system in Canada fails to recognize and incorporate indigenous knowledge (Schissel, 2002).
Since it would be hard to incorporate all cultures existing in Canada it is acceptable that the language is not practiced in schools. However aboriginals play such an important role in Canadian history their culture should be incorporated in the schools more, especially in history classes involving in Canada. Some may argue that other cultures are not incorporated into the mainstream school system, but aboriginals are the main settlers of Canada and therefore they should be recognized and taught about. Others argue that there are alternative schools that will study traditional cultures.
However according to Schisel (2002) this achievement of education would be laughable and would not be considered for a higher level of education such as continuing to university. Therefore they are forced to study the mainstream system if they wish to have a future in the Canada employment wise. Not only did the Aboriginals sacrifice their language and culture, they often also encounter the additional hindrances of racism, prejudice, poverty, violence, and underemployment (Schissel, 2002) Underemployment that Aboriginals face is a serious social issue in Canada.
The reason that this can be seen as a serious social issue is because Aboriginal peoples were titled as one of the four economically disadvantaged target groups in Canada in the Employment Equity Act 1995 (Maxim, 2001). This means that the Aboriginals cause overall views of Canada to go down. They can affect the overall economy in Canada because this means they suffer from poverty and unemployment bringing Canada down as a nation. The creation of the Indian in 1985 did not do any help with creating Aboriginals as equals and this party is suffering to this day.
Act Registered Aboriginal people in Canada are more likely than any other culture in Canada to be unemployed. They also have a lower education achievement and are considered more likely to be unemployed than anyone else in Canada (White, 2003). It is not just registered aboriginals that are suffering economically it is also the non-registered aboriginals as well. Overall all Aboriginal Canadians are disadvantaged when compared with the non-Aboriginal Canadian population. The amount of disadvantage, is measured by the characteristics of income we are examining, differs for the different categories of Aboriginal peoples (Maxim, 2001).
The earnings of Aboriginal people is 10. 4 percent lower than non-aboriginal people in Canada (Maxim, 2001). Thinking about all the different cultures in Canada that number is high compared to the rest of the Canadian citizens. Aboriginal people, mainly concerning women are employed in low paying jobs and also are in less stable jobs (Mills, 2006). There are two main reasons that this is the case according the Mills (2006). The first reason he gives us is that Canadians limit the number of jobs offered for aboriginals.
They limit the jobs that they are giving to women for example, therefore resulting in lower paid jobs. The second reason according to Mills (2006) is by putting Canadians in less desirable jobs. This causes a disadvantage for them and it creates segregation. Therefore by limiting their jobs to less desirable jobs they are being treated with inequality and suffer from segregation. The employment rates and unemployment rates suggest that Aboriginals in Canada are way more disadvantage and therefore signifying that Canada is not as multicultural as we believe it to be.
In conclusion, it is apparent that Aboriginals are facing sociologically related problems living in Canada. Canada portrays itself as a multicultural society and even though the acceptance of immigrants has progressed a high amount in the years, what is ignored is the aboriginal societies that first settled in Canada. Being the first nations people of Canada the recognition they receive should be much higher. Their history should be brought into schools and the be taught to not only Aboriginals but also other Canadian students because it is an important part of Canadian history.
The language should not have been eliminated in the past and just like other cultures they should have received the same treatment being allowed to own their own land, and study their culture. If Aboriginal history was to be taught would create a better sense of acceptance for Aboriginal people and it would help them not forget their culture and their connection to the land. Not only should the history of Aboriginals be taught more, but their acceptance in the work place should be improved.
The amount of jobs offered should be higher and the wages they receive should reflect the wages of the rest of Canadians. This would cause Canada to progress into the multicultural society they strive to be. This would cause other cultures to feel more of an acceptance and statistic wise Canada would progress as well. Based on the history of Aboriginals, their culture, the mainstream school system and employment rates; aboriginals are suffering from inequality and it does impact Canada as a society. References Frideres, James S. 2000.
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