Key Findings from the Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study

  • For most, the city is home, but urban Aboriginal peoples stay connected to their communities of origin. Six in ten feel a close connection to these communities – links that are integral to strong family and social ties, and to traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture. Notwithstanding these links, majorities of First Nations peoples, Métis and Inuit consider their current city of residence home (71%), including those who are the first generation of their family to live in their city.
  • Eight in ten participants said they were "very proud" of their specific Aboriginal identity, i.e., First Nations, Métis or Inuk. Slightly fewer – 70 per cent – said the same about being Canadian.
  • Urban Aboriginal peoples are seeking to become a significant and visible part of the urban landscape. Six in ten feel they can make their city a better place to live, a proportion similar to non-Aboriginal urban dwellers.
  • Six in ten were completely or somewhat unworried about losing contact with their culture, while a minority were totally (17 per cent) or somewhat (21 per cent) concerned. As well, by a wide margin (6:1), First Nations peoples, Métis and Inuit think Aboriginal culture in their communities has become stronger rather than weaker in the last five years.
  • They display a higher tolerance for other cultures than their non-Aboriginal neighbours: 77% of urban Aboriginal peoples believe there is room for a variety of languages and cultures in this country in contrast to 54% of non-Aboriginal urbanites.
  • Almost all believe they are consistently viewed in negative ways by non-Aboriginal people. Almost three in four participants perceived assumptions about addiction problems, while many felt negative stereotypes about laziness (30 per cent), lack of intelligence (20 per cent) and poverty (20 per cent).
  • Education is their top priority, and an enduring aspiration for the next generation. Twenty per cent want the next generation to understand the importance of education, 18 per cent hope younger individuals will stay connected to their cultural community and 17 per cent hope the next generation will experience life without racism.
  • Money was cited as the No.1 barrier to getting a post-secondary education among 36 per cent of those planning to attend – and 45 per cent of those already enrolled in – a university or college.
  • Urban Aboriginal peoples do not have great confidence in the criminal justice system in Canada. More than half (55%) have little confidence in the criminal justice system and majorities support the idea of a separate Aboriginal justice system.
  • A significant minority (4 in 10) feel there is no one Aboriginal organization or National political party that best represent them, or cannot say.

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