By Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples
A few years ago I heard a young First Nations woman describing the unsafe drinking water, the poor quality school and other conditions that she faced every day growing up in her home community. “What did we do to be treated like this?” she asked.
In most communities in Canada, government services like education, health care and family services are provided by a combination of municipal and provincial governments. However, in the case of First Nations people living on reserves these services are instead funded through the federal government.
Critically, study after study has shown that federal funding for basic services on reserves routinely falls short of what is required to provide First Nations families with access to the same quality of services-- like education and health care -- enjoyed other communities in Canada.
Here’s what the Auditor General of Canada had to say about the situation in 2011: