Two-thirds of Indigenous people don’t feel respected in Canada, according to pre-election survey

It’s one of the many findings from a recent poll commissioned by CBC News ahead of the federal election


A woman is embraced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during ceremonies marking the release of the final report of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Gatineau, Que., on June 3. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Two-thirds of Indigenous people feel that the federal government does not respect their community and identity, according to a recent poll.

It’s one of the many findings from the poll commissioned by CBC News as the October federal election approaches.

Conducted by Public Square Research and Maru/Blue, the poll ran between May 31 and June 10, and included 500 Indigenous people from across the country who responded online.

When asked “Do you feel that the federal government respects your community and identity?” 67 per cent of Indigenous respondents said no, and 66 per cent said they don’t feel like a respected part of Canada.

The poll also found that fewer than two in 10 Indigenous people believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be re-elected this fall.

Hayden King, executive director at Yellowhead Institute, a First Nations-led research centre based at Ryerson University, said the lack of confidence in the current Liberal government is not surprising.
“We have a government that has campaigned on nation-to-nation relations and reconciliation, and over the course of the four years, we have just seen promise after promise being broken,” he said.

He said the promises that have been kept have sparked “much contention and disappointment.” MORE

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The MMIWG final report lands: ‘I hold up a mirror to Canada’

The chief commissioner urged Canadians to learn their ‘true history’, delivering a scathing report monumental in scope and minute in detail


Trudeau holds a copy of the report presented to him by the commissioners of the national inquiry in Gatineau, Que., on June 3, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

It was of course the consciously freighted language that grabbed all the headlines and sparked many of the media questions the day the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report.
The hefty document—as big as a New York City telephone book and the product of nearly three years of work, hearings across the country and considerable controversy and upheaval—called the thousands of cases of dead and disappeared daughters, aunts, mothers, wives and friends “nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide,” adding, “This is not what Canada is supposed to be about; it is not what it purports to stand for.”

“Today, the commissioners and I hold up a mirror to Canada,” Chief Commissioner Marion Buller said. “We reflect back what we have heard and what we have documented.”

She elicited a big cheer from the crowd when she exhorted Indigenous people to “decolonize yourself” by learning the history of their people and the “true history” of Canada. But Buller reflected the tone of the day and of the report itself with her relentlessly fierce message that no one look away or back off on this issue now that the report is printed and bound.

“The murders, the abductions, the human trafficking, the beatings, the rapes, the violence—yes, the genocide—will continue unless all Canadians find the strength, courage and vision to build a new, decolonized relationship with each other based on respect and self-determination,” she said. “Let us walk together. Let us work together. We must do this, together, to achieve our destiny as strong, proud people in this great nation.”

Commissioner Qajaq Robinson—who was raised in Nunavut and speaks fluent Inuktitut but is not Indigenous herself—suggested that many of the people watching and listening to the ceremony might have similar reactions to her own: “Guilt, shame, denial, the urge to say ‘No, no, that’s not what this is. This is not who I am. I didn’t play a part in this. My ancestors didn’t play a part in this. We’re good people.’” But the families and survivors who spoke to the inquiry in 15 community hearings held across the country revealed a collective reality she urged others not to look away from.

“But it’s the truth,” she said. “It’s our truth, it’s my truth, it’s your truth.”

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