A renewed focus on broader cultural education that confronts rather than ignores Canada’s “colonial history” could help steer Indigenous youth away from the criminal justice system, according to a new report by Crime Prevention Ottawa.
The report, titled Culture as Catalyst: Preventing the Criminalization of Indigenous Youth, was released during a presentation at Ottawa City Hall Tuesday morning.
Marc Maracle is the chair of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, which helped lay the groundwork and provide background information for the report. (Roger Dubois/CBC)
According to the report, traumatic events stemming from “colonizing policies” such as the residential school system contribute to the disproportionately high rates of poverty, poor education and unsafe housing experienced by Indigenous people in Canada.
As a result, the paper concludes, Indigenous youth and adults are highly over-represented in the Canadian criminal justice system.
“The research also shows that a connection to culture is very important for all young people, but that for Indigenous people in particular that connection to culture is directly linked to their sense of identity,” said Melanie Bania, the report’s author. Read More…