Whilst Canada is a developed, progressive nation it is not without it’s fair share of issues and adversities. Similarly to Australia, Canada’s indigenous populations experience disadvantage and difference across a range of social conditions.
Meaningful international engagement targeted towards these such populations, and the country as a whole, can ensure the gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians are bridged, and that disadvantage can be eliminated.
The three indigenous populations in Canada are the First Nations, the Metis and the Inuit. Their communities are widespread across the Canadian state, so international engagement must also be dispersive, and not targeted simply at one geographical location.
The main adversities faced by the indigenous groups are involvement in crime, land rights, employment, health, education and housing. But both the geographical dispersiveness, and the variety of issues, make meaningful international engagement difficult to conduct without effective planning.
To overcome the adversities qualified individuals across the sectors will be required. In addition to their qualification volunteers would also require training and education in the cultural practices of the communities to ensure their local understanding to prevent cultural insensitivities.
For example, to overcome educational disadvantage, qualified teachers, who have completed studies on the history and current state of the indigenous communities, will be much more meaningful and effective.
Engagement also has to have bi-partisan support. The communities, as represented by an indigenous community leader, must desire this engagement and actively seek to overcome these negative issues, with the acknowledged support of foreign assistance.
In addition, the provision of this engagement needs to be long term. It has to be deployed for long enough that positive change will occur, and will continue to occur long after the initial engagement begun. Despite positive changes occurring through the program, the cultural sensitivity must ensure that important traditions and cultural characteristics remain, to guarantee that essential social diversity will still be intact.