Under the Indian Act, the Federal government is responsible for funding health, education, police services and child welfare on all reserves in Canada including those with small populations in the north. New research cited by the Assembly of First Nations indicates that children living on these reserves receive less in services than those living off reserves. Why is this? The main reason would seem to be that it is cost prohibitive to provide a variety of comprehensive services to such small populations in such isolated locations. It may be a romantic dream to live off the land as the ancestors did in olden times but those days are past my friends. People living on these reserves suffer from chronic unemployment which leads to all the social ills that plaque these communities today.

There are now three times as many First Nations children being removed from their dysfunctional families than there was at the peak of the residential school system in 1949. There are now 27,500 children in foster care compared to the 8900 who were placed in the schools. This is heartbreaking and it needs to change for the sake of the children.

The AFN, Chief Shawn Atleo and the Federal government  must work together to encourage members of these communities to relocate to centers where services can be provided to allow their children to grow and thrive rather than condemning them to live in these desolate depressing outposts, which are literally patches of hell on earth, leading so many young people to snuff out their lives as the only way out.