On the Land: Confronting the Challenges to Aboriginal Self-Determination

Indigenous peoples in Costa Rica
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Alongside Aboriginal staff and service users, we help communities develop new and better service experiences or adapt existing programs to be safe.

Main challenges for Costa Rica’s indigenous peoples

We believe projects should be driven, governed and owned by community; we respect data sovereignty and cultural IP. We seek to earn trust and setup work to be flexible with timelines and pace. We aim to respond to needs of the now and plan for a sustainable self-determined future. We will recognise diversity, listen to experience and build upon existing evidence.

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We will create space for visual learning, tactile sharing and storytelling. Furthering Self Determination. Capability We believe that the best and most sustainable solutions emerge from and are led by communities themselves. Experiences We appreciate the vast amount of research that has been done to date as well as the knowledge that the Aboriginal community holds about what will work best. Further Self-Determination We believe projects should be driven, governed and owned by community; we respect data sovereignty and cultural IP.

Relationships first We seek to earn trust and setup work to be flexible with timelines and pace. Admittedly, setting up this kind of governance projects demands political will and as a real commitment to securing adequate funding from the government. We could even consider setting such projects up progressively, thus allowing the communities to acquire the skills and the experience necessary to developing their own governance models.

Either way, this raises the question of defining and developing governance models that are relevant and culturally appropriate.

Indigenous Self determination

At the time being there are but few studies on the topic, especially as regards the provision of social services. The diversity of viewpoints and topics that are addressed in this issue will thus come as no surprise. Even though seven of the nine articles focus on the Canadian situation, the research can doubtless be transposed to other Aboriginal contexts.

The articles are connected to three main topics. The first is that of the effects of colonisation, referring not only to past policy, such as the residential school policy, but also to the consequences of the power relationships that are predicated on the coexistence of the Aboriginal peoples and dominant society.

The two other topics are connected to two of the institutions of dominant society that play a great role in the life of Aboriginal children: the youth protection system and the educational system.

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Thus, most of the studies tackle the interaction between dominant society and its institutions, on the one hand, and Aboriginal children and families, on the other. Even though the residential schools have been closed for at least thirty years, their consequences are still felt.

While this inheritance is often referred to in the literature, the originality of this study is that it provides a quantitative picture of certain types of serious traumatisms gambling and drug addiction, sexual abuse, etc. The authors show that these traumatisms are more common among not only the individuals that attended the residential schools, but also their children.

This provides a dramatic illustration of the effects that the residential schools still have, more than thirty years after their closing. For example, in Tahiti, the French State incorporated the teaching of the Tahitian language in primary school curricula. Their conclusions are bleak: despite the efforts made at school, and in some cases by the families, the children hardly ever speak Tahitian among themselves. Even when the language has meaning for them in terms of their identity, it is only used in code, in specific circumstances. The young Inuit are torn between their own language and English or French; they are not always capable of conversing with the elders, which can be a source of cultural or linguistic insecurity.

Indeed, the young Inuit speak of their attachment to certain significant aspects of their culture, like the importance of the extended family and the upholding of traditional activities on the land, even though they are at times criticized for their lack of interest. Their study led among young Aboriginals living in Montreal shows that social and economical difficulties in their home communities are often among the factors leading to their move.

With that being said, the move to Montreal can also bring on new challenges, due in particular to loneliness, to being exposed to racism, to misconceptions about the Aboriginal realities and, for those who hail from communities in which English is the second language, to needing to learn French in order to find a job in Montreal.

This system is still responsible for the removal of a great number of Aboriginal children from their communities. Trying to keep these consequences to a minimum, several Aboriginal nations have set up their own youth protection agencies. In their article, Anne Levesque, Sarah Clarke and Cindy Blackstock share their personal experience of challenging this discriminatory under-financing and analyse the evidence that was presented to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, allowing it to reach the conclusion that this constituted discrimination.

This decision raises the possibility that the under-financing of services by the federal government has considerable negative impacts on the Aboriginal children, not only as regards youth protection, but also in the realm of education and other social services. In the last fifteen years, the Atikamekw nation has set up its own youth protection system. If an agreement is not reached the matter can be referred to an Elder council and later, as a last resort, to the Court. Indeed, this new type of process managed to considerably lower the proportion of youth protection cases brought to court as well as the number of Atikamekw children placed in foster care outside the communities.

Thus, this framework is of great promise for other Aboriginal communities. This type of adoption is still widespread among the Inuit and the First Nations. Jacobson, Sandra W. Jacobson and Gina Muckle provides significant insights as to these questions. Their longitudinal study on over Inuit children, from birth to school age, highlights the fact that there are very few differences, risk factor wise, between the children adopted according to tradition and the other children. In the last few years, the Chilean State has been trying to set up a bicultural educational program with room given to the language, knowledge and other dimensions of Aboriginal culture.

Interviews with parents highlight the many obstacles lying in the way of this ideal. Their respective studies concerned children enrolled in educational institutions that are shaped on the Western model but still reflect a willingness to adapt to Aboriginal society, notably through providing teachings in the Aboriginal language. Nevertheless, we notice that such adaptations are not always sufficient to ensure the children mastery of the language, even when they show some willingness in asserting their Aboriginal identity.

Brent Angell in collaboration with two Anicinape communities of North-western Quebec. Indeed, the outlines of the projects set up in each community were defined in collaboration with its members in a way that fit their need. Furthermore, the activities emphasized the role of the youths, as regards road safety, and the interaction between different generations. They showcase a youth that exercises resilience and agentivity. Despite the weight of colonial history, the young Aboriginals strive to shape their future through the reinterpretation of their culture on their own terms.

Without denying the social issues one meets in Aboriginal communities, the research that is presented here offers some hope of healing.

Despite the widespread will to adapt their services there is still a long way to go, due in part to cumbersome procedures and a lack of familiarity with Aboriginal societies. In many cases, public services and programs are still designed chiefly in response to the needs and cultural norms of Western society. Affaires indiennes et du Nord Canada Arnaud, A. Beavon, D. White, P.

Maxim et D. Beaulieu, A. Gervais et M. Papillon dir. Bellier, I.

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Blackstock, C. Bousquet, M. Breton, A. Dufour et C. Commission royale sur les peuples autochtones CRPA. Rapport de la Commission royale sur les peuples autochtones , Ottawa, 5 volumes.

Costa Rica - IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs

Cornell, S. Cuche, D. Dickason, O. Gagnon, A. Rocher dir. Grammond, S. Yvon Blais et Bruylant. Noreau et L. Guay, C. Jacques et S. Hicks, H. Irvine, K. Johnston, P. Lacasse, J. Leclair, J. Beaulieu, S. Martin, T. Martin et M. Miller, J. Milloy, J. Muir, N. Napoleon, V. Richardson, S. Imai et K. McNeil, Oxford, Hart, p.

Poirier, S. Ryan, F. Schulte-Tenckhoff, I.

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Plan Background elements: the Canadian example. The lingering effects of Canadian colonial policies. The will to establish a new relationship in Canada. Aboriginal youth and children and cultural and identity-related challenges. Aboriginal youth, the land and the search for origins. From the adaptation of services to institutional governance. The Aboriginals and the youth protection system. The aboriginals and the educational system. Background elements: the Canadian example 4 The peoples of the Americas and Oceania that were marginalized by European colonization are the best-known examples of Aboriginal realities, even though Aboriginal peoples can be found on other continents.

The lingering effects of Canadian colonial policies 8 What distinguishes the Aboriginal peoples is not only having been the first inhabitants of a country or region but also having been subject to colonial policy. The will to establish a new relationship in Canada 15 After the Second World War, but especially since the s, the Aboriginal peoples have strengthened their resistance to colonial policy and their claims for greater justice, notably inspired by movements on a global scale pushing towards decolonization, self-determination and human rights.