My initial reaction/rant regarding this story:
While the national Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study bore noteworthy results, this CBC story demonstrates an appalling lack of sophistication. The piece states that “almost half of Canadian Aboriginal people are city dwellers” (this part is true), and goes on to say that “many have no plans to return to their home reserves” (this is terribly off the mark).
What’s wrong with the latter statement? It is a gross generalization. It seems that the terms “Aboriginal” and “First Nations” are being used interchangeably in much of the print and radio coverage today, but these words are not synonymous. The Constitution Act of 1982 recognizes three Aboriginal peoples: Indian (First Nations), Inuit and Métis.
As anyone with a passing knowledge of Canadian history should know, Métis and Inuit people do not have reserves to return to. Moreover, many Aboriginal Canadians – including First Nations people whether or not they hold status under the Indian Act – have been in urban settings for multiple generations. Of course the cities have become home!
As a person of Métis descent, I can attest to the fact that many Aboriginal people feel strong connections to their ancestral homes; however, these bonds are far more varied and complex than this story would lead us to believe.