Myths & Facts about the First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) – Part One
Myth #1: Aboriginal people are all the same.
Facts: The term ‘Aboriginal’ is used in the Constitution to describe 3 distinct groups: First Nations (Status & non-Status), Métis and Inuit. Each has a unique history, culture, language and spiritual beliefs. A variety of terms have evolved such as Indian, Native, First Nation and Indigenous. While preferences vary, it is important to take direction from individuals or community as appropriate. A growing trend is the use of specific Nations such as: Mi’kmaq, Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik), Passamaquoddy, Cree, Algonquin, etc.
Myth #2: Aboriginal people get everything for free.
Facts: FNMI are entitled to the same benefits as ALL Canadians including Child Tax Benefit, Old Age Security, Medicare and Employment Insurance. Where treaty rights exist and entitlement is rights-based, they are still subject to regulation and/or funding such as hunting, fishing, housing, education and health. Comprehensive land claims settlements include reserve land and payment of annuities depending on the terms and conditions of their Treaty agreement. It is important to note that government legislation such as Bill C31 and C3 continue to impact rights-based eligibility and access to services.
(Excerpt from Culture Card (A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness), published by the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, and inserted in the Saint Francis of Assisi Fraternity (PEI) July newsletter.)
We can help bridge the divide between the Indigenous peoples and the rest of us by learning more about our Indigenous sisters and brothers and journeying with them. As this fraternity did you can invite an Indigenous leader to come and speak to your fraternity. - FVC