Empowering Aboriginals Through Inclusion in Sustainability Efforts

Once, the Canadian businesses mined valuable resources on Aboriginal lands without considering impacts on communities. Today, Canadians are realizing that empowered Aboriginals hold some of the keys to achieving sustainability.
By Debra Jenkins

Most people in Western societies take collective self-determination for granted because it is one of the basic principles of democracy. For Canadian Aboriginals, self-determination has not been possible because the federal government controlled valuable lands and resources, giving businesses the right to destroy and extract natural resources in the interest of profit and satisfying the needs of the general population.

The damage incurred to Aboriginal self-esteem, culture, language and communities is seen in the high rates of poverty, alcoholism, school dropout rates and suicides. For Aboriginal youth, their best hope was to leave their families and communities to attend schools off the reserves and eventua...

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