A Study that makes urban Aboriginals visible

Inroads: The Canadian Journal of Public Opinion
Issue No. 27   Summer/Fall 2010

In April, Environics Institute released an ambitious study of urban Aboriginals across Canada, in which I played a small role as one of 20 members of the advisory circle. Widely quoted in the national media in the days that followed release was this two-sentence summary by the study’s project manager, Ginger Gosnell-Myers:

“When urban Aboriginal peoples are researched, it’s often about problems like homelessness and sexual exploitation. There are hundreds of thousands of us living in cities, and there are a lot of positive things happening in our communities; it’s not all crises.”

That sums it up nicely. She is not saying that urban Aboriginals have abandoned their heritage: overall, 77 per cent said they are “very proud” to be Aboriginal. But 71 per cent consider the city in which they live to be “home,” and 65 per cent like living in their city “a lot.” Only 22 per cent plan to go back to their “community of origin” – as opposed to 50 per cent who intend to stay; the remainder have yet to decide.  Read more »