There are forgotten people and towns in Canada that are forced to live in Third World conditions. I never would of thought anything like this could happen in the rich and abundant country we live in, but it does.
My eyes were opened to this fact when I when to a teaching conference last week. I met a lot of teachers from all over the province and they had quite a few interesting stories to tell. The most interesting stories came from teachers who went up north to teach in First Nation Reserves. Most of these communities are isolated from the rest of the province. Many of them are only accessible by air, as they have no roads that go into the community.
These communities seem to have a lot of problems. One teacher told me that they missed a lot of school this year because their school had no heat and it was just too cold to stay in the school. Other teachers told me of water problems in their communities. The water wouldn’t always flow from the taps. Many houses don’t even have running water. They have water tanks in the basement that need to be filled up weekly by a delivery truck. When the water is available, it is yellow or brown in colour. The water needs to be filtered and boiled before it is safe to consume.
There were much more stories of heartbreak in our Northern Aboriginal communities. I can’t believe that people in this country have to live in such conditions. One of the keynote speakers touched on some of these issues. Some of these schools don’t have books or computers. They don’t have libraries, doctors, or barbers. The speaker said that a professional haircut might not mean much to us, but to a kid up there it can mean everything.
This speaker was from the United States of America and he talked about how the government and organizations are raising money for schools in Africa but totally ignoring people right here in North America that are basically living and going to school in the same conditions.
It’s sad. I wish there was something I could do about it. Most people probably don’t even think about the problems that Aboriginal people are facing on the land that they currently occupy. Kids need a safe place to live and go to school. They need resources to grow and develop to their full potential. Why aren’t we providing these things for all kids in our country?
The teachers that move into these communities for the school year and do their best under the circumstances need to be recognized for a valiant effort. But maybe they need to band together and call attention to these issues so that the general public will take notice and the government will be forced to take action.
Everyone should have heat, water, and electricity in their home and school. Everyone should have access to doctors, dentists, libraries, barbers, and other resources that we take for granted. There should be no one living in third world conditions in this beautifully rich and abundant country.