(SASKATOON, SK) – According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 69 per cent of First Nation children living on a Saskatchewan reserve live in poverty. The report also cites that Regina and Saskatoon have the second and third highest poverty rates in cities across Canada for Indigenous children at 41 and 39 per cent respectively.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Executive is calling for immediate action from all levels of government to address the high on-reserve poverty rates as reported by the study.

“For years we’ve been telling the world our people, especially our children, live in abject poverty and for years those calls for help went unanswered,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “The high poverty rate is a result of severe underfunding of our communities especially in the areas of education, child welfare and investments in community infrastructure.”

The FSIN is committed to working towards resource development through the levels of government within First Nation Treaty territories. First Nations in our Treaty Territory must be full participants in the economy. The revenue from resource development must go towards improving education, housing and other needs to address poverty.

“It’s just a matter of time before Saskatchewan’s economy begins to show signs of growth,” said Chief Cameron. “First Nations must be partners and full participants in resource development. We need to resolve our own issues with our own resources. We have an Inherent and Treaty Right to the land that includes what’s under the ground.”

“The Federal Government has just committed to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states that Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,” said FSIN Vice Chief Edward (Dutch) Lerat. “These resources were never given up at the time Treaty was signed and it is time that First Nations received their fair share. It is time that the Government of Saskatchewan stepped up to the plate and recognized this. This will be a major step forward to alleviating child poverty in First Nations communities.”

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