Statistics Canada Release Reiterates Importance of Investing in Potential of First Nations

OTTAWA, May 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo says the Statistics Canada data released today from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) underscores the importance of investing in potential and opportunity of First Nations in Canada. "While we have concerns about the new process for collecting information, the results released today further highlight the importance of First Nations as one of the fastest growing and youngest population, and as drivers of and partners to economic development," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, adding that a First Nations driven approach to data gathering, holding and assessment based on respect for First Nation jurisdiction, principles and priorities is required.   Released this morning by Statistics Canada, this is the first wave of data from the 2011 National Household Survey and is focused on Aboriginal peoples, immigration and ethnocultural diversity.

Some of the key data illustrates that the First Nation population continues to grow at a much higher rate than the non-Aboriginal population at almost 23 per cent compared to 5.2 per cent for the non-Aboriginal population.  The survey further outlines that the First Nation population is much younger than the non-Aboriginal population with a median age of only 26.

Some of the more staggering statistics, including Aboriginal children representing almost half of all children under 14 years of age in foster care, and 8 per cent of First Nations people reported losing their traditional language.  The Survey reports that while there are more than 314,000 speakers of First Nation languages, this number has declined since 2006.

"This echoes the clear statements by First Nations that we need support for First Nation languages and it must come through education.  There are currently 58 immersion First Nation schools revitalizing traditional languages through First Nation controlled education, we must continue to support others driving the solutions to address this and other challenges based on urgent need and long-term, sustainability," said National Chief Atleo.  "Information such as this helps show the disparity between First Nations and other Canadians, and further shows the opportunity and potential among our peoples to drive change provided we have the required respect and supports for our own governments and solutions."

The second release of NHS data will be on June 26, 2013 and the third release on August 14, 2013.  More information is available at http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-011-x/99-011-x2011001-eng.cfm

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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