Urban Aboriginal peoples (First Nations peoples, Métis, and Inuit) are an
increasingly significant social, political and economic presence in Canadian
cities today

First-of-a-kind Research Study takes new, in-depth look at growing population in 11 cities.

TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ - An extensive new research study has gone beyond the numbers to capture the values and aspirations of this growing population.

By speaking directly with a representative group of 2,614 First Nations peoples, Métis and Inuit living in major Canadian cities, as well as 2,501 non Aboriginal Canadians, the Environics Institute, led by Michael Adams, has released the Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS), which offers Canadians a new perspective of their Aboriginal neighbors living in Canada's eleven largest cities. In the 2006 Census 1.172 million people self-identified themselves as "Aboriginal", half of whom (one in two) reported living in urban centres.

"This study is about the future, not the past. The Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study offers Canadians a new picture of Aboriginal peoples in cities. Ideally, the things we have learned will help people understand each other better, have better conversations, and live together better in our urban communities." - Michael Adams, President, Environics Institute

"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. But unless someone comes along and says, 'this is interesting. Tell me about your choices; tell me about your community,' then people don't notice that they're part of a wider social change." - Ginger Gosnell-Myers, UAPS Project Manager

The Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study may be downloaded free from www.uaps.ca.

    
    KEY FINDINGS

    -  For most, the city is home, but urban Aboriginal peoples stay
       connected to their communities of origin. Six in ten feel a close
       connection to these communities - links that are integral to strong
       family and social ties, and to traditional and contemporary Aboriginal
       culture.
    -  Eight in ten participants said they were "very proud" of their
       specific Aboriginal identity, i.e., First Nations, Métis or Inuk.
       Slightly fewer - 70 per cent - said the same about being Canadian.
    -  Urban Aboriginal peoples are seeking to become a significant and
       visible part of the urban landscape. Six in ten feel they can make
       their city a better place to live, a proportion similar to non-
       Aboriginal urban dwellers.
    -  They display a higher tolerance for other cultures than their non-
       Aboriginal neighbours: 77% of urban Aboriginal peoples believe there
       is room for a variety of languages and cultures in this country in
       contrast to 54% of non-Aboriginal urbanites.
    -  Almost all believe they are consistently viewed in negative ways by
       non-Aboriginal people. Almost three in four participants perceived
       assumptions about addiction problems, while many felt negative
       stereotypes about laziness (30 per cent), lack of intelligence
       (20 per cent) and poverty (20 per cent).
    -  Education is their top priority, and an enduring aspiration for the
       next generation. Twenty per cent want the next generation to
       understand the importance of education, 18 per cent hope younger
       individuals will stay connected to their cultural community and
       17 per cent hope the next generation will experience life without
       racism.)
    -  Money was cited as the No. 1 barrier to getting a post-secondary
       education among 36 per cent of those planning to attend - and
       45 per cent of those already enrolled in - a university or college.
    -  Urban Aboriginal peoples do not have great confidence in the criminal
       justice system in Canada. More than half (55%) have little confidence
       in the criminal justice system and majorities support the idea of a
       separate Aboriginal justice system.

    The perspective of non-Aboriginal urban Canadians:
    --------------------------------------------------
    -  Non-Aboriginal urban Canadians are divided on where Aboriginal people
       fit in the Canadian mosaic: 54 percent believe Aboriginal people
       should have special rights and 39 percent think they are just like any
       other cultural or ethnic group (this divide varies across cities).
    -  Perceptions of the current state of relations between Aboriginal and
       non-Aboriginal people are divided, but there are signs of optimism.
    -  NA urban Canadians are starting to recognize the urban Aboriginal
       community and their cultural presence, but have limited knowledge of
       Aboriginal people and issues, although they do demonstrate a desire to
       learn more.
    -  There is a widespread belief among NA urban Canadians that Aboriginal
       people experience discrimination.

    The Study

    Through UAPS, more than 100 interviewers, almost all of whom were
themselves Aboriginal, conducted 2,614 in-person interviews with Métis, Inuit
and First Nations (status and non-status) individuals living in eleven
Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg,
Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa (Inuit only).
    The study also investigated how non-Aboriginal people view Aboriginal
people in Canada today through a telephone survey with 2,501 non-Aboriginal
urban Canadians living in these same cities (excluding Ottawa).
    This first-of-its-kind study, conducted by the Environics Institute, and
guided by an Advisory Circle of recognized experts from academia and from
Aboriginal communities, is designed to better understand the values,
identities, experiences and aspirations of Aboriginal Peoples (First Nations,
Métis and Inuit) living in Canadian cities.

    UAPS Sponsors

    Major sponsors:                     Sponsors:

      INAC - Federal Interlocutor         Canadian Millennium Scholarship
                                          Foundation

      Trillium Foundation                 Calgary Foundation

      Province of Alberta                 Elections Canada

      Province of Saskatchewan            The Mental Health Commission

      Province of Manitoba/Manitoba       City of Edmonton
        Hydro

      Province of Ontario (Aboriginal     City of Toronto
        Affairs)

                                          Province of Nova Scotia (Aboriginal
                                            Affairs)

                                          Winnipeg Foundation

                                          John Lefebrve

                                          Tides

                                          Edmonton Community Foundation

                                          Toronto Community Foundation

                                          Vancouver Foundation

                                          Halifax Regional Municipality

                                          Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
    

The Environics Institute for Survey Research was established in 2006 to sponsor relevant and original public opinion, attitude and social values research related to issues of public policy and social change. We wish to survey those not usually heard from, using questions not usually asked.

SOURCE Environics Communications, Inc.

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Claire M. Tallarico: (416) 616-9940, uaps@rogers.com

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Environics Communications, Inc.

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