How Aboriginal Peoples are Perceived and What is to be Done: Education? Training? Community Dialogue?

TORONTO, March 18, 2013 /CNW/ - In advance of March 21, the International Day to Eliminate Racism, The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), in conjunction with the University of Winnipeg, is sponsoring a National and local Dialogue on Perceptions of Aboriginal Peoples in Immigrant Communities on Wednesday, March 20 at at the University Club of the Winnipeg.  Panelists will include Ron Swain of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Abdikheir Ahmed of IRCOM.

Recent information from a 2013 attitude survey shows that the negative perception of Aboriginals has increased and the positive attitudes declined, most markedly in English Canada.  Although more positive attitudes were reported by immigrants overall, there was a consistent 1 in 4 of respondents who reported low trust of Aboriginals among all Canadians, including among immigrants.

As part of the CRRF Interfaith and Belonging Project, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it was decided to explore the question of how Aboriginal Peoples are perceived among newcomers from a range of faiths, by bringing together local and national leaders.

"Over the years, we have had anecdotal reports of how quickly some immigrants picked up negative stereotypes of Aboriginal Peoples in cities where they live in close proximity to each other," said Rubin Friedman, Principal Operating Officer of the CRRF.

The survey results tell us we all need to make greater efforts to identify how negative perceptions develop and what can be done to address them.  Immigrants in particular often have no knowledge of Aboriginal Peoples and their history in Canada.  Why do negative perceptions develop so fast?"

"And although we are examining perceptions in immigrant communities first, it is obvious that this is a challenge for our whole society.  Perhaps fuller information can be given to newcomers about Aboriginal Peoples, their history and their rights.  Perhaps we need to review what is being taught in schools on these subjects.  Perhaps we need to encourage more community encounters and open dialogue to promote a greater common understanding.  This Winnipeg dialogue and consultation could become the first step in a national process that is essential for that to happen," concluded Friedman.

For further information on the 2013 survey see the end of the news release on our web site at:

SOURCE: Canadian Race Relations Foundation

For further information:

For further information on the issue:
Rubin Friedman
Principal Operating Officer, CRRF

For further information on time and location:
Alan Yusim


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