FEDERAL SUPPORTS FOR ABORIGINAL PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Raihanna Hirji-Khalfan

Abstract


Aboriginal people with disabilities (APWD) are one of the most oppressed and marginalized groups in Canada. As the only group subjected to a federal Indian Act, Aboriginal people are twice as likely, and Aboriginal women are three times as likely, to experience multiple levels of discrimination based on disability, race, and gender. This paper examines how the federal government of Canada supports APWD on-reserve in light of their unique legal and historical place in Canadian society. The author critically analyses federal legislation and public policy to conclude that legislation pertaining to APWD is derogatory and incompatible with other statutes that address disability. Programs for APWD are limited in scope and fail to consider the cultural needs of the community. Canada needs to develop programs and services for APWD that are culturally appropriate in partnership with Indigenous peoples rather than imposing mainstream standards onto culturally diverse populations.

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