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Urban Aboriginal Study Released Today by Trent University Professor in Thunder Bay


Findings Reveal Increase in Post-Secondary Education Levels; Yet Poverty and Homelessness Persist

Tuesday, February 6, 2007, Peterborough

At the Oliver Centre in Thunder Bay, Indigenous Studies Professor Don McCaskill of Trent University presented his research findings today which studied the reality of urban Aboriginal people living in Thunder Bay.

In a press conference organized by the Ontario Urban Aboriginal Task Force, Prof. McCaskill delivered his report that revealed that significantly more urban Aboriginal people have completed their post-secondary education than in 1981, the last time a study like this was undertaken. This study also showed a growing middle class segment, with 22% of urban Aboriginal people earning more than $40,000 per year.

Challenges facing urban Aboriginal people persist, however, particularly concerning increases in family violence, poverty and homelessness. “What’s worrying me is if youth programs aren’t initiated, youth gangs may start,” said Prof. McCaskill. This phenomenon of gangs moving east from Winnipeg into Thunder Bay is already evident.

In 2005, Prof. McCaskill was contracted by the Ontario Urban Aboriginal Task Force to conduct a province-wide research project in order to provide solutions to many of the critical issues facing Aboriginal people living within urban environments. The study employed community-based research methods to examine several areas, including demographics, identity and culture, economics and employment, education and youth, homelessness, health services, women, and justice.

Five cities were included in the study: Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Barrie-Midland, Sudbury and Kenora. Today’s report was the first of five site reports to be released; a final Ontario report is expected sometime this spring.

This study was commissioned by the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) and funded by several Aboriginal organizations in conjunction with the federal and provincial governments. Each site report contains 40 recommendations that OFIFC hopes will result in the creation of new government policies and programs to address the needs of urban Aboriginal people.


For further information, please contact:
Professor Don McCaskill, Trent University (705) 748-1011 ext. 7820
Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer (705) 748-1011 ext. 5371