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Opinion

Urban-based Indigenous populations matter, let’s start acting like it

We have an extraordinary responsibility to ensure that this structural violence does not continue to play out in lives of the urban-based First Nations, Métis, Inuit and non-status peoples. They matter.

ISG Sen. Mary Jane McCallum, pictured in her Senate office on Feb. 26, 2020. As Parliamentarians, we have researched and highlighted the many gaps that exist for Indigenous populations. These persistent gaps are rooted in the social determinants of health, but come into focus more publicly in the midst of crises or pandemics, such as H1N1 and COVID-19, writes Sen. McCallum. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

When I was finally able to leave residential school and then high school, I moved from place to place for many reasons. I no longer had a physical residence on the reserve. I had very few job prospects and a non-existent support system. I ventured out, as a very vulnerable young woman, taking odd jobs which included working in a fish plant in Co-op Point, as a nurse’s aide in The Pas, and finally as a chambermaid in Winnipeg, where I had arrived in 1971.

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