Only 44% of Indigenous youth entering high school in Alberta graduate within the traditional three-year period.
Indigenous youth experience higher rates of violence, addictions, homelessness, suicide, gang/justice/child welfare involvement and poverty, while experiencing lower levels of education, high school completion, health, unemployment and a greater reliance on social assistance. Much of this is linked to the impacts of intergenerational trauma.
Indigenous people have experienced a different history than mainstream Canada—the full scope of which is frequently overlooked or poorly understood by service providers or agencies who work First Nations, Inuit or Métis populations. This disregard is not necessarily intentional, but rather reflects the social, cultural, political and economic separations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for the last 150 years. The Indigenous experience in Canada has been largely excluded from mainstream institutions to a degree that even Indigenous people themselves are unaware of the challenges faced by parents, grandparents, extended family members and ancestors. However, it is crucial to understand how the cumulative effects of intergenerational trauma continue to impact the cultural, social and economic realities of many Indigenous people today, and how “historical trauma” manifests itself in everyday life.
94% of youth participants in our Indigenous leadership programs and 96% of participants in our Indigenous arts programs reported an increase in knowledge of their culture and heritage (BGCC program 2016 statistics).
Symptoms of Intergenerational Trauma (IT)
Individual, family and communal responses to trauma and adjunct coping mechanisms typically present themselves as IT symptoms. These negative socio-psychological impacts are around what many social agencies, service providers and funders currently develop their criteria and programming. However, in order to offer more effective services to Indigenous people, it’s crucial to understand the core issues and root causes of IT.
Historical Impacts: Story of Indigenous People
Understanding the impact of IT on Indigenous people, in all age groups, requires knowledge of key events and mechanisms that have occurred throughout history as a result of colonialism. Historical trauma and the colonial process are extensive and multi-layered in their influence.
- 420 Indigenous families served
- 90% of Indigenous youth reported feeling a sense of belonging and increased senses of identity
- 100% of Indigenous youth reported an increase in overall confidence and self-esteem
- 100% of youth in Iiyika’kimmat program gained knowledge about Indigenous culture
- 188 families and 377 children were served in the Mahmawi-Atoskiwin program in 2016-17
- 80% of children discharged from the program in 2016-17 remained in the care of their parents
4Rs Youth Movement
The 4Rs Youth Movement is a youth- driven initiative that was launched to transform the country by creating brave spaces to raise awareness and change the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The Commission hopes to guide and inspire First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and Canadians in a process of truth and healing leading toward reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.