Thursday, July 14, 2011

A child's death, a nation's shame

The Times Colonist looked at the shooting death of a five-year-old boy on an Alberta reserve today. The statistical portrait of reserve life was striking and horrifying.

"Consider the numbers. Ethan Yellowbird was a member of the Samson nation. His grandfather is chief. According to the 2006 census, about 3,300 people lived on the reserve. The median age was 20; 37 per cent of the population was under 15.

There were 765 families on the reserve - couples, with or without children, and single parents. And 345 of them, or 45 per cent, were single-parent families. That's more than three times the rate for the rest of the province.

The median family income was $19,776, compared with the Alberta median of $73,823.

The unemployment rate was 27 per cent. Thirty-four per cent of residents over 15 had a high school education or better, compared with 76 per cent of Albertans.

The numbers offer a limited portrait of a struggling community - poor, undereducated and underemployed.

And the large numbers of young people growing up without hope of a better future suggest decades of struggle ahead."

You can read the rest here.

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