Reserve residences are a type of living space that is set aside by the government for First Nations peoples. They are a place of social hardship and economic disadvantage, but also of cultural survival and identity.
The reserve system began as a result of colonial attempts to “civilize” Aboriginal peoples by introducing them to agriculture, Christianity and a sedentary way of life based on private property. In Canada, reserve settlements have a long and complex history of development.
Originally, reserves were small, remote tracts of land that were not contiguous. Eventually, these lands were gradually surrounded by urban development. This has led to a significant decline in the number of on-reserve Aboriginal communities.
Many reserve residents live off-reserve in cities, often in large, metropolitan areas. This trend is reflected in the 2006 census data.
There are a number of reasons for this. One is that First Nations peoples who live off-reserve are more likely to have higher educational achievements and better income levels than those who reside on-reserve. Another is that they are more likely to be employed, as well as to have access to social programs.
They are also more likely to have a secure financial future. In addition, they are more likely to be able to access financing for construction and renovation projects.
However, they still face several other challenges. For instance, they may not own their lands, and in many cases, the government controls access to natural resources, such as fish or timber.
Some of these issues are addressed through specific programs. For example, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has developed a program for on-reserve housing loans.
There are also various forms of support available to assist individuals and families on reserves who need help paying for basic expenses. These include the Indigenous Services Canada’s Income Assistance Program.
On-reserve housing is an essential part of a community’s infrastructure. It helps protect the environment and provides residents with access to amenities such as schools, water and sewer systems.
The availability of affordable housing on-reserve is essential to the health and well-being of residents. As a matter of policy, the Government of Canada and the Provinces provide funding to ensure that Indigenous communities have access to housing on-reserve.
Some of these funds are administered through the Department of Canadian Heritage, while other funds are funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). These funding sources are designed to meet the needs of on-reserve Indigenous peoples, including those in rural and remote locations.
They are a key component of Canada’s social safety net. The Income Assistance Program helps eligible people living on-reserve to pay their rent or other essential living expenses.
While some on-reserve Aboriginals are able to make ends meet, they often struggle with limited employment opportunities and inadequate living conditions. This can affect their quality of life and their ability to obtain a college education or start a business.
Despite these challenges, a growing number of Canadians are supporting and working with reserve communities. This includes the government, employers and individuals.