first nation reserves

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Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld an earlier B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that will allow the Nechako Nations to bring forward a damages claim against Rio Tinto, an aluminum industry giant.

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Because of the Indian Act, First Nations people in Canada who choose to live on a reserve are grouped in the same category as children.

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When comparing overall operating expenditures, on-reserve students receive the same amount (on average) as other Canadian students, and in some cases, more.

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Imagine two small Ontario towns. One is a reserve that blocks an outside investigation into its $31.2 million annual operating budget. That town, Attawapiskat First Nation, has 1,549 people on the reserve according to the last census.

Now imagine another town, a non-Native one, where recent budget estimates peg its annual operating expenditures at $8.4 million. That’s the township of Atikokan, near Thunder Bay, with 3,293 people.

Careful readers will notice that the larger town, Atikokan, has a much smaller operating budget than does Attawapiskat.