The Aboriginal community in North America is facing many challenges. However, evidence suggests that they are unable to cope with the obstacles as well as the non-Aboriginal population.
For example, the suicide rate in their community is higher than the national averages. According to Health Canada, for example, the youth suicide rate is 5 to 7 times higher for Aboriginals than non-Aboriginals in Canada. Moreover, the highest suicide rate in the world recorded is for the Inuit youth in Canada, which is 11 times higher than the national Canadian suicide rate. This is not a new phenomenon; for the past 2 decades, suicide rates among North American Aboriginals has been higher than their national averages (Kirmayer ,et al.).
Furthermore, violence against women is another disturbing factor. For example, a report by Statistics Canada, Violent victimization of Aboriginal women in the Canadian provinces, 2009 , states that 13% of women age 15 and up have reported violence against them such as intimate partner violence. Similarly, intimate partner violence is also higher in the Aboriginal communities than the national average, according to the Government of Canada in their report titled Aboriginal Women and Family Violence. Moreover, most victims and first responders believe that the justice system fails to adequately reprimand the perpetrators.
A frightening revelation is that the victims and perpetrators identify “drug and alcohol consumption (by both parties) as an aggravating factor” in violence (Statistics Canada).
These surprisingly negative results pose many questions. Why is the Aboriginal community prone to such factors? What makes them more vulnerable to crime and suffering than the non-Aboriginal population?
Health Canada: First Nations and Inuit Health: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/promotion/suicide/index-eng.php
Statistics Canada: Violent victimization of Aboriginal women in the Canadian provinces, 2009 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2011001/article/11439-eng.htm
Government of Canada: Aboriginal Women and Family Violence http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/pdfs/fem-abor_e.pdf
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation Research Series: Suicide Among Aboriginal People in Canada