Locals urge Harper to support First Nations

SOCIAL WORKERS gathered at the George Little Park band shell today to sign letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him not to cut the budgets of national aboriginal organizations.

Those organizations are a key part of repairing the effects of residential schools, says Rob Hart, the president of the BC Association of Social Workers’ northwest branch and the organizer of the letter signings.

“The Harper government has apologized for residential schools but they have not worked with aboriginal people to address the tremendous personal and social damage created by them,” he said.

Hart said it will take generations to deal with the effects of residential schools.

“The Harper government is making this work far more difficult by cutting funding to the national aboriginal organizations that support local work,” he added.

Hart said the cuts worsen an already large gap between health care, education and other spending on aboriginal children compared to spending on other Canadian children.

“There isn’t the equity. It’s not adequate for schools and it’s not adequate for health care,” said Hart of spending on aboriginal children.

There are approximately 160 social workers in the region working for at least 15 agencies of one type or another.

One letter was sent to Harper under the letterhead of the social workers’ northwest branch while social workers sent individual letters.

The Monday letters signing was part of a national campaign and there were other events staged across the country.



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