Reserve residences, also known as Indian reserves, are small pieces of land that are held by First Nations (Canada’s Indigenous peoples) and managed by their governments. They are generally a small, isolated community that provides a place for Aboriginal people to live.
Many reserves are remote, rural areas where Aboriginal communities thrive and where Indigenous languages are spoken and a wide range of cultural practices are practiced. However, many reserve residents face serious economic hardships and social disadvantages.
Despite these challenges, reserves are still vital to the survival of Indigenous culture in Canada. They are often the only place where a people’s language is taught in schools, and Indigenous cultural practices are still practiced.
In other parts of Canada, however, a growing number of reserve residents are moving off-reserve to live in larger cities where more services are available. This may be a reaction to the high cost of living on-reserve, a lack of access to jobs in their home communities, or a desire to experience other types of lifestyles.
A recent survey of a small number of Canadian cities found that, compared to on-reserve Aboriginals, those who live in these urban centres have higher levels of education and earnings. They also have lower unemployment rates and less government transfer payments.
Some of these urban centres are very close to Indian reserves, while others are far away from them. In addition, there are a number of factors that influence where a city’s Aboriginal population resides, including the type of culture within a city and the level of cooperation between Indigenous groups and non-Indigenous neighbors.
The most common reason for people moving off-reserve is because they are able to afford to move into urban centres where they can obtain employment and live more comfortably. This can be a result of gaining access to jobs, obtaining financial assistance from the government, or simply a desire to live in a more urban setting with more conveniences and amenities.
Other reasons for moving off-reserve include the availability of affordable housing, the proximity to work and family and the ability to take advantage of social services such as health care, child welfare and education programs. Additionally, the availability of transportation and public services is often more convenient in larger centres.
Those who choose to live off-reserve often do so because they can afford to do so, but the majority of those who choose to reside off-reserve are doing so to be closer to their families. These factors are also a factor in the success of off-reserve families, with children in particular benefiting from the stability of their family and community.
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