Reserve residences offer a comfortable setting for families and individuals to live year round. Some are located close to the beach, a championship golf course and resort amenities. Many are spacious and feature vaulted ceilings, French doors, a private screened porch and stainless steel appliances.
The reserve system was designed as part of a larger colonial attempt to civilize Aboriginal peoples by introducing them to farming, Christianity and a sedentary way of life based on Western concepts of property ownership. However, the reality is that reserves are often remote and have limited economic opportunities. They are also often overcrowded and in disrepair. This is why it is so important for the federal government to improve conditions on reserve.
Unfortunately, a recent evaluation of ONAC’s Housing on Reserve program concluded that while some short-term successes have been observed as a result of large influxes of proposal-based funding, the overall program has not led to long-term broad improvements.
As a consequence, many First Nations peoples (North American Indians in Statistics Canada’s language) choose to live off-reserve. Nationwide, this figure now stands at about 57 per cent. And while a move away from the reserve might seem surprising, it makes sense when one considers that those who live off-reserve tend to enjoy a higher standard of living than their on-reserve counterparts. For example, in Stoney Brook, a community in the Okanagan Valley near Kelowna, more than 22 per cent of off-reserve Aboriginals have some form of post-secondary education, while only 43 per cent of those who live on reserve have done so. reserve residences