COVID-19 is constantly drawing attention away from the ongoing issues facing the urban Indigenous youth populations. The disparity between
on-reserve and off-reserve media coverage contributes to this. Overall, the progress for off-reserve representation had been pushed back.
COVID-19 has also taken priority as a funding area, and some other initiatives that were being pursued have been tabled. As COVID-19 persists, the lack of awareness around the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) implementation and accountability increases.
Without the ability to hold community meetings, there has been a breakdown in communication and community-based advocacy efforts around Indigenous youth rights. Unfortunately, a lot of the advocacy work that is continuing for Indigenous peoples and rights is done through an on-reserve lens, often leaving the urban and off-reserve Indigenous communities out.
UNDRIP implementation needed to progress further than it has, and Governments are responsible for carrying this work forward as the focus on COVID-19 is creating larger gaps in rights-based issues as opposed to using UNDRIP to lessen them. UNDRIP Article 3 should be considered regarding the right to self-determination and how this could translate into better program and service delivery. CAP’s NYC will always continue to advocate for Indigenous youth rights and UNDRIP implementation.
Incarceration rates remain a factor of systemic racism in Canada that CAP will continue to advocate for meaningful reforms. Despite Indigenous adults represent less than 3% of Canada’s population, Indigenous men represent 26% of correctional admissions, and Indigenous women 38%. Indigenous youth, through the many barriers outlined, are exposed to systemic racism in the judicial system at an early age.