A new report came out that took data from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Canada’s Indian Register, called First People Lost: Determining the Status of First Nations Mortality using Administrative Data, and the findings are scary, but not surprising.
Indian females listed, are much more likely to meet a suspicious and untimely death than someone not on that list. Women and girls are suffering a much higher rate of mortality that any other gender or group in all of country.
The paper shows that the mortality rates comparing First Nations peoples to that of the average person in Canada is much higher in all of the age groups. Starting in a girls early teens there is a big spike in the First Nations female mortality that continue until they are about 45 years old. The rates are almost 400% of the average mortality rate for women.
The chances of an early death are higher for a Status First Nations person living on one of Canada’s First Nations Reserves than it is for those who are living off of a reserve.
When they added location to the statistics they had about race and gender, there was a staggering amount of numbers that are hidden in data aimed at larger groups of people—the mortality rate of for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who live on a reserve is almost 5 times what the national average.
These results are often hidden in reports because they focus on larger provinces, and since Reserves are typically small, this connection was not made before now.
What is even more worrisome, is that when they went back and looked at data from the past 30 years, these statistics all stayed about the same, so these high levels of mortality are nothing new. While it is impossible right now to pinpoint the exact causes for such high mortality rates, the research is making connections to poverty and economic conditions that affect women who are live on a reserve.
Both Northern Affairs Canada and Canada’s Indian Register plan to do more research to see how this can be changed.