The Understanding Indigenous Children’s Gifts of Toronto Report is the final summation of a year-long community research project entitled, Understanding Indigenous Children’s Gifts of Toronto. This report is divided into two parts:
Part I: Why Indigenous Perspectives are Needed Provides a historical and colonial context to ensure all service providers understand the unique rights and history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. We begin this report by reviewing the history of colonialism and discrimination through Canada’s Indian Act policies, residential school system, and the sixties scoop. We highlight how such policies and practices directly contributed to intergenerational trauma, mistrust of service providers, and the far-reaching impact on many Indigenous families seeking services in urban areas. This section also provides a snapshot of the general urban Indigenous communities of Toronto, and more specifically, statistical indicators of Indigenous families accessing services in Toronto. Finally, we provide a current Indigenous Outcomes model as presented in the Raising the Village Measuring the Well-being of Children and Families in Toronto.
PART 2 Indigenous Outcomes. These outcomes include: selfknowledge, strong families, vibrant community, cultural equity, and self-determination.
Part II: Understanding Indigenous Children’s Gifts of Toronto Project reviews the research values and processes taken up during the research. We explore the viewpoints and advice provided by six local Indigenous families with children requiring specialized services. Themes on needs and challenges include: more responsive programming, more support, need for better transportation, barriers in the school systems, need for more time, and addressing waiting lists. Families provided feedback on accessing cultural services and described reasons for not accessing services, including lack of comfort in their identity and how they are received, lack of specific services to meet their children’s unique needs, and inability to access services. Families also spoke of the need for more appropriate childcare and additional supports to attend programming, being notified of events, and being personally invited to programming. Finally, families recommended specific training and better collaboration between service providers as ways in which Indigenous families can be better served.