Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

The Effects of Personal Characteristics on Migration from Prairie Cities to First Nations

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

The Effects of Personal Characteristics on Migration from Prairie Cities to First Nations

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT/RESUME

While it has been known for some time that there is a considerable amount of migration from Canadian cities to reserves, this migration has been overshadowed in the literature by movement from reserves into the city. Migration to reserves is largely seen as the result of a failure to adapt to urban life. This paper describes an attempt to relate individual demographic and human capital characteristics to migration of Registered Indians to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta reserves between 1986 and 1991, using 1991 Aboriginal People Survey data and logistic regression models. The relationships found between human capital variables and mobility are less clear than human capital models predict. However, an interaction of the effects of gender and education on the probability of having moved to a reserve suggests that labour markets in reserve communities play a role in the different migration patterns of men and women. Approaches considering the pull of reserves in addition to pushes from cities are encouraged in order to present a more complete picture of migration.

INTRODUCTION

Bien que nous connaissions depuis longtemps que le taux de migration des villes vers les reserves est plutot eleve, celui-ci est eclipse dans la litterature par Ia migration des reserves vers les villes. Souvent, l'on considere que Ia migration vers les reserves est causee par une incapacite de s'adapter a Ia vie urbaine. Cet article tente de relier Ia migration des Indiens inscrits vers les reserves du Manitoba, de Ia Saskatchewan et de l'Alberta entre les annees 1986 et 1991 aux caracteristiques demographiques individuelles et aux caracteristiques de capital humain. Les donnees de L'Enquete aupres des peuples autochtones en 1991 ainsi que des modeles de regression logistique sont utilises. Les relations trouvees entre les variables de capital humain et de mobilite sont moms evidentes que celles prevues par les modeles de capital humain. Cependant, I'influence du sexe et de l'education sur la probabilite d'avoir demenage la reserve suggere que les marches de travail dans les reserves ont un impact sur les di fferentes tendances de migration chez les hommes et les femmes. Dans le but de fournir une representation plus complete de lamigration, nous encourageons l'utilisation d'approches qui prennent en consideration les aspects positifs des reserves de meme que les aspects negatifs des villes.

The growth of the urban Aboriginal population has perhaps been the most important change in the demography of Canadian Aboriginal people since the 1950s. As Peters (1996) describes it, academic and popular writing about urbanization has constructed the process as both a "social problem" for cities, and as a response and a potential solution to poverty on reserves. Almost universally, the belief has been that the urban Aboriginal population has grown as a direct result of movement from reserve communities into cities, undertaken in order to find employment or to escape poor social conditions. This view was perhaps most clearly articulated by the Hawthorn Report, which preceded the now infamous 1967 White Paper, and which claimed that much of the poverty in Aboriginal communities was intractable and that the best solution was for migration to cities to be encouraged (Hawthorn et al. 1966:256). In the 1970s and 1980s, several studies were produced that described the difficulties faced by Aboriginal people once i n the city (Brody, 1971; Denton, 1972; Clatworthy, 1980; Clatworthy and Hull, 1983). According to these studies, racism and a lack of marketable skills and education contribute to high unemployment and dependence on social assistance in the city. Life in the city is often made more difficult by poor social conditions in the low-income areas in which many Aboriginal people find the only affordable housing (Williams, 1997; Barsh, 1997). Social services delivered along a dominant-culture model give Aboriginal people little support for adjustment to the urban setting (Reeves and Frideres, 1981). …

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