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Finding the pathways to success for Aboriginal people

New book explores economic success of indigenous population in Greater Sudbury
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Kevin Fitzmaurice, professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury, and Suzanne Shawbonquit, chair of KINXUS Aboriginal Urban Resources, launched their new study, “Pathways to Mino Biimadiziwin in the City: A Profile of Urban Aboriginal Economic Success in Sudbury” on Jan. 13 at the Fromagerie Elgin. Photo by Arron Pickard. 

A study conducted by a relatively new Aboriginal organization in Greater Sudbury provides a snapshot of success among indigenous people in the city.

KINXUS Aboriginal Urban Resources launched “Pathways to Mino Biimadiziwin in the City: A Profile of Urban Aboriginal Economic Success in Sudbury” on Jan. 13. The study highlights the experiences of economic success and the diverse pathways to Aboriginal community life in Sudbury.

“This research supports KINXUS Aboriginal Urban Resources in their efforts to foster greater understanding and partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, which can bridge business interests and enhance economic opportunities for Aboriginal youth,” said Kevin Fitzmaurice, professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury, and co-author of the study. 

Pathways to Mino Biimaadiziwin in the city has revealed a number of key themes and aspirations that contribute to living the “good life” in the city, such as the importance of a supportive early family life, culture and language, a strong urban Aboriginal community, and the elimination of racism. 

Suzanne Shawbonquit, chair of KINXUS Aboriginal Urban Resources, said Pathways builds on a number of already published studies, more specifically, the 2007 Urban Aboriginal Task Force. It identified the emergence of an “outsider” urban Aboriginal middle class who “appeared to be moving away from the Aboriginal social service community.”

“We didn't want to let that information just sit on a shelf somewhere,” Shawbonquit said. “We want to know why Aboriginal people moved to Sudbury? Why do they live in this particular area? This information will be useful to many in the community.”

“Pathways” delves into such issues as perceptions of home and community in Sudbury, Aboriginal cultures, racism and internal discrimination, as well as economic and political relations.

KINXUS was formed about two years ago, because there was a need in the city to have an Aboriginal or indigenous organization that really focuses on data and supports some of our initiatives, Shawbonquit said.

“We had nowhere to go as indigenous people to get information or resources,” she said. “We felt it was our responsibility as Aboriginal leaders in the community to kick start this.”

A past study conducted by KINXUS that looked at where people were going to find information and resources on Aboriginal organization revealed a shocking truth, she said.

“What we found was people didn't navigate to where we thought they would,” she said. “We thought the Friendship Centre would be a natural option for people to go and get information and resources, but we found it was the Rainbow District School Board.”

“That's when we said, we need to be able to provide that information and resources ourselves. We're the indigenous people, we have the education and the knowledge from our ancestors, but we're not utilizing any of the resources. KINXUS is that more modern way to sharing those resources, and will allow businesses in our community to start reconnecting.”

There are only 200 copies of “Pathways” printed.



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Arron Pickard

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