Winnipeg is expected to hit one million people in 20 years, but some people in the aboriginal community are worried about what that will mean for the city’s First Nations people.
A City of Winnipeg report projects Winnipeg will hit one million people by 2033.
Wanda Wuttunee is a professor of native studies at the University of Manitoba. She said the city’s aboriginal population is also expected to grow to become a higher proportion of the population than it is now.
“We are 10 per cent right now, and the forecast is 14 per cent,” she said. On Wednesday night, Wuttunee is scheduled to speak at a University of Manitoba event focused on the future of the city.
“I hope we can be a safe community and an inclusive community and one that people can still be true to their own ideas and values,” said Wuttunee.
She said in order for aboriginal people in Winnipeg to succeed, education needs to be a major focus. She said the aboriginal population will be younger in 20 years, with nearly half of them under the age of 25.
EJ Fontaine is working to inspire those young people. He started the website Amik.ca, a job search tool that aims to get more aboriginal people into the work force.
“I don’t see enough of that in our communities. Our people don’t seem to value education as much as my parents did as I was growing up on the reserve,” said Fontaine. “Many of our kids are not in school, choosing not to go to school, and that’s sad because it’s compromising the future of our community.”
The issue is set to be discussed at the Welcome to Winnipeg event tonight at the U of M. A live blog of the event starts on the CBC website at 6 p.m., and a live-stream of the panel discussion will be broadcast on the CBC website from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
You can also take part on Twitter with the hashtag #UMvisionary.