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Funding for Aboriginal Healing Foundation to end

Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott is pressing the Nunavut government to step in and continue funding the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, which will stop at the end of March.

Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott is pressing the Nunavut government to step in and continue funding the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, which will stop at the end of March.

The federal budget didn't renew funding for the foundation, which, since its inception in 1998, has financed community-based First Nations programs that address abuse suffered in Canada's residential school system.

The $350 million from the federal government was set aside in 1998 to support community based healing initiatives for Inuit, First Nations, and Métis communities.

According to Elliott, many of Nunavut's health and social problems, such as addiction and suicides, have improved.

"The momentum towards healing in our communities has begun. With the loss of these funds, the momentum and everything that these organizations have worked towards will be interrupted and in some cases terminated," said Elliott.

According to Elliott 12 separate programs have been able to provide community based counselling with has had a positive effect. Come the end of March, those programs will be drastically affected.

Positive effect

Health and Social Services Minister Tagak Curley has said that letters have been sent to the appropriate federal departments about the importance on continuing the funding.

However, Curley said that since this was a federal initiative there is not much the territory can do.  He has also stated that he will look into partnering with Inuit organizations.

"My colleagues and I will continue to press the federal government to see if there is any way that we can maybe perhaps find a way to provide some sort of funding," Curley said.

"But to try and suggest that we would find the equal amount of funding for what they have contributed will be very difficult to do so," he added.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story reported that the Aboriginal Healing Foundation was created through the Residential School Truth and Reconciliation program, whereas it was actually funded by a federal government grant.
    Mar 19, 2010 1:00 AM CT

With files from Joanna Awa

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