OTTAWA — Cutting up to 80 per cent of the funding for aboriginal organizations will set research on aboriginal issues back by a generation, a group of university professors told the federal government last week.
More than 120 researchers from across Canada, led by the Manitoba Research Alliance, wrote to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan Nov. 22, asking him to reconsider “ill-advised” cuts.
The researchers say the cuts will leave most aboriginal organizations without any capacity to lead their own research or partner with research projects at universities, which will cut a big hole in the amount of research being done on issues such as health care, violence against women and water.
“It’s just awful,” said Karen Busby, a law professor at the University of Manitoba and one of the lead researchers behind the letter to Duncan.
In September, Duncan adjusted the way Ottawa funds national, provincial and local aboriginal organizations. The six national aboriginal organizations, including the Assembly of First Nations, will have a 10 per cent cut in 2014-15 to their $9.6 million in core funding.
The 39 regional aboriginal organizations, including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, will see either a 10 per cent cut or a cap of $500,000 applied to their core funding. For the AMC, that means an 81 per cent cut from more than $2.5 million to $500,000. The Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak will be cut nearly 70 per cent.