Trudeau makes self-criticism at UN speech
NEW YORK - ReutersPrime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sept. 21 admitted Canada had failed its indigenous people and told the United Nations his government would do better to improve the lives of aboriginals and achieve reconciliation.
Trudeau used his speech to the U.N. General Assembly to frankly acknowledge the dark history of Canada's colonization as one of "humiliation, neglect and abuse" and promised to do more to help the nation's 1.4 million indigenous people.
"We have been working hard ... to correct past injustices and bring about a better quality of life for indigenous peoples in Canada," he said.
"Though this path is uncharted, I am confident that we will reach a place of reconciliation," Trudeau later added.
Two years in, many say he is not doing enough to help indigenous Canadians, who make up about 4 percent of the population and face higher levels of poverty and violence and shorter life expectancies.
Canada's national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women has been hit by resignations and complaints it is progressing too slowly.
Many aboriginal communities do not have access to safe drinking water, and suicides have plagued several isolated communities.
Acknowledging Canada's attempt to force assimilation through residential schooling and other repressive policies, Trudeau called the living conditions aboriginals face "the legacy of colonialism in Canada."