I can only speak to how the First Nations in my own country are treated and it is by and large appalling. Certainly historically what with residential schools, but even in recent years. Police in areas with high native populations do some pretty monstrous shit
, not to mention the federal government ignoring the numerous deaths and disappearances of young first nations women "Not on our radar".
Our new government has promised to at least address the missing and murdered women, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. The UN has found that the difference in quality of life between a northern reservation and, say, Toronto, is akin to that between a third world country and ourselves. High suicide rates, poor food security, high rates of violence and crime (if you look at the statistics of where the highest crime rates in Canada are, they are almost 100% in and around large native communities).
But where do we even begin to fix these kinds of problems? Many reservations contain pretty valuable resources that might help them economically if they were accessed, but these communities don't have the resources to start mining for uranium or digging for oil even if they wanted to, which many understandably do not. And at that point corporations are happy to offer to help set up the infrastructure, but then who ends up profiting, who ends up employed at the mines and oil fields? Not the first nations, I guarantee you that.
The food security problem is a whole other can of worms. Many reservations simply don't contain any arable land, whether because that's where we put them or they're so far north there's permafrost, so many communities are left with basically two options: Hunting/Fishing, which is fine but hardly secure, or (and this is what happens) having shipments of awful, cheap, unhealthy crap brought in from outside. And I say it's cheap but of course it's quite expensive to buy once it's on the reservation, and since many of them have no real economies to speak of, how are people affording to buy anything at all?
It's such a huge clusterfuck and so goddamn depressing.
So ben_jamin it is terrible that native issues in the US are basically ignored, but you can trust me that for many of us in the great white north they are the issue of the day. How we move forward as a nation is going to be shaped with what we do to help our first nations thrive.