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Customs Border Services on First Nations People

First Nations People

In Canada, First Nations (FN) is a term used to describe indigenous people who do not identify themselves with either Inuit or Métis. According to Hitchon et al. (2020), they have grown into different languages, cultures, spiritual beliefs and traditions. As explicated further in Hitchon et al.’s study, the group had complex societies comprising systems for trade and commerce, resource management and building relationships. Currently, Canada has up to 630 different First Nation communities, with the majority living in British Columbia and Ontario.

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Challenges facing First Nations People

First Nations people face a lot of challenges despite having lived in Canada for many years. For instance, the unequal provision of health and social services for First Nations children has been cited by different scholars for more than a decade (Batta, et al., 2019). Similarly, Canada is still crippled with the challenges of eliminating many years of structural and systematic discrimination against the First Nations people. Most importantly, the gaps that exist between the social and economic conditions of First Nations and non-First Nations populations pose a huge challenge.

While the country removed its objector status from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples (UNDRIP) in 2016 and promised to implement it in line with the Canadian constitution, this is yet to be achieved (Short et al., 2020). Many First Nations people continue to face challenges related to access to clean, safe drinking water. Similarly, people live in inadequate housing and crowded living conditions (Whitehead, 2018). A good example was the case of the Attawapiskat community whose conditions drew national and international attention.

CBS on First Nations People

Customs Border Services (CBS) in Canada is a program that is responsible for providing integrated services that ensure public safety as well as facilitating a free flow of persons and goods. Therefore, the members and the leadership of the program should know about First Nations people, especially the challenges facing them. While the CBS is not entirely responsible for addressing the aforementioned challenges, it should strive to work towards ensuring First Nations people are recognized, respected and well-represented. First, CBS should show a high level of commitment by becoming a leading organization that respects and cooperates with First Nations.

Customs Border Services should know about this content (First Nations People) in order to develop measures to help them and the public as a whole. For instance, CBS should strive to become a workplace of choice for First Nations people. Similarly, for those already employed, the program should recognize the valuable and unique contribution they bring. Most importantly, CBS should build a culture that prioritizes First Nations people’s considerations in the workplace and the border (von der Porten et al., 2019). Currently, it has adopted Minister’s Special Representative Report on First Nations.

Benefits for All Canadians

The Customs Border Services’ vision remains to be a leading organization that engages, respects, cooperates and partners with indigenous peoples in providing integrated border services. These services are aimed at supporting national security and public safety priorities besides facilitating the free flow of people and goods. The Indigenous Affairs Secretariat was established to guide CBS on how its policies, operations and engagement activities related to First Nations people (Dockery, 2020). This has been done through improved cultural competencies, which ensures the program is aligned with the government’s reconciliation principles.


Batta, R., Carey, R., Sasbrink-Harkema, M. A., Oyedokun, T. O., Lim, H. J., & Stempien, J. (2019). Equality of care between First Nations and non-First Nations patients in Saskatoon emergency departments. Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, 21(1), 111-119. Web.

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Dockery, A. M. (2020). Inter-generational transmission of Indigenous culture and children’s wellbeing: Evidence from Australia. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 74 (4), 80-93. Web.

Hitchon, C. A., Khan, S., Elias, B., Lix, L. M., & Peschken, C. A. (2020). Prevalence and incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in Canadian First Nations and non–First Nations people: A population-based study. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 26(5), 169. Web.

Short, D., Lennox, C., Burger, J., & Hohmann, J. (Eds.). (2020). The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A contemporary evaluation. Routledge.

Whitehead, J. (2018). Literary land claims The” Indian land question” from Pontiac’s war to Attawapiskat by Margery fee. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, 49(1), 162-166. Web.

von der Porten, S., Corntassel, J., & Mucina, D. (2019). Indigenous nationhood and herring governance: strategies for the reassertion of Indigenous authority and inter-Indigenous solidarity regarding marine resources. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 15(1), 62-74. Web.

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