Summary: While Indigenous peoples account for about five per cent of our national population, Indigenous children under the age of 14 represent seven per cent of all children in the country. Youth represent nearly half of Canada’s Indigenous population.
When Paul Martin quit national politics he didn’t step away from the national policy scene or his interest in Indigenous education. The former prime minister founded the Martin Family Initiative (MFI); a charity that works with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation Peoples to improve education, health, and well-being outcomes for Indigenous children, youth, and adults.
MFI aims to support Indigenous students as they learn how to create successful careers. Its Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program introduces Indigenous high school students to business opportunities in the Canadian economy. It teaches students how to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit, improve their financial literacy and communication skills, and gives them an opportunity to explore a variety of post-secondary options.
Over 5,000 students have completed the program since its inception 11 years ago. Today, the course is being taught at 50 high schools on and off reserve. It is in such high demand that in 2019, MFI, acting on a request from the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs, launched an Indigenous Entrepreneur Course for adults, based on its high school program.