Sylvia B. Maracle
It follows on a recommendation to reduce Aboriginal teen pregnancy because of the implications for concurrent child and youth poverty, as identified in the October 2002; Urban Aboriginal Poverty: A Status Report on Aboriginal Children and Their Families in Ontario. To date very little has been written about Aboriginal teen pregnancy or about sexuality among Aboriginal youth. In order to develop appropriate programs and services, it is important to understand the realities of this report. The intent is to motivate policy makers, community leaders, workers, parents, youth and elders to take action and address the alarming health condition of Aboriginal children and youth.
SYLVIA B. MARACLE (Skonaganhlh:ra) is a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is a member of the Wolf Clan.
With a degree in Journalism from Ryerson University, Ms. Maracle has been involved in Aboriginal Friendship Centres for over thirty (30) years, serving as the Executive Director for the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) for much of that time. Ms. Maracle has also served as the Vice President of the National Association of Friendship Centres, President of the Native Women’s Resource Centre and Co-Chair of the City of Toronto Taskforce on Access and Equity.
While intellectually engaged in the development of governance and community structures in urban Aboriginal communities, Ms. Maracle’s passion has been centered on the issues of Aboriginal children and women. Often speaking for those who cannot, she has served as the President of Native Child & Family Services, Chair of both the National and Ontario Region Aboriginal HeadStart Committees and is currently a member of the Ontario Aboriginal Management Committee for the Community Action Program for Children. As part of her recent work with the OFIFC, she was the driving force behind two major publications, Urban Aboriginal Child Poverty: A Status Report on Aboriginal Children and their Families in Ontario (2000) and Tenuous Connections: Urban Aboriginal Youth Sexual Health & Pregnancy (2002).
Ms. Maracle has also served as Chair of the Ontario Native Council of Justice (ONCJ); Chair of the Joint Steering Committee on Aboriginal Family Healing; Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy, of which she is still a member; and, as Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council. She was also instrumental in developing the Province of Ontario’s Aboriginal Health Policy
Ms. Maracle continues to find time to lecture on urban development, women’s issues and the cultural revitalization of her people, as well as being an active Board member for Legal Aid Ontario. She has also published various articles on the above noted topics and has been formally recognized as a primary shaper of culture-based management principles.
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