At the outset, it should be noted that there is great diversity among Aboriginal peoples, including urban and rural; status and non-status, on‑ and off‑reserve First Nations; Inuit; and Métis. There is no single way of defining Aboriginal populations, whether by identity or by tracking ancestry.
There are unique causal factors underlying FASD in Aboriginal peoples. These factors include the history of attempts at colonization and assimilation, via such tools as residential schools and the sixties scoop often resulting in disenfranchisement, community fragmentation and breakdown. http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/justicereform/volume2/12section9.pdf
In addition are higher rates of poverty and homelessness in the Aboriginal community and lower rates of education and employment, among other socio-economic factors. These factors have contributed to higher rates of substance abuse within the Aboriginal community. http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/justicereform/volume2/12section9.pdf
In a 2003 Aboriginal Healing Foundation review, Dr. Caroline Tait analyzed the research literature on FASD among Aboriginal peoples in Canada with specific attention to the intergenerational effects of colonization, including residential schools.
The report concludes that “the residential school system contributed to high rates of alcohol abuse among those who previously attended the schools and among significant numbers of parents and community members who had their children removed from their care because of the school system.” http://www.ahf.ca/publications/research-series
Dr. Tait also concludes that the residential school system further contributed to alcohol abuse among subsequent generations of Aboriginal people, including women of child-bearing ages. However, “… not every former student responded in the same way to their experience and, for various reasons, some individuals and communities did better than others. Because of this, alcohol abuse among Aboriginal people in Canada varies and it should be understood as a problem of certain individuals and subpopulations, rather than a problem of all Aboriginal people.” http://www.ahf.ca/publications/research-series
Unique Aboriginal specific causes render the diagnosis and treatment of FASD within the justice system for Aboriginal offenders distinctive. As noted by Dr. Tait, “The colonialist experience of Aboriginal people in Canada suggests that mainstream interpretations and analysis of health and social issues concerning Aboriginal people, specifically one as sensitive as pregnancy and substance abuse, be read from a critical perspective, questioning what is taken for granted as the current state of affairs.” http://www.ahf.ca/publications/research-series
By taking into account these different roots of FASD and identifying it with culturally sensitive diagnosis, the justice system can further equality for Aboriginal peoples.
 Refers to a period during the 1960s during which government social service workers were particularly aggressive in removing Aboriginal children from their families and communities and taking them into care. Unfamiliar with extended family child-rearing practices, communal values and cultural practices, social service workers often removed children on the basis of neglect, devastating children’s lives and furthering family and community breakdown. The best interests of the child with respect to culture and ethnicity were generally not taken into consideration as it was assumed that the child would assimilate via foster/adoptive parents.