Text of Canadian Aboriginal Issues. Important Definitions Aboriginal Peoples First peoples to live in...
Canadian Aboriginal Issues
Important Definitions Aboriginal Peoples First peoples to live in any nation Mtis Person of mixed Native and European ancestry Inuit Replaced the term Eskimo Status Indians Those who have legal rights under the Indian Act Non Status Indians Those who have given up their legal status as Indians, while still retaining their cultural identityIndian Only used when referring to legislation, historical events, or legal status First Nation Used in the 1990s in place of Indian Band or Indian Nation
History of Aboriginal Peoples Aboriginal peoples have been living in Canada for at least 11,000 years 53 aboriginal languages existed prior to European contact When Europeans arrived, they believed aboriginal way of life was inferior This led to the Canadian government forcing aboriginal people from their land, making them live according to its new laws, etc.
Numbered Treaties There were 11 Numbered Treaties signed between 1871 and 1921 The Canadian government began to pursue settlement, farming and resource development in the west and north of the country They needed control of the land The treaties covered Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and portions of the Yukon, the NWT and BC Indians who occupied these territories gave up vast tracts of land with the signing of these treaties. Indians who occupied these territories gave up vast tracts of land with the signing of these treaties.
Indian Act 1876 After negotiating many Numbered Treaties the federal government introduced and passed The Indian Act of 1876 Turned the Aboriginals into legal wards of the state (like children) Their lands, assets and mineral rights came under the trust of the federal government Assimilation was also the goal: Have them adopt the same culture, and essentially become the same as European Canadians Mtis people were not recognized Considered to be half breeds
Indian Act Positives? Gave special status to Aboriginal peoples Provided health care, treaty payments, and hunting and fishing rights Exempted aboriginal peoples from paying income and sales tax However, these positive were often limited by the government
Indian Act Negatives Status Indians were denied the right to vote Would lose their status if they chose to vote, move off reserves, join the military, obtain post secondary education, or marry a non-Indian It was used to ban the traditional activities: the potlatch and Sundance Aboriginals were treated harshly when in possession of alcohol Aboriginal children were removed from their homes by provincial governments and sent to residential schools The definition of person which was in the Indian Act until 1951 included an individual other than an Indian. Alberta girl performing Sundance
Potlatch A potlatch is a highly complex event or ceremony among nations on the coast of British Columbia that has been practiced for thousands of years. A potlatch, includes celebration of births, rites of passages, weddings, funerals, puberty, and honoring of the deceased. Involves feasts, with music, dance, theatricality and spiritual ceremonies Within it, hierarchical relations within and between clans, villages, and nations, are observed and reinforced through the distribution of wealth, dance performances, and other ceremonies. The host demonstrates their wealth and prominence through giving away the resources gathered for the event, which in turn prominent participants reciprocate when they hold their own potlatches Tlingit chiefs at potlatch, 1904
Reserves Reserves: Land controlled by the government The more pressure there was for settlement of Western Canada, the more the government pressured Indian people to settle on Reserves Reserve clusters were kept far enough apart to discourage Bands from forming alliances against the government Also kept far from the rest of Canadian population, making assimilation difficult
Residential Schools Before contact with Europeans, First Nations had their own educational processes. The goal was to become responsible members of society. Education was considered a life- long process. Elders were the transmitters of knowledge and wisdom. Traditional Indian cultures exhibited a close relationship with the environmentTraditional Indian cultures exhibited a close relationship with the environment Learning the relationship with nature was an essential component of a child's upbringing.Learning the relationship with nature was an essential component of a child's upbringing.
Residential Schools cont After contact with Europeans - education became the primary instrument to assimilate Indian people Under the Indian Act, the federal government assumed responsibility for education Residential schools were established following the signing of the Numbered Treaties Run by Catholic, Anglican and Protestant missionaries The objectives were: To assimilate aboriginal children To assimilate aboriginal children To Christianize To Christianize To teach the 3 R's To teach the 3 R's To develop children into farmers & housekeepers To develop children into farmers & housekeepers
Residential Schools - Legacy Residential and industrial schools also began a legacy of despair for Indian people Children were removed from their homes with or without parental consent The use of Indian languages in school was prohibited; Children were punished severely for speaking their language, even if they knew no English
Residential Schools - Legacy Many children died as a result of health conditions at the schools Many other children ran away from school; upon their return they were severely punished Many encountered sexual abuse by people in authority Many suffered severe psychological harm as their identity as an Indian person was attacked. Many lost their knowledge of traditional parenting practices The last government controlled residential school closed in 1986
Federal White Paper 1969 Until 1960: aboriginals living on reserves did not have the right to vote, own land, or consume alcohol Enfranchisement encouraged: gain the right to vote and rights of a Canadian citizen, but lost Indian status 1968: PM Trudeau realized changes are needed due to illness, unemployment and poverty on native reserves Introduced White Paper: proposed abolition of reserves and end to special status for treaty Indians End of Indian Act Premise: equality necessary for solution to problems caused by special status Solution: assimilate into mainstream Canadian culture
Federal White Paper 1969...cont... Aboriginal community rejected the proposal: Cultural genocide (deliberate extermination of their culture) Aboriginal community showed hostile response and opposition (called the Red Paper) National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) formed to represent Status Indians Native Council of Canada created to represent Non-Status Indians and Mtis Reactions caused Trudeau to withdraw the White Paper in 1971
Land Claims Two Types: Specific Land Claims: based on existing treaties Comprehensive Land Claims: based on traditional use and occupancy; usually in areas where no treaties had been signed. 1974: Office of Native Claims formed to deal with issue of land rights However, 1970s were more focussed on other Canadians, not aboriginal peoples 1980s: NIB became Assembly of First Nations Fought for better conditions for aboriginal peoples Because of them, Aboriginal Rights became more clearly recognized and in 1975 the Declaration of the First Nations was adopted = rights of nationhood and self government
Constitution Act 1982 Guaranteed that existing rights of aboriginal peoples would be recognized Their rights include: Right to control traditional land Protect beliefs and culture Have self government: right to make decisions about matters internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, traditions and languages, and connected with their relationship to land and resources Under self government: relationship with federal government similar to provincial governments Aboriginal governments would be responsible for own policing, health care, and education
Protests of the 1990s: Meech Lake Accord - 1990 Refer to French Issues notes Accord was opposed by Elijah Harper (Aboriginal leader in Manitoba) Believed aboriginal peoples deserved special status alongside Quebec Did not feel the Meech Lake Accord recognized the distinct status of aboriginal peoples
Protests of the 1990s: Oka Standoff- 1990 The Oka Crisis was a land dispute and blockade between the Mohawk nation and the town of Oka, Quebec which began on July 11, 1990, and lasted until September 26, 1990. resulted in three deaths, and would be the 1 st of a number of well-publicized violent conflicts between Indigenous people and the Canadian government in the late 20th century. The Mohawk nation had been pursuing a land claim which included a burial ground and a sacred grove of pine trees near Kanesatake. This brought them into conflict with the town of Oka, which was developing plans to expand a golf course onto the land. The mayor of Oka, Jean Ouellette, announced in 1989 that the remainder of the pines would be cleare