Massive Mistreatment of First Nations
I had no idea how jaw-dropping unfair we Canadians have been to the indigenous people. The indigenous people started with all the land and ended up with only a tiny fraction of it, but the conniving that made that happen is just a tiny part of abuse of power. What really revolts me is not the villainous bigotry of a few Canadians but the institutional bigotry of the majority, reflected in the grossly unfair Indian Act. Here are some of the amendments made to it over the years:
- 1881: Amended to make officers of the Indian Department, including Indian Agents, legal justices of the peace, able to enforce regulations. The following year they were granted the same legal power as magistrates. Further, amended to prohibit the sale of agricultural produce by Indians in Prairie Provinces without an appropriate permit from an Indian agent. This prohibition was, as of 2008, still included in the Indian Act, though it was not enforced.
- 1885: Amended to prohibit religious ceremonies (such as potlatches) and dances (such as Tamanawas dances).
- 1894: Amended to remove band control of non-natives living on reserve. This power now vested exclusively in the hands of the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs.
- 1895: Amended to outlaw all dances, ceremonies and festivals that involved the wounding of animals or humans, or the giving away of money or goods. [no birthday parties]
- 1905: Amended to allow aboriginal people to be removed from reserves near towns with more than 8,000 residents.
- 1906: Amended to allow only 50% of the sale price of reserve lands to be given to band members, following the surrender of that land.
- 1911: Amended to allow municipalities and companies to expropriate portions of reserves, without surrender, for roads, railways and other public works. Further, amended to allow a judge to move an entire reserve away from a municipality if it was deemed expedient. These amendments were also known as the Oliver Act.
- 1914: Amended to require western Indians to seek official permission before appearing in aboriginal costume in any dance, show, exhibition, stampede or pageant.
- 1918: Amended to allow the Superintendent-General to lease out uncultivated reserve lands to non-aboriginals if the new lease-holder used it for farming or pasture.
- 1920: Amended to allow the Department of Indian Affairs to ban hereditary rule of bands. Further, amended to allow for the involuntary enfranchisement (and loss of treaty rights) of any status Indian considered unfit by the Department of Indian Affairs, without the possession of land previously required for those living off reserve. Repealed two years later, but reintroduced in a modified form in 1933.
- 1927: Amended to prevent anyone (aboriginal or otherwise) from soliciting funds for Indian legal claims without a special license from the Superintendent-General. This effectively prevented any First Nation from pursuing aboriginal land claims. Not only were indigenous people effectively not permitted to hire lawyers, they were not permitted to go to law school to represent themselves.
- 1930: Amended to prevent a pool hall owner from allowing entrance to an Indian who by inordinate frequenting of a pool room either on or off an Indian reserve misspends or wastes his time or means to the detriment of himself, his family or household. The owner could face a fine or a one-month jail term.
- 1936: Amended to allow Indian agents to direct band council meetings and to cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie.
- 1951: Amended to henceforth allow the sale and slaughter of livestock without an Indian Agent permit. Status women are allowed to vote in band elections. Attempts to pursue land claims and the use of religious ceremonies (such as potlatches) are no longer prohibited by law. Further, amended for the compulsory disenfranchisement of First Nations women who married non-status men (including Métis, Inuit and non-status Indians, as well as non-aboriginal men), thus causing them to lose their status and denying Indian status to any children from the marriage.
- 2000: Amended to allow band members living off reserves to vote in band elections and referendums.
And that does not touch on the way children were torn from their parents, sent to residential schools, beaten for speaking their home languages and sexually abused as part of a mad scheme to force assimilation, to make the aboriginals indistinguishable from the European settlers.~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)