Canadas Policy of First Nations Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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Category: Canada

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Canada is a nation built upon legislation that not only believed there would be no future in society for its First Nation peoples, but specifically created colonial policies that would ensure that this future become reality through the process of assimilation. These policies were created without First Nation input in an in effort to destroy First Nation culture and were used to undermine First Nation treaty rights especially with regard to land distributions by way of the Indian Act. Following the second world war, however, a new outlook of human rights grew in society that highlighted discriminatory policies against First Nation peoples.

After government sanctioned study called the Hawthorn report was released raising concerns about the overall health and welfare of First Nation people, the newly elected Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau issued his response to First Nations problems in his controversial 1969 White paper . Unfortunately, 1969 White paper proved to be not only a politically motivated policy objective benefiting the Federal government in the future, by relinquishing its responsibilities following treaties, and inevitably avoiding future law suits, but was yet another attempt to do away with the First Nation culture through assimilation into the dominant society.

The signing of the treaties and the misconceptions by both parties entering into them, the First Nations bands and the Canadian government, has served as a platform for future politics problems still going on today. First Nation people understood treaties to mean allowing settlement by non-native people¦. [but] at the same time, native people would retain large tracts of land on which they would govern themselves¦ [and where their] language and culture would flourish (Bird, Land and Macadam 5).

The Canadian government, on the other hand, seen it by way of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which the British Crown recognized that any lands possessed by First Nations in what was British North America, would be reserved for them, unless or until they ceded that land to the Crown (Bird, Land and Macadam 6). This to the Canadian government, following treaties, gave them the right to act in a paternalistic fashion towards First Nation people, who needed assistance to assimilate into mainstream society.

This way of thinking, led the Canadian government to establish the Indian Act in 1876 which would unleash a series of policies created to destroy First Nations culture and further the Canadian governments own agenda regarding expropriation of First Nation lands. Due to Indian Act policies, First Nations people endured many years of social problems within their communities, problems that became published in a government sanctioned study called the Hawthorn report.

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