Chapter 5

Colonialist Policies

Initially, it would appear the Canadian government and preceding newcomer officials dealt with Indigenous peoples as equals. However, when you begin to closely examine the policy documents you can see the colonialist overshadowing in the wording (emphasis added).

Royal Proclamation 1763 - And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds. 

Treaty 6 1876 - And whereas the said Indians have been notified and informed by Her Majesty's said Commissioners that it is the desire of Her Majesty to open up for settlement, immigration and such other purposes as to Her Majesty may seem meet, a tract of country bounded and described as hereinafter mentioned, and to obtain the consent thereto of Her Indian subjects inhabiting the said tract, and to make a treaty and arrange with them, so that there may be peace and good will between them and Her Majesty, and that they may know and be assured of what allowance they are to count upon and receive from Her Majesty's bounty and benevolence.

Indian Act 1876 -“The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.” John A Macdonald, 1887

Red River Resistance 1885 - "We have done all we could to put them on themselves; we have done all we could to make them work as agriculturists; we have done all we could, by the supply of cattle, agricultural implements and instruction, to change them from a nomadic to an agricultural life. We have had very considerable success; we have had infinitely more success during our short period, than the United States have had during twenty-five years. We have had a wonderful success; but still we have had the Indians; and then in these half-breeds, enticed by white men, the savage instinct was awakened; the desire of plunder -- aye, and, perhaps, the desire of scalping -- the savage idea of a warlike glory, which pervades the breast of most men, civilised or uncivilised, was aroused in them, and forgetting all the kindness that had been bestowed upon them, forgetting all the gifts that had been given to them, forgetting all that the Government, the white people and the Parliament of Canada had been doing for them, in trying to rescue them from barbarity; forgetting that we had given them reserves, the means to cultivate those reserves, and the means of education how to cultivate them -- forgetting all these things, they rose against us.” John A Macdonald, 1885

Residential School Policy 1910 - “It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is being geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem." Duncan Campbell Scott, 1910

Colonialistic policies continue to subject First Nations, Métis and Inuit people to inferior support and services for basic life needs. Indigenous peoples in Canada continue to have the lowest levels of education, health, housing, social capital, and economic opportunities, just to name a few discrepancies.


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