In the late 1940s, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) Minister of Natural Resources and Industrial Development Joe Phelps enacted a relocation of First Nation and Métis populations to combined settlements further south. These actions were part of a broader CCF philosophy of economic and social development in Northern Saskatchewan. An essential part of this effort included large-scale forced movement to settlements where the CCF professed they could teach Indigenous peoples to live as settlers and better deliver its various programs to northerners. This would facilitate assimilation into Canadian settler society, while still affording them the ability to practice minimal traditional activities preapproved by the government. In addition, it facilitated the delivery of provincial services to some remote communities. This was initiated through the use of the Family Allowance. This money could only be accessed by First Nations and Metis people if their children were enrolled in the school system; therefore, to qualify for assistance parents would be forced to send their children to colonial schools and away from their family and community knowledge.
For many First Nations and Metis peoples, the move from the bush to semi-urban centres reduced their quality of living conditions, and the better world visualized by the CCF remained unattainable. The CCF regulated hunting, trapping and fishing industries and removed First Nations and Metis from their traditional lands, disrupting these activities and the ability to pass along traditional knowledge or participate. This was done through the Fur Marketing Service and the Fish Marketing Service.
For information on the wider effects of this policy, see the entry “CCF Social Programming and Erosion of Traditional Life in Northern Saskatchewan”
- Waiser, Bill. Saskatchewan: A New History. Calgary: Fifth House, 2005.