Canada

Sixties Scoop

Summary

The Canadian constitution defined Indians as falling under federal jurisdiction whereas health and family services was provincial jurisdiction. This led to conflicts over who would provide services (and pay for those services) for Indigenous youth and families. The two levels of government resolved this (without consulting Indigenous people) by deciding that provinces would “care” for Indigenous youth in crisis by apprehending them and integrating them into non-Indigenous child and family service programs.  The result is what came to be known as the “Sixties Scoop” where Indigenous children were “scooped” up and adopted into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families. Despite its name, "Scooping" Indigenous children from their families and communities was not isolated to the 1960s; it extended both before and after the 60s in various forms, some which continue today, and is evident in the disproportionately high rates of Indigenous children caught within the Child Welfare System. 

"It is well-known that Indigenous children are over-represented in both the child protection and justice systems in Saskatchewan and across Canada. Year after year, the deaths and injuries we review are a stark reminder of this dark reality. In 2021, 22 of the 24 deaths (92%) and 23 of the 29 critical injuries/incidents (79%) that came to our attention involved Indigenous children and youth." (Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, 2021 Annual Report, 34).


Indigenous Children in Care (Child Welfare), 2019

 

 As of 2019, Saskatchewan Social Services Ministry reported that 86% of children in care are Indigenous (Global News). Statistics Canada reported that in 2016, Indigenous peoples represented 16.3% of Saskatchewan's total population (Statistics Canada, Focus on Geography Series, 2016). This demonstrates the wide disparity between rates of Indigenous children in care compared to total population. 


The Sixties Scoop experience left many adoptees with a lost sense of cultural identity. The physical and emotional separation from their birth families continues to affect adult adoptees and Indigenous communities to this day.

In Saskatchewan, particularly in the Northern region of the province, Indigenous children were taken or ‘scooped’ from their communities and relocated generally to non-Indigenous families in settled regions of the province. Through the provincial CCF party (the pre-cursor to the NDP), the scooping and relocation of Indigenous children from their home communities partially occurred because foster homes in the north were deemed incapable of meeting capacity. But of course scooping Indigenous children from their home communities created a social and cultural disconnect that contributed to their assimilation into “Canadian” society, and this was the long-term goal of the Canadian and provincial governments.  Scooping children contributed to assimilation by disconnecting Indigenous youth from their ancestral lands, resources, and livelihoods. Many Indigenous children who were scooped at birth or an early age were not told of their relocation or Indigenous kinship by their adoptive guardians, and only found out later in life.     


Newspaper advertisements for the Adopt Indian and Métis Program, late 1960s, Saskatchewan.


The scooping of Indigenous children dislocated them from their families, communities, and access to culture/culturally relevant upbringing.  It’s important to remember that during the 60s Scoop period Residential Schools were still operating. – Indigenous peoples were continually at risk of violence from early childhood, through their entire adolescent life, and into adulthood as well. For children who were separated from their families in the north sent to southern communities, and Indigenous children from across Canada, there was and often is a sense of cultural disconnect and an inability to find belonging meaningfully both inside and outside of their home communities.

Indigenous parents and their children continue to report ‘scooping’ through child welfare services with further placement into the foster system. For example, scooping through the practice of ‘birth alerts’ wherein hospital staff alerts child welfare services if they deem the child ‘at risk’ from their parents. Parents are not informed of the action nor provide consent for birth alerts. Birth alerts have historically and contemporarily targeted Indigenous mothers who are characterized as unfit or disengaged from their child despite no evidence. They allowed hospital staff to have final authority over who is ‘fit’ to parent a child, and these decisions are often informed by racist and classist assumptions and racial stereotypes.      


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1960-00-00

Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Indigenous Women, Girls, 2-Spirit, and Transgender people

Summary

Indigenous survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, community activists, and scholars document that coercion and deception are means of forcing Indigenous women, girls, 2-Spirit, and transgender people into survival sex work. In Saskatchewan, Saskatoon is considered a significant part of the transit corridor used within the Prairies to expedite trafficking of gender marginalized Indigenous peoples. Notably, sex trafficking of gender marginalized Indigenous people in Canada is so pervasive that it has not only received international news coverage (CNN - Canada's Stolen Daughters, attached Resources), the Canadian government has received international criticism from the U.S. government, national organizations (Native Women's Association of Canada), and international non-governmental organizations (the United Nations and the Canadian Women's Foundation).

Survivors of sex trafficking, community activists and scholars have discussed factors which increase the vulnerability of Indigenous women, girls, 2-spirit, and transgender people into trafficking. Experiences of abuse/violence; limited supervision; substance use/misuse; proximity to foster care; educational absence on information related to sexuality, contraception and pregnancy, models of healthy platonic and romantic relationships; overall lack of access to education; familial and communal residential/day school attendance, intergenerational trauma; housing insecurity and/or a lack of rental history; unemployment and job insecurity; a lack of culturally-appropriate support services (mental and spiritual health, medical, etc.); an absence of support networks (family/friends); having resided in a rural, northern or other isolated area where there may be a lack of infrastructure such as sewer, electrical or water services; lacking access to basic necessities for survival; and gang involvement. Many, if not all of these factors of vulnerability are linked to the settler colonial policies and beliefs which continue to oppress gender marginalized peoples.

In the aforementioned CNN Article "Canada's Stolen Daughters," Diane Redsky, who runs the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg (a Centre which engages in anti-trafficking advocacy work and runs a healing lodge) was interviewed. She commented:  "We're still in a society that targets Indigenous women and girls. In fact the national task force concluded that there's a market for Indigenous girls" (par. 28).

The psychological and physical impacts of sexual exploitation and trafficking are described in the literature review and analysis released by the Native Women's Association of Canada, titled, "Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls":

"What can be gathered from looking at the span of the above statistics, both the 2005 and 2011, is that there is a solid continuation of traumatic and damaging experiences that Aboriginal women and girls experience both prior to being trafficked and in the life of being trafficked for sexual acts. Unfortunately, experiences of violence, various forms of abuse, and trauma seem to be very consistent and prevalent within human trafficking. One of the defining characteristics of Farley et al’s research is the examination of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in prostituted and sexually trafficked women. PTSD consists of three types of symptoms: persistent, intrusive re-introducing of trauma; numbing of responsiveness and persistent avoidance of stimuli of trauma; and persistent autonomic heightened arousal. Those who participated in the study completed an evaluation of criteria for PTSD. In a 2005 paper examining prostituted and trafficked women, out of the one hundred participants, including both First Nations and non-First Nations, 72% qualified for PTSD, which is 'among the highest reported in populations where PTSD has been studied, including battered women, combat veterans, childhood trauma survivors, rape survivors, and torture survivors' (Farley, Lynne, & Cotton, 2005, p. 255) . Those who are prostituted and sexually trafficked often experience extreme and intentional violence, abuse and torture. It is no surprise that these women and girls fulfill the criteria for PTSD. Such evidence suggests the difficulty of trying to move on from sexual exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. It is a deeply traumatic experience that impacts on one’s physical self, the mental, and the emotional" (pages 10-11).

This excerpt from the Globe and Mail contains the testimony of a sex trafficking survivor as to the long-lasting impacts of PTSD in terms of her ability to function:

"But even if there is no physical evidence, illness and violence are so pervasive that, eventually, “trafficking will produce a health consequence,” says Tara Wilkie of the Surrey Memorial forensic team. Patients are provided with support after leaving the hospital, but Ms. Wilkie says the after-effects of trafficking can leave someone with lifelong physical and mental-health issues. Bridget Perrier seems to be living proof of this. As she sits on the couch of her Toronto home, phone buzzing, two dogs scampering around, pictures of her children on the wall, her old life seems like the distant past. Yet, she says, a decade of sexual exploitation “damaged me to a point where ... I have panic attacks. I have PTSD. I can’t have a baby naturally because my cervix is just shot. I sleep with the lights on. I’m hypervigilant. And there are flashbacks. “Sometimes a smell will set me off, gagging.” Pine-Sol, used to disinfect the rooms, “triggers it.” As do “certain male colognes, certain deodorants.” Also damaged: her relationship with others. She says her clientele was so predominantly white that, even today 'I can’t be on an elevator with a Caucasian man'" (pars. 85-90).

Regarding solutions for recovery from post-traumatic symptoms, including PTSD, the Native Women's Association of Canada literature review and analysis notes:

"Many who are sexually exploited and trafficked come from backgrounds where formal education and job skill development have been compromised from traumatic childhoods and growing up in abuse. To help these women and youth escape the cycle of sexual exploitation, they need training in viable alternatives for income. It is not enough to protect women and girls from pimps and traffickers; the conditions of growing up in poverty and without a full education must also be addressed for lasting difference" (page 25).

Bluntly put, one participant phrased it aptly: ’People don’t heal overnight. It took seventeen years to get all the shit inside of you and it’s probably going to take twenty years to get it out of you’ (p. 36). Quick-healing regimens are unrealistic. Healing takes time, and sexual exploitation is a violent, oppressive, and damaging process. In a 2003 study on sexual exploitation with some 854 participants, their findings were that prostitution was multi- traumatic, with 68% meeting the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (Farley, et al., 2003, p. 34), which, also happens to match the same range of PTSD as combat veterans (Weathers, Litz, Herman, Huska, & Keane, 1993, as cited in Farley, et al., 2003, p. 37). If prostitution is categorized as choice and trafficked as forced, it may be that trafficked women are dealing with even more PTSD." (page 29).


 

Result

Gender discrimination and sexualization of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender and Non-Binary people, is deeply embedded in the foundation of Canadian policy, society, and consciousness.  That is, stereotypical gendered narratives were constructed by colonizers that depicted Indigenous peoples as morally inferior and culturally uncivilized - including a predisposition to extreme sexuality (this was the underlying rationale for gender segregation in the Indian Residential School system). 

Settler Colonists viewed Indigenous 'sexuality' as a threat that needed to be subdued, and another area in which they could assert dominance and control over Indigenous lives. Early on in the period of Contact with Europeans, Indigenous women, much like the "virgin" soil of North America, were perceived as available for possession by white, European men. These tropes of availability, in combination with stereotypes which constructed Indigenous women as exotic and erotic, asserted that Indigenous women were incapable of consenting (always available to the Colonial sexual appetite) and therefore inherently inviolable.

In addition to social marginalization enforced through colonialism, narratives construct Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, and Transgender people as sexually disposable which creates a significant degree of proximity to violence.  Aforementioned experiences of social marginalization include, but are not limited to: the mass apprehension of Indigenous children by child and family services, low-income caused by isolation from resources, cultural activities and lifeways, and economic discrimination, housing insecurity, employment insecurity, and limited access to education.  

Annette Sikka, in the conference paper "Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada," writes:

"..[T]he terms 'control' and 'exploitation' have been interpreted by the justice system in the context of trafficking offences also do not adequately reflect the types of coercion and exploitation that Aboriginal women or girls in street-based sex work face. It has been difficult to have the criminal justice system recognize non-physical forms of coercion in trafficking analyses because the criminal law focuses only on the immediate actions of individuals." (220).  

Actors within the legal system frequently lack a sufficient understanding of the ways in which gender-marginalized Indigenous peoples experience coercion and deception.  This serves to reinforce individualistic narratives which depict participation in the survival sex work as a matter of personal choice to participate in a "high-risk lifestyle." Yet it obscures elements of social and political marginalization which pressure gender-marginalized people into survival sex work. E.g., coercion or deception by others (the promise of money, protection, security, or substances).

This is not to say that sex workers or sex work is inherently violent or deviant, nor should sex workers be criminalized. Rather, that the social, gendered, sexual, and financial inequities established by Canadian settler colonialism have enabled traffickers to take advantage of the precarious social and economic situations many Indigenous women, girls, and other gender marginalized people find themselves in. Trafficking and exploitation is driven by the desire to fulfill settler sexual fantasies and maintain oppressive power structures.


 

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Ongoing

Metis Experiences in Residential Schools

Summary

In regard to Métis children, churches were eager to admit them to their boarding schools as it aligned with their goal to convert Indigenous children. However, ­the federal government policy on provision of schooling to Métis children was conflicted. It viewed the Métis as members of the ‘dangerous classes,’ Residential Schooling was implemented to ‘correct.’ However, from a jurisdictional perspective, the federal government believed that the responsibility for educating and assimilating Métis people lay within provincial and territorial jurisdiction. ­There was a concern that if the federal government began providing funding for the education of some of the children for whom the provinces and territories were responsible, it would find itself having to take responsibility for the rest.

 Because provincial governments and school boards were often unwilling to build schools in Métis communities or to allow Métis students to attend public schools, Métis parents who wished to have their children educated often had no choice but to send them to residential schools. Falling between federal and provincial jurisdictional conflicts, Métis children who attended Residential Schools often "slipped through the cracks". That is, their attendance was undocumented, one reason being because the boarding schools they attended were not recognized as official residential schools.

Métis children attended most of the residential schools from Saskatchewan that are named or discussed in the final TRC report. Métis children suffered in the same ways as other First Nations children did, undergoing experiences such as: high death rates, restricted diets and starvation, crowded and unsanitary housing, harsh discipline, heavy workloads, neglect and abuse (psychological, spiritual, physical and sexual). Many Métis children remember feeling rejected and discriminated against as they were too "white" for the Residential Schools, and too "Indian" for the provincial public schools. Many former students describe the trauma of being separated from their families.

For an example of Metis experience at residential schools, please consult the interview excerpt contained below under "relevant resources", in which Helen Sinclair describes the cutting of her hair and the subjection of students to the hazardous procedure of non-hospitalized tonsil removal, conducted without the consent of her legal guardians (parents).


 

Result

In 2006, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was settled between the Federal government, First Nations and Inuit representatives, and churches. Owing to the fact that Métis attendance in Residential sSchools was poorly documented, combined with the lack of recognition of several Métis boarding schools as "official" Residential Schools, many Métis people were excluded from the compensation and settlement process. Métis individuals and communities lobbied and continued to lobby for the addition of schools to the official lists and records as a means of acknowledging their experience as well as their eligibility for compensation.
Métis experiences in Residential Schools shows that the impact of Residential Schools extends beyond the formal Residential School program that Indian Affairs operated. The history of these provincial schools and the experiences of Métis students in unofficial schools are not as widely documented due to the nature of unofficial schooling. 

Alphonse Janvier, who spent five years at the Île-à-la-Crosse school, recalls the anger and hurt he felt upon arrival at the school, where he was put in a barber's chair and stripped of his long hair. Métis children were also stripped of their culture and prohibited from speaking their Metis languages such as Cree or Mitchif. Facing hunger, harsh discipline and widespread abuse, many children ran away from the schools. Cultural trauma following hundreds of years of colonization and oppression have left Métis and First Nations communities socially, economically and politically scarred.

Apology and compensation: In 2006, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was settled between the Federal government, First Nations and Inuit representatives, and churches. Owing to the fact that Métis attendance in residential schools was poorly documented, combined with the lack of recognition of several Métis boarding schools as "official" residential schools, many Métis people were excluded from the compensation and settlement process. Métis individuals and communities lobbied and continued to lobby for the addition of schools to the official lists and records as a means of acknowledging their experience as well as their eligibility for compensation.


 

Sources

Capitaine, Brieg, and Vanthuyne, Karine, eds. Power through Testimony: Reframing Residential Schools in the Age of Reconciliation. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017. 96.

"Power through Testimony" is a collection of essays from  on their experiences within Residential Schools. The authors also reflect on the post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. They emphasize the limited involvement and collaboration of the government and churches with the TRC. Moreover, the work on the TRC is framed in its historical, political, and social limits. In fact, the TRC does not examine other types of institutions that were equally damaging facets of settler colonialism. For example, schools for settler children subsumed Metis children's education in many cases where Metis children reported discrimination from students and school staff. The research broadens the perspectives on the history of Residential schools, showing aspects that are often obscured when research is being done. See “Learning through Conversation: An Inquiry into Shame” by Janice Cindy Gaudet and Lawrence Martin/Wapisan, p. 95. for more.

Satzewich, Vic and Wotherspoon, Terry. First Nations: Race, Class and Gender Relations. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1993. 112-146.

In the "Education and Job Training" chapter, Satzewich and Wotherspoon analyze the ways in which State policy has interrupted and changed Indigenous economies and redirected labour. Epistemological biases and the needs of Canadian capitalism shaped education and jobs, through coercive, punitive, and assimilating pedagogies. They address the paragraphs: human capital and struggles for educational control; the role of education in the colonization process; education and the process of state formation; segregation and the deterioration of Indigenous education; steps towards the integration of Indigenous peoples into the educational system; steps over the devolution of First Nations education; recent trends in post-secondary and vocational training.

Helen Sinclair, interviewed by Margaret Jefferson, “Helen Sinclair interview on Metis experiences of being adopted, attending Muskowekwan (Muscowequan) boarding school in Lestock and economic activity” (transcript), Gabriel Dumont Institute Visual Museum Oral Histories Archive, August 13, 1982.

In this interview, Metis woman Helen Sinclair (who was adopted by a First Nations family and attended Muskowekwan/Muscowequan boarding school in Lestock) details her experiences at the boarding school, including the cutting of her hair and a medical procedure that was conducted without their or their parent's consent in non-sterile conditions. She reports that one child almost died after the procedure: --- Margaret: "Do you have pictures of the girls you went to school with when you were younger?" --- Helen: "No." --- Margaret: "No." --- Helen: "No, they never gave us any pictures. But they did take pictures. But the one that had them pictures of our school days she had them pictures but she passed away, I don't know who had them now. But you had long hair, we had braids. And then I was (inaudible) my hair when sometime that, you know, cut our hair very short." --- Margaret: "Who was going to cut it?" --- Helen: "Pardon." --- Margaret: "Where were you going to get it cut at? Who was going to cut your hair?" --- Helen: "Oh there was somebody there that done that." --- Margaret: "Oh. Just to get it trimmed you mean not to get it all cut off." --- Helen: "Short, short, yeah short all of them. They took all our braids, I had long long hair. And then in 1924 when I was at the school there was thirteen of us girls and three boys went through an operation they took our tonsils out, right in school we didn't go to no hospital." --- Margaret: "Right in school?" --- Helen: "Right in school, they gave us that ether to sniff and oh boy I woke up with a sore throat and blood. My two sisters too, the ones that passed away they had their tonsils out. There was a whole, there was a bunch of us girls, thirteen girls and three boys." --- Margaret: "Well, did they always take everyone's tonsils out, or..." --- Helen: "Well, these thirteen girls had their tonsils out there, one just about died she had to be looked after by a nurse from Edmonton." --- Margaret: "Well why did they take your tonsils out, were they bothering you?" --- Helen: "I don't know. The doctor came and examined all the girls and boys that had big tonsils and they took them all out. All these, I mean these thirteen girls and boys." --- Margaret: "And then you got..." --- Helen: "We didn't know." --- Margaret: "You were sick after that eh?" --- Helen: "Oh yes." --- Margaret: "Well didn't they have to have the parent's, your mom and dad's permission?" --- Helen: "No they didn't do anything I guess. I never knew where my parents were. We seldom seen our parents, very seldom. My mother used to be in Alberta and my father would be up north, he used to go all over. Never couldn't keep track of them. And the priest used to take us to the sports, old man sports they used to have good times over there in the olden days. Good sports and race horses, and oh everything like that, dances at night on the grounds. Go to old man's and Gordon Reserve, and Lestock, and Daystar's and Raymore, Symons, (?), all over it was. We were able to get there. The priest used to take us Old Man's mostly that's for every year we'd be going." 


 

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TRC_Métis Experiences in Residential Schools

A Brief Introduction to the Indian Act

Summary

As a means of consolidating existing legislation regarding Indigenous peoples, this new federal legislation marked the beginning of creating special offenses that only applied to Indians. From the Crown’s perspective, it unilaterally marked a transition of Indigenous peoples in British North America from that of sovereign tribal nation in the tripartite imperial system to that of legally incompetent wards of the state in the federal and provincial system. Whereas previously the Crown had an expressed goal of protecting Indian tribal autonomy, the Indian was now cast as a dependent child. There would be no further protection of the cultural distinctiveness of Indigenous people, but rather, an expressed goal of civilization, as defined by the Crown, and assimilation.

In its drafting of the Indian Act, the Crown chose not to make reference to the treaties made with Indigenous peoples that were already in existence. This was in keeping with the Crown’s emphasis on a policy of assimilation, as well as undermining the previous nation-to-nation legal relationship and shifting towards one which perceived Indigenous people as subordinates. The version of the Indian Act that was passed in 1876 communicated the paternalistic mindset of the Crown by dictating the operations of almost every aspect of the daily lives on Indigenous people on reserves, including procedures for determining Indigenous identity, land surrender, and land use

The Indian Act also attacked traditional forms of band governance in an attempt to implement democratic forms of government. Extensive steps were taken to supposedly educate Indians in matters of self-governance, despite the presence of functional structures of intra and inter-tribal governance prior to European contact. For example, the superintendent general acquired vast powers to direct all aspects of the electoral process. By controlling this process in its entirety including initiation and the selection of candidates, this interference was akin to appointment of band leadership by the Department of Indian Affairs. The government also included clauses that enabled the unilateral deposition of leadership. Section 75 of the Indian Act read that chiefs “shall continue to hold the rank of chief until death or resignation, or until their removal, by the Governor in Council, for dishonesty, intemperance, immorality or incompetency..." These grounds for deposition were vaguely defined to enable the government to manufacture legally unassailable arguments to remove band officials in the case that said leaders engaged in behavior that ran contrary to federal objectives, resisted the agenda of the Department of Indian Affairs or otherwise proved to be problematic to their goal of assimilation. The local Indian Agents also held vast powers in regards to interference in band governance and council meetings, and ensured that all aspects of band affairs were under the surveillance and control of the Department.

In addition to imposing democratic governance, the government attempted to undermine community ties by outlawing communal practices such as Potlatches and dances. This coordinated with the government’s desire to foster individualism, which was further encouraged by surveying reserves and dividing them into individual farm plots, isolating families. This demonstrates the devastating effect that the Indian Act held on women. Isolating families sabotaged the means that would have provided communal accountability for violent or otherwise abusive husbands. The Act also oppressed Indigenous women by taking away the Indian status of those who married non-Indigenous persons, thus alienating them from their land base and preventing them from inheriting family property, receiving treaty benefits and being buried with their ancestors on the reserve. Despite a history of inclusion in affairs of self-governance, particularly amongst matriarchal tribes, Indigenous women were now also excluded from taking part in band land surrender decisions. The exclusion of women would not change until 1951.


 

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1876
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Provision added to Legislation Regarding the Sale and Purchase of Alcohol

Summary

Member of Parliament, Mr. Paterson, recommended a provision to the legislation which criminalized First Nations from purchasing or consuming alcohol. This was to be enforced by settlers who were given the authority to report a First Nations person who allegedly broke this new, egregious law, to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. They could provide the names of witnesses to be called, but were not required to testify themselves, so as to avoid the possibility of being harassed by the accused. This provision was agreed to by the House of Commons.


 

Result

This provision encouraged the policing of Indigenous peoples by settlers, allowed for settlers to have extensive legal power over Indigenous peoples, and created a double standard whereby Indigenous peoples were penalized for the same activities that settlers participated. As such, Indigenous peoples self-determination and authority continued to be undermined by the state, a theme widely seen throughout paternalistic policies. The Canadian Government implemented policies that criminalized Indigenous peoples in nearly every aspect of their lives, from ceremonies and community gatherings, to the sale of goods, mobility and the pass system, seeking legal counsel, voting, and many other laws that penalized Indigenous peoples for merely existing in a settler colonial state. 


 

Sources

House of Commons Debates. 4th Parliament, 2nd Session, vol. II, 12 February 1880 - 7 May 1880. Pg 1997.

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1882-00-00
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Adoption of Macdonald's National Policy

Summary

Macdonald’s National Policy focused on expanding transport and reach across the country; linking it sea to sea using a transcontinental railroad, encouraging Western settlement (by Europeans, Americans, and Eastern Canadians), and encouraging domestic production with protective tariffs. In order to accomplish this, Indigenous lands in the west were sought for railroad construction and land settlement. For instance, the occupation of these lands was undertaken through treaty and reserve policies. In 1878, Macdonald made himself head of the Department of the Interior, giving himself ultimate control over settlement policy and Indigenous policy in the North-West.


 

Sources

Tobias, John L. “Protection, Civilization, Assimilation: An Outline History of Canada’s Indian Policy.” Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology 6.2 (1976)

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1878-00-00
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First Nation Women's Suffrage

Summary

According to the Indian Act, First Nations women could neither vote nor be elected to band counsels until the Act was amended in 1951. The vote for First Nations women came roughly 33 years after suffrage was granted to white settler women within Canada in all provinces exempting Quebec (1940).


 

Result

First Nations women were removed from the political sphere within their own communities, and were stripped of the political and leadership status they held within their communities prior to the introduction of this laws. As such, the Canadian Government continued their colonial occupation by systemically removing First Nation women's political authority, sovereignty, and decision-making power.  


 

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1876-00-00
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Sheer Compulsion Policy

Summary

After the Conservatives returned to power in 1878, Edgar Dewdney was appointed to the newly created position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the North West Territories. Using this powerful position Dewdney implemented a policy he referred to as “sheer compulsion.” The policy entailed withholding rations and agricultural equipment (promised in many treaties) from First Nations that opposed the government’s actions or decrees. Furthermore, he incarcerated chiefs and restricted movement and gatherings between bands. As the name suggests this policy was meant to ensure compulsion to the will of the government.


 

Result

Policy resulted in great hardship, and exemplifies a complete disregard for treaty promises and the intentions of Dewdney and other officials. In fact, limiting and withholding rations failed to meet the agreements outlined in the numbered treaties  in spite of the  obligation to provide aid. In certain uses of the Sheer Compulsion policy, First Nation peoples resisted or rioted in order to attain rations that were being withheld due to desperation and hunger.  


 

Sources

House of Commons, Ottawa, Sessional Papers, XVII (1885)

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1878-00-00
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