Transfer of Indian Affairs Branch

Indian Affairs Branch transferred to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

The government perceived this as a positive step towards treating First Nations people like other newly-arrived Canadians citizens. As such, this shift served as a precursor to the multicultural model formally adopted by the Trudeau government in the 1970's, in which the preservation of Indigenous cultures was treated in the same manner as other ethnic minorities in Canada. It should be noted, however, that in contrast to other ethnic minorities in Canada, Indigenous people also have treaty rights, land rights, rights to hunting, fishing and trapping, and language rights. For example, rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada have demonstrated that Indigenous rights exceed cultural preservation, and are unique and valid within the confines of the Canadian state. The policies which resulted from this 1949 transfer provided a degree of protection over Indigenous culture and religion - however, such protections can be interpreted as tokenistic in light of the fact that long-standing grievances as it relates to unceded land and fulfilment of treaty obligations continued to be ignored.
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