Second Joint Parliamentary Committee on Indian Affairs

The second federal Joint Parliamentary Committee on Indian Affairs began hearings in 1959 and concluded with the presentation of their report on July 8, 1961. The main tone of this report and its recommendations was the inclusion of Aboriginal people within pluralistic Canadian society and their rights of citizenship, pushing towards full citizenship rights and the removal of special status. The Saskachewan government's brief to the Committee was devoted to suggestions to ease and facilitate the process of integration. The discussion of traditional Indigenous culture was cast almost entirely in terms of how it handicapped Aboriginals who were trying to "get ahead" in modern society. "Traditional" Aboriginals were described as permissive in their child-rearing practices, averse to established routines, lacking in reliability and punctuality, and given to sharing, rather than accumulating, wealth. The brief's message was clear - to succeed in Western society, First Nations people would have to be the ones to adapt.


Canada, Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Indian Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, No.8, 2 May 1961. James M. Pitsula, "The Saskatchewan CCF Government and Treaty Indians, 1944-1964," Canadian Historical Review 75, 1 (March 1994): 24.

In 1960, the Indian Act was amended, giving First Nations people in Canada the right to vote in federal elections. The philosophies underlying this Parliamentary Committee proposal would later inform the development of the Trudeau/Chretien White Paper in 1969, particularly as it relates to the removal of legally-binding treaty rights for Indigenous people.
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