21 Things About The Indian Act That Will Blow Your Mind

  

“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

Many laws affecting Aboriginal Peoples were combined in 1876 to become the Indian Act. The Act gave Canada a coordinated approach to Indian policy rather than the pre-Confederation piece-meal approach.

The Indian agent, acting under the authority of the Indian Act, played a key role in the distribution of land, replacing traditional names for “easier” identification and altering traditional and hereditary forms of government, among other actions and restrictions.

The Indian Act has been a lightning rod for criticism and controversy over the years, widely attacked by First Nations people and communities for its regressive and paternalistic excesses. For example, Indians living on reserves don’t own the land they live on; assets on reserve are not subject to seizure under legal process making it extremely difficult to borrow money to purchase assets; and, matrimonial property laws don’t apply to assets on reserve. On the other hand, it has also been widely attacked by non-Aboriginal Peoples and politicians as being too paternalistic and creating an unjust system with excessive costs that are considered uneconomical.
Here are some of the restrictions and impacts imposed on First Nations since then (some have since been removed in revisions of the Act).

The Indian Act:

1. denied women status

2. introduced residential schools

3. introduced reserves

4. renamed individuals with European names

5. forbade First Nations from leaving reserve without permission from Indian Agent

6. could remove First Nations from reserves near towns with more than 8,000 people

7. could expropriate portions of reserves for roads, railways and other public works, as well as to move an entire reserve away from a municipality if it was deemed expedient

8. could lease out uncultivated reserve lands to non-First Nations if the new leaseholder would use it for farming or pasture

9. forbade First Nations from forming political organizations

10. prohibited anyone, First Nation or non-First Nation, from soliciting funds for First Nation legal claims without special license from the Superintendent General. (this 1927 amendment granted the government control over the ability of First Nations to pursue land claims)

11. prohibited the sale of alcohol to First Nations

12. prohibited sale of ammunition to First Nations

13. prohibited pool hall owners from allowing First Nations entrance

14. imposed the “band council” system

15. forbade First Nations from speaking their native language

16. forbade First Nations from practicing their traditional religion

17. forbade western First Nations from appearing in any public dance, show, exhibition, stampede or pageant wearing traditional regalia

18. declared potlatch and other cultural ceremonies illegal

19. denied First Nations the right to vote

20. denied First Nations the right to sell products from farms

21. it is the only legislation in the world designed for a particular race of people.

Major amendments were made to the Act in 1951 and 1985. In the 1951 amendments, the banning of dances and ceremonies, and the pursuit of claims against the government were removed. In the 1985, Bill C-31C-31 was introduced. For more on this Bill, please see “Indian Act and Women’s Status – Discrimination via Bill C31 and Bill C3”

The Indian Act imposed great personal and cultural tragedy on First Nation, many of which continue to affect communities, families and individuals today.

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This is a repost from http://www.ictinc.ca/blog/21-things-you-may-not-have-known-about-the-indian-act-

It seems to be overloaded and the link breaks so I have added this mirror to my page. Please take the time to visit the authors of this article.
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And the Fire Keepers Shall Lead Us

UPDATE: I call on all those who are able to fast in support of Chief Theresa Spence in her efforts to raise awareness. Make it known you are doing this. Tell the World.

I understand the frustration many people feel regarding the Harper government’s antagonistic and destructive practices regarding the Indian Act, Environmental Protections and Treaty Relationships. I feel it, too.

But any substantial change won’t come from the government, it will come from those who elect the government.

If you are angry and demanding, or disruptive of the general public’s lives in a negative way, you have already lost.

Instead, reach out. Be patient and calm.

Find common ground.

We are all affected by these sweeping changes and that must be articulated clearly. In this, we are all allies.

Instead of demanding rights, work toward that which is right. The fairness and honouring of Treaties you seek will follow.

Involve your fellow Canadian, American, your fellow World Citizen. They are good. They are helpers. Don’t let the horrible and sometimes racist remarks in online comments sections cloud your vision. Most people are good people. That’s just the truth.

And they want to do good things, they just don’t always know how. They don’t want to tread where they are not welcome.

Help them feel welcome. Make friends. Be giving, forgiving and kind.

Anger hasn’t worked the past 100 years. All victories have been legal victories: talking things out.

Take a stand, join a rally, be heard.

But remember: to be respected, you must respect first.

Now, I know, that’s a tough pill to swallow for people who have faced disrespect in every corner. As if I don’t know. I’ve been detained, arrested, profiled, faced racism and prejudice too.

Don’t let life intimidate you from doing the right thing.

Always do the right thing. Even you miss the mark, get back up and try.

The difference I see about these recent actions, about Idle No More, and Theresa Spence (who is on Day 6 of her hunger strike at the time I write this), and all the great women leaders who are taking the time to educate all of us is this:

It is the women who are standing up. It’s the women who are leading.

The Fire Keepers are rising.

They are reminding us of who we are, of what civilization and culture mean.

They are directing our energy in positive ways.

They are reminding us of the Great Law of Peace.

Follow their lead.

hai hai.

 

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If you are wondering what happens Dec 21, 2012, it’s the start of a Global Awakening led by Canada’s Indigenous and all willing partners. A New World in the New World. The prophecy of the South meeting the Prophecy of the North.

The Eagle and the Condor.

The beginning of the 8th Fire.
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