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.

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.

This is Our Time – Idle No More

Poverty can strip you of pride and hope.

Infirmity can deprive you of basic dignity.

Heartbreak can empty out your soul.

Loss can can leave you broken.

These are the way stations of life. The stopping points that absolutely demand our attention. If we fail to notice, or to give our full presence, we can be gripped by the emotions, the dull ache of these things and they can become our lives, our children’s lives and theirs.

Or we can stop grinding it out and listen.

Your spirit is speaking. The world whispers. The wind softly breathes and all life speaks in quiet tones.

Quiet and firm.


Enough suffering, you’ve got the lesson. Maybe things won’t or can’t change, but you can. You’ve got the lesson, now transform.

Transform your vision, transform your heart. Transform your perception of the world around you and it will change. It must change.


Rise now, at last.

Wipe your tears. Remember your strength. Recover your smile and let laughter fly.


Raise your head for you are noble.

Give of yourself for you are abundant.

Lift others for you are strong. A strength that grows with responsibility shouldered.

Share your joy for you are immersed in the bubbling glee of the beautiful universe.

Too long have you walked in shadow and sorrow, in hopelessness, uselessness, and pain.

Accept it all!

And put everything in it’s proper place.

Be. Here. Now.

And Rise.

You have a purpose. You have a reason.

Find it.

It will change.

And you must find it again. Every day.

Every day is new and unknown and untold and amazing.

Just like you.

Speak your life into being and jump to action.

Serve, Serve, Serve.

Happiness is found in love and patience.

Learn. It’s the delight of the mind. And the mind wants to dance.

Into the wild! Away from screens and signals and noise and bustle!

Into the wild and renew, reconnect, and remember.

And Rise.

You have been Idle too long. Idle no more.

Hope was never naiveté, just as cynicism never was wisdom.

Your time, no matter your age, education, ability or circumstance…is Right. Now.

My prayer for you is that you stand.

And sometimes you’ll stand alone. But never truly alone.

If you are hnest, true, humble, loving, respectful, courageous and wise…all things will work to guide you.

So Rise. Rise at last.

It’s your time.

hiy hiy


I’ve had a few requests for this image to be made into a t-shirt, posters, etc.
So here it is…

RISE stuff <—click this link

This Is What Relovution Looks Like – Response to Omnibus Bill C-45

Imagine this:

A Gathering of people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous – from here and from around the world – who care about what’s going on.

Right here in Canada.

And instead of angry protests, we come as friends, leaders, partners.

We involve the children and the elders, the artists and the scientists, the dispossessed and the homeowner.

We speak to the politicians, but they are not the audience if they won’t listen.

Then the audience is Everyone Else. And the message is one that connects to the heart, where real change happens.

We live in the Social Age, and most people haven’t figured out what that means.

It means we are becoming more and more a global community. A family. And we protect and nurture our friends.

So we have a Gathering, but we still need to design it.

The first step is to create a framework. Toss out a bunch of ideas and see which ones resonate. I have some that I’ll share.

But I guess before that we need to build an extremely good team. An incredible network of very extremely good teams.

It’s absolutely important that whoever is involved understands this isn’t an angry rally, or a forum for speech-making, or any of the stuff people expect. The point is to make it a celebration AND a firmness of resolve. Only joy, only love, only gentle, straightforward messages.

One of the key things is to gather either virtually or in reality. My preference would be the Rocky Mountains.

We create a proposal. A Path for society (development, budgets, environment, education, etc) that will take us forward for 7 Generations. This path then becomes a document and a hide painting. It is the result of months of open forum discussion with as many people as we can get to participate.

We teach all the people who will come join our huge, amazing, non-protest Gathering some really cool traditional friendship songs. Maybe a few tutorials on the web would help.

We have gifts for every politician, and a corresponding gift for someone homeless. This way they are forever tied together through the gifts we give.

Our children sing the songs of friendship, thousands and thousands of them with their parents.

We offer tobacco, we bring the peace pipe. We present our gifts.

We express gratitude and love for those who are working in government. We express it for the people at home. We express it for the nations of the world, and we express it for Mother Earth.

It has to be love.

Anger makes it all fall apart and everything stays the same or gets worse.

It can be only love.

And I believe youth should lead us.

Who’s in?

Omnibus Bill C-45 begins Assimilation of Indigenous Canada

Chiefs Gather in Peace at Parliament


That’s what’s coming in one form or another.

The first shots were fired today in the form of words and insult.
First Nations Chiefs from across the country gathered today in front of Parliament in Ottawa. They brought drums, sweetgrass and a peace pipe.

They brought the concerns of their people, concerns for clean water, concerns for protection of land sovereignty, and concerns that the Canadian Government is seeking to unilaterally change key aspects of the Indian Act without any input or cooperation from..well…”Indians”

A small group was invited into Parliament by an MP, then that same group was thrown out by security, but not before these words of frustration were uttered:“Let’s see what happens when you try to enter our territories…this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning.”

All across the country, Indigenous people are outraged and angry, but what else is new? The public at large, that’s all they know of their Treaty partners.

Either they are entertaining with their beautiful dances and costumes, or they are dangerous and angry.

But we never get to the root of it. We never get to the “why” and rather than think about it or ask questions, the result is a shrug of the shoulders of people who know nothing about Reservation life or Treaties. They wonder why the Natives aren’t simply happy with all the “free handouts”.

The government says they have the best interests of the Indigenous population at heart. And I believe them. But what they feel is best for Aboriginal Canada, and what Aboriginal Canada thinks is best are very different creatures.

The Harper Government wants assimilation. They feel that the best way to deal with the situation is to make it disappear, absorb First Nations, Metis and Inuk populations into the rest of society. So what can you do to coax that outcome along if you are the Harper Government?

You underfund schools. You listen compassionately to the problems of clean water and housing and then blame the victims for mismanagement even though your own people can’t find any evidence of alleged mismanagement.

You sit idly by while the very young suffer and are brought up in Third World conditions in one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

You propose legislation that allows a few people the power to sell off the majority of Reservation lands in order to enrich corporations.

In short, you chisel away, bit by bit until there is nothing left. You make life so hopeless for the people who live on Reservations that they leave. They assimilate, and the colonization, the conquering, the decades of Residential School atrocities…it all comes together to drive the final stake in the heart of the enemy. You destroy their culture and renege on sacred agreements.

Why do you think they’re so busy building new prisons?

Why are Indigenous people seen as enemies?

Here’s the thing, people of Canada, the so-called enemy knows what’s happening. And the enemy sees you as brothers and sisters. The enemy is the descendant of the people whose blood and bones our cities and roads are built on. Their destruction has led to our enrichment, even if you are an immigrant.

And the enemy keeps coming to the table, keeps negotiating in good faith, keeps trying to follow the rules of the colonizing government so that they can help their people.

Because the enemy thinks we are all family. The enemy thinks we all have good and open hearts and desire to do the right thing. The enemy doesn’t know you view them as non-human. As less. As nothing.

But they are starting to get the message. Their young men and women are starting to see that no matter how many rules they follow, no matter how hard they work to break the chains and cycles of generations of physical, cultural, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of your holy men and women it won’t matter. Because no one listens.

No one listens.

And so a war is coming that no one wants.

My heart cries at the thought of it. Our children will be the casualties. Their innocence, their faith in us, their need for an example that the world can really be a better place…it all dies along with the end of our respect for each other.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Bill-C45 is a budget bill. Why does it have so many other things packed on to it? So they can slip a dozen things under your noses before you have time to notice. If you don’t know what’s in that bill, then you might want to find out.

I speak to parents now. I speak on behalf of your children. They deserve to raise their own children in a clean world. A world where they don’t have to worry about cancer from the sun, from the water, from the food they eat. They shouldn’t have to worry about cancers of the spirit.

But that’s the world we’re giving them.

We’re giving them a world of ignorance, hate, greed and pollution.We can do better. We should do better, and we need to do it now while we still have choices. We need to do right by Treaties signed in good faith, and right by those yet unborn. We need to take responsibility and move forward with wisdom and compassion.

We should never be ashamed to look our children in the eye, but shame is what we are bringing them if we do nothing.

It’s time to end this sick, dysfunctional cycle and act like mature, caring, strong adults.

War is coming, but we can stop it.

We can find a way.

We can honour the Treaties.

We can honour each other.

And with good faith, we can create something new.