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the assimilation agenda

Course Code
Mc Kim/ Penfold

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December 2: The Assimilation Agenda
Attempts on the national government based in Ottawa to assert its authority over
indigenous people. It expresses itself in its assimilation and absorption in euro-
Canadian mainstream
1867: the idea of Dominion from sea to sea was an abstraction. By early 70’s this would
change, stretching from an abstraction, to an actual fact.
I. The Assimilation Agenda
In the years after the Red River uprising and Manitoba Act ,the Canadian
government would seek to assert and impose its authority (legally and morally)
over the indigenous people of western Canada
Consistent with this objective, the Manitoba act is followed between 71-77 by a
series of treaties: Seven “Numbered Treatises, 1871-7
Through these treaties the Canadian government obtains title/legal ownership, of
lands that had been previously occupied by indigenous populations in the west
(includes NW. Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta)
These treaties were based on the principles of the old Royal Proclamation (1763,
says that land transactions cannot be concluded by individual settlers and native
groups. Rather, they must take place between one representatives of the crown,
and two representatives of the indigenous populations whose land they are
Conducted under the auspices of royal proclamation. Rather, negotiations are
done through Canadian government and not Crown
Through number treaties, aboriginal groups relinquish give up ownership of these
lands. In exchange, the Canadian government makes certain promises (3): 1. Set
aside reserved lands (reserves on which the populations could live); 2. Provide the
populations with aid in times of pestilence (hardship, which can include outbreaks
of disease, i.e. smallpox); 3. Give indigenous people the right to hunt and fish on
government run lands
These treatise coincide with the Indian Act
Indian Act, 1876
Government act put forth by House of Commons
As a result, there is an attempt on the part of the Canadian government to make
the administration of indigenous peoples more coherent
As a result to the British North American Act (basically the Canadian
Constitution) the federal government assumes responsibility for interacting with
Indian peoples
But, after confederation, there were different patches that were responsibilities.
The act is to make it more coherent (bring under centralized control)
It deprives indigenous peoples of citizenship rights. Stripping them of these rights
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