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Lecture

GENDER, COLONIALISM AND ABORIGINAL PEOPLES (PART 2)

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Department
Social Science
Course
SOSC 1350
Professor
Julie Dowsett
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 14 January 15, 2014 GENDER, COLONIALISM AND ABORIGINAL PEOPLES (PART 2) Take up the White Man’s burden— Send forth the best ye breed— Go bind your sons to exile To serve your captives’ need; To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild— Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child. —Rudyard Kipling, “White Man’s Burden” (1899) I believe the conditions are being deliberately created in our residential schools to spread infectious diseases. [...] The mortality rate in the schools often exceeds fifty percent. This is a national crime. —Dr. Peter Bryce, The Story of A National Crime: Being An Appeal for Justice for the Indians of Canada, 1907-1921 (1922) B: Colonialism, Sexism and the Law 1. Royal Proclamation of 1763 a. Came about after the fall of New France • It was a problematic piece of legislation b. Forbad white settlement beyond a “proclamation line” • Suggested principles between the aboriginal and Europeans relationship c. The Crown must formally extinguish Aboriginal rights; private interests could not do so • British Parliament • If you wanted to take over land that belonged to Aboriginal owned, you could not do so, only the government was able to d. Negotiations for the surrender of “Indian title” had to occur at an open assembly with the full consent of all people • Everyone one concerned had to participate before there land would be taken away from them e. Did not establish Aboriginal rights in North America; but (as decided in R. v. Guerin in 1984) it did assume their existence f. It resulted in large tracts of land being treated for “protected preserves” • Which later morphed into the reservation system 2. Act for the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes (1857) a. Much more restrictive and much more Eurocentric and problematic that the earlier law b. Large number of white settlers had come since the royal proclamation and the government wanted to restrict traditional abo lifestyles and land use amongst other things c. Abo customs started to be outlawed: religious parties, ceremonies, etc d. What this act “gradual civilization of Indian tribes” created along process of paternalism (treated aboriginals like “children”) and segregation of aboriginal people e. British people though that aboriginal people were “uncivilized” and “savages”. The British thought it was up to them to being the Aboriginal to “civilization” f. Very progressive act, to enfranchise the Aboriginal people and to civilize them.  Compare to William Dowsett (professors great uncle who was illiterate but still got land with no questions asked) • Enfranchise: remove all their “special” distinction that they might have and to be just “regular” citizens. The right to citizenship and to make aboriginals like other Canadians and to make then “white”. • Male aboriginals people including the Metis, at the age of 21, the right to Canadian/British citizenship and the right to vote. If they were lucky then can also get some little segment of land to farm. You couldn’t use the land for any tribal purposes and for Aboriginal ceremonial use. BUT the 21+ aboriginal man, to get all this, had to prove that they were civilized. How are you to prove that you are civilized? 1. Had to demonstrate that he cold read, wrote, and speak English or French. 2. Had to choose a surname that was approved by the state  nothing to aboriginal sounding 3. Couldn’t have any doubt and had “sound moral character” a. Had to find a local clergy man (protestant minister) you would attest as to your sound moral character and you would be closely monitored for three years. If you stayed a “sounds moral character” then you would be enfranchised. g. If you were declared civilized and enfranchised, it wasn’t particularly powering, because you would have to renounce any and all legal claims on all your ancestral land. So in many ways it wasn’t no empowering whatsoever. 3. Section 91(24) of the British North America Act (1867) a. Gave federal government exclusive jurisdiction over the administration over aboriginal people and land reserved for those people. • Control over aboriginal people and aboriginal land was exclusively in the hands of the federal government. So no right to self-government for Aboriginals people. 4. Indian Act (1876) a. Not a new piece of legislation; consolidation of various existing Canadian federal and colonial statutes • More a consolidation of many laws  putting together of all of those old laws and a few new ones into one piece of legislation b. Original Indian Act confined Aboriginal people to reserves • Consolidated the idea that aboriginal people were restricted to reservations. • Purpose of reservations: “Protect” aboriginal peoples because they are so childlike and because they need our paternalistic help and once they have been “assimilated” and became “civilization” we can set them free • Reservations were not meant to be a long-term thing, as well as the Indian act, it was not meant to be a long-term thing. People that wrote it probably thought it wouldn’t be in action today. c. Cornerstone of colonial regulation: appropriation
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