POLI 204 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Aboriginal Peoples In Canada, Indian Register, Pierre Trudeau

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18 Feb 2016
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Chapter 13: Aboriginal Rights and Governance
Intro
There are 824,341 Status Indians registered in Canada.
Those of Indian ancestry who are listed in the ocial government
registry and are entitled to certain bene"ts, including exemption
from taxation on property or income earned on the reserve.
Aboriginal population grew 45% from ’96 to ’06 in comparison to
just 8% from the non-Aboriginal population.
There are 617 recognized ‘bands’
3.9% of Canada’s total population
Their welfare:
Average lifespan is 7 years less
High suicide rate
Average income much lower
High unemployment
Inadequate housing
Violent crime rate higher
Lack basic necessities
oUnclean water supply
oPoor sewage facilities
Many Canadians argue they should be treated equally
Many Aboriginals believe they should be treated with special
rights since they were here before.
Some argue they never gave up their sovereignty
Historical Background
Canadian Aboriginals were never conquered; they signed many treaties
with the French, British, and Canadian governments.
Ceded land in return for annual cash payments, reserves, and
other bene"ts.
Was British land, but gave them the right to hold it
1) Indian Acts
Act passed by Parliament in 1876, the Canadian government tried to
strictly control their lives.
Made some of their practices and traditions illegal
Treated them as ‘wards’ rather than citizens
Acted as the ‘superior white man’
oThey are inferior, and need white man expertise
Wanted to force assimilation into society, eradicate status of
‘Indians’
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Proposals for Change
1) The Hawthorne Report (1963)
A Canadian government report that recommended that Indians should
have rights in addition to those of other citizens and not be forced to
assimilate into majority society.
Major study done by anthropologist Henry Hawthorne
Recommended that Indians be regarded as ‘citizens plus
oThe idea that Indians possess certain rights in addition to
the normal rights and duties of citizens
Should not be forced to assimilate
Pierre Trudeau rejected the Hawthorne Report for the same reasons he
rejected Quebec ‘special status’, he believed that every
individual
should be treated
equally
. He was more in line with the White Paper of
1969.
2) The White Paper on Indians (1969)
A 1969 Canadian government discussion paper that proposed to end
the di@erent legal status of Indians.
Instead of special rights, Indian people should have the right to
full and equal participation in the cultural, social, economic, and
political life of Canada.”
Proposed ending the di@erent legal status of Indians, and
provisions of services to them.
Provincial government would be responsible for providing them
with the same bene"ts as everyone else.
Control of Indian land will be transferred to Indian bands.
Thrown out in 1971
Aboriginals want inherent right of self-government.
The perspective that First Nations have the right to govern
themselves based on their independence before European
colonization, a right that was never ceded.
3) The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991-1996)
A Royal Commission established by the Canadian government that
recommended a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between
Aboriginals and settler societies based on the recognition of Aboriginal
nationhood.
In 1991, the Canadian government sent a commission of four
Aboriginal and three non-Aboriginal commissioners.
4000 page report released in 1996 detailed the ill treatment of
the Aboriginals and called for a fundamental restructuring of the
relationship b/w Aboriginals and settler societies.
Some Recommendations:
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