Chapter 4.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Jennifer Levine

Chapter 4: aboriginal peoples Theoretical considerations Colonialism, identities, and changing terminology  Colonialism can be defined as the explotation, domination and subjugation of a people by an imperial power  There are three official categories: north American Indian, metis, and inuit; Indians are divided between status and non-status, and the former are subdivided between on and off reserve Theoretical models  In theory there are probably three main governance options that could be chosen to improve the condition of aboriginal life in Canada o The first would be integration and assimilation into the non-aboriginal society  This of course meaning that they would be off the inadequate living reserves o The second option would be a return to aboriginal self-government, focused on the reserves  For soem this means making reserves more autonomous of the Indian affairs department, perhaps with powers akin to municipalities  One step further of course being to incorporate the concept of aboriginal self- government as a third order of government, akin to federal and provincial levels, as proposed int he Charlottetown accord o A third option speaks of aboriginal sovereignty, which refers to the aboriginal peoples being independent of the Canadian state  This is the ideal for those who feel that the second option would leave aboriginals in a “post-colonial” kind of situation  However while this the probably the dream option for aboriginals, its not a very realistic proposition Aboriginal demographic profile today  In 2006 concensus, statistics canda reported 1.2 million aboriginals based on identity, that is, those who felt themselves to be aboriginal, and about 1.7 million aboriginals based on acenstry or ethnic origin  Canadian authorities break these down into again three categories of: first nations, metis and inuit  (table on pg 79)  The largest absolute numbers live in Ontario, but first nations and metis have a higher concentration in the western part of the country  Meanwhile, half of the inuit live in Nunavut  The metis fertility rate is growing almost twice as fast as the non-aboriginal counterpart, and moreover many reserve families have incomes far below the poverty line  The suicide rates among aboriginal youths is fives times the national average  Those living on reserves did not even have the right to vote in federal elections until 1960 Historical evolution  Aboriginals were mostly nomadic hunters, who were self-sufficient and self-governing  Fur trade was more than anything what led to the invasion by the Europeans  Indian act was consolidated in 1876  This gave the federal government control over much of the “Indian” life  The federal government often made treaties with the aboriginal peoples, involving land or fishing/hunting rights, but the majority of people, if not all, can clearly see and agree that the aboriginals were exploited by the government in these treaties, often getting terrible parcels of land and what was promised Aboriginal political issues since 1970  The white paper on Indians, was the spark that ig
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