The Indian Act 1876 Essay Scholarships

Canadian Indian Act Essay

734 Words3 Pages

The first Canadian Indian Act was issued in 1876. Though it has been revised

numerous times, this hundred and thirty year old legislation has been left virtually

unchanged. Established in order to ensure the assimilation of Native Americans in

Canada, the Indian Act instead had achieved the total opposite. It has made this

distinction more and has given immense power to the government, letting them control

all who reside on the reserves. It was then that the distinction between Status Indians and

Non-Status Indians was made. The Canadian government quickly displayed their control

by forbidding the sale of any land within the reserve unless it was turned over to the


Another major part of the act was the…show more content…

As we fast forward to the present, we see that this act may have diversified effects on

Native American people. Take for example a small northern reserve. We have people

who live in poorly constructed homes that are not even built to withstand the cold. They

cannot even afford running water, which makes laundry and bathing a difficult task. All

of this is happening because they are not self sufficient. These people do not have the

knowledge needed to properly run the reserve. These Native Americans have no choice

but to depend on a government that cannot fulfill the their needs. Besides not receiving

enough funds from the government, they are expected to pay ridiculously high prices to

satisfy their basic needs such as food from convenient stores. Though they intend to one

day own their own stores, they are practically denied the opportunity to communicate

with those in charge.

On the positive side, they have learned English, their children do attend school.

However, the level of education is not sufficient. To be able to assimilate into an

environment, they would have to work harder yet they are continuously slowed down by

the government. This is simply one example of a people living in atrocious conditions.

There are Natives living a better life.

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Solving Conflicts through Agreements:
The Indian Act and Canadian Treaties

In modern society the question of why the aboriginal population receives benefits often arises. Much of today’s youth does not understand that the Native American people were often stripped of their rights in the past in order to gain these advantages. Two main incidents were established in the Aboriginal history, the first was the treaties that spread across Canada and the second incident was the Indian Act of 1876. The main difference between the Indian Act and treaties were the aboriginal’s role in the decision-making. Treaties allowed for a compromise between the Natives and the government that allowed for benefits on both ends whereas the Indian act…show more content…

Introduced in 1876, the act allowed the Canadian government almost complete control over how Indians lived and interacted with non-Indians. At the same time, it gave the government special responsibility for the health, education, and lands of much of the Indian population. The Act made First Nation land become under the title of the Crown. The Crown would then distribute the land through the representative of the Minister of Indian Affairs; also know as the Indian agent. The Indian agent was in command of all First Nation people that lived on the reserve. He had to give written permissions for Aboriginals who wanted to leave the reserve.
The theme throughout the new Act remained that of assimilation and “civilizing” of the Indians. Their Indian status was regarded as a temporary stage on the road to assimilation. They were expected to settle down and learn to become farmers. Also, some of the First Nations festival events were no longer allowed. Missionaries’ requested for the suppression of cultural practices such as the potlatch… along with such policies as forbidding the Sun Dance.
After these traditional First Nation practices were suppressed, enfranchisement became involuntary. Enfranchisement was the most common of the legal processes by which native peoples lost their Native status under the Indian Act. The term was used both for those who gave up their status by choice, and for the much larger number of native women who lost status automatically upon


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