First Nations - Wikipedia
Unfortunately, after Confederation the policy of government soon became Rather than being citizens or members of a Nation or Tribe of Indians in the specific Indigenous histories (whether speaking about First Nations. Understanding that connection is key to understanding First Nation The Proclamation “refers to Nations or Tribes of Indians", So, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, the First Nation relationship and ownership to the land is Aboriginal Self-government (9) · Indigenous economic development. As First Nations' military role in the look at new approaches to their relationship . This Act made the government the of "Indians and Indian lands" very.
European Settlement and Aboriginal Status As the non-Aboriginal population increased, Aboriginal peoples — mostly First Nations — ceased to be treated as independent nations and were settled on reserves.
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There, Aboriginal bands were organized under the supervision of Indian Department superintendents or agents. No longer military diplomats, but local managers of reserve land and band affairs, they encouraged Aboriginal people to farm, become self-supporting by non-traditional means and generally live like the surrounding population.
Schools and churches were usually provided. The establishment of common property in reserves and band funds, special legislation and treaty rights led to the development of the legal concept of status. The ultimate goal of Aboriginal policy in most of the post-Confederation period was to eliminate all status by assimilation and enfranchisement.
This legal process has never been popular with Aboriginal people and has failed in its overall objective. Post-Confederation Treaties and Their Modern Counterparts After Confederationadministrative responsibility for Aboriginal people was allocated to the central government in Ottawa. This did not affect the general direction of Aboriginal policy, which remained largely unchanged until at least the midth century. As the Dominion of Canada prepared for the settlement and development of new territories, the treaty system continued to be used as an expansionist arm of Aboriginal policy.
The later 19th century and early 20th century treaties, like their earlier counterparts, purported to extinguish Aboriginal rights to a prescribed territory. They provided, in return, land reserves and a modest contribution of cash, goods and services to the people subject to the treaty.Canada 150: Indigenous people remember dark past
For example, provision for a school is seen as a promise of education from the primary through to the post-secondary level. In addition to disagreements over interpretation, the treaties have given rise to specific claims alleging failure to fulfill treaty terms or claiming maladministration of treaty or Indian Act provisions, particularly with respect to the surrender and sale of reserve land.
Claims are first reviewed by a department of INAC and, if they are rejected for negotiation, they can proceed to the Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada, which was formed in as an independent judicial body with the authority to make final, and binding, settlement decisions.
This practice was later extended to other parts of western and northern Canada in a process outside of treaty making but, from onward, often parallel to it. Where the land was not yet wanted for settlement or development, Aboriginal peoples were left without treaties. This practice has given rise in more recent times to large comprehensive land claims in northern Canada.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of became an American forerunner for the modern comprehensive land claim settlements in Canada. It provided many more land rights than the earlier treaties, and far more generous cash and resource settlements.
This settlement has been followed by others, covering territory in the Northwest Territories and Yukon and also in non-treaty area within the provinces. Notable among these settlements has been the Nunavut Land Claims Agreementwhich led to the creation of the territory of Nunavutand the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreementwhich established the Government of Nunatsiavut within Labrador and Newfoundland.
While the federal government made treaties in the 19th century on the prairies where it controlled the land, it could not do so unilaterally in British Columbia, where Crown lands were under provincial control. For the most part in British Columbia, Aboriginal rights awaited recognition and settlement until the end of the 20th century. Ina tripartite treaty commission began work toward the negotiation of treaties in BC.
The Nisga'a Final Agreement Act in became the first modern-day treaty in that province. The Nisga'a treaty gave the First Nation the right to self-government within 2, km2 of their traditional lands in the Nass River Valley. In taking an expansive view of Aboriginal title, the Supreme Court is charting a new course relative to future resource development and the process of consulting with Aboriginal groups in areas of Canada that have not been ceded by historic treaties.
The Indian Act and Aboriginal Administration The administrative arm of Aboriginal policy continued with little change after Confederation. The Indian Department became a federal office in and has continued under various titles until the present day. Legislation governing First Nations people was consolidated into the Indian Act in The diversity among Aboriginal people and the regions of Canada, combined with the differences in historical experience, however, led to variations in regional administration.
In the more settled regions, administration was linked by the common goals of interim protection and ultimate assimilation. In the interests of economy, and prior to Euro-Canadian development of their lands, Aboriginal peoples in the remoter regions were neglected.
A court decision ruled that Inuit were a federal responsibility, but they have not been subject to the Indian Act. Separate programs of economic development and services were applied to them, especially since the s as development increasingly invaded their homeland and disrupted their way of life. In recent decades, these northern people have participated in modern comprehensive land claimsspecifically the Inuvialuit Agreement in the western Arctic and Nunavut in the east, which give them political powers as well as land and economic benefits.
Prior to the Second World War, Aboriginal policy was made by government without consulting Aboriginal people and with little public attention. By the s, this began to change.
Aboriginal people became more politically active and more vocal about their marginal position in society and lack of self-determination. Public opinion became more informed and disturbed about Aboriginal poverty and marginality.
Policy reflected this changing situation through new and expanded programs. The government sought to promote economic development and to provide equality of services to Aboriginal people, particularly through agreements with the provinces.
The Indian Act was revised inbut the quickened pace of change soon required a further revision. Consultation meetings —69 with Aboriginal representatives created the expectation of participating in the proposed revision. Aboriginal peoples made it clear that they wanted their rights honoured, and their land and treaty claims settled before Indian Act revision.
Expectations were dashed with the release of the government's policy proposals the White Paper in Junewhich seemed to ignore all of their stated priorities. The proposals suggested a phased abolition of the Indian Department and of the Indian Act within five years, eliminating Indian status.
The importance of treaties and Aboriginal claims was downplayed. The Aboriginal response to the proposed government policy was hostile and sustained.
Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit
Rather than being citizens or members of a Nation or Tribe of Indians based on a treaty relationship as symbolized by the wampum belt, under the Indian Act, Indians were defined and made wards of the state — with the government as trustee. So, looking forward, how do we deconstruct our colonial reality and get back to the relationship as symbolically represented by the Wampum belt? How do we, as a government, support the rebuilding of Indigenous nations as part of Canada?
Moreover, beyond the necessary truth telling and healing, it means working to transform patterns of relations today and into the future through new types of agreements, mechanisms and constructive arrangements with Indigenous peoples. It will ultimately require undoing the Indian Act and other legislation that have remnants of colonialism.
It also means creating laws and policies that recognize Indigenous governments and lands. The growth in dialogue amongst Canadians about reconciliation is, of course, important and necessary. However, in my view, reconciliation is not possible without recognition — indeed, recognition must occur before reconciliation can begin to manifest itself in our lives and relationships.
Inwith the patriation of the Constitution and the adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 35 was enshrined in our Constitution clearly recognizing and affirming the rights of Indigenous peoples. There have also been a number of successful land claims and self-government agreements negotiated.
But despite all these important developments, many aspects of relations between Indigenous peoples and the Crown are still based on denial rather than recognition. Such a process often costs Indigenous peoples millions of dollars and takes years. Similarly, most of our laws and policies — such as those around land and resource decision-making — do not properly consider the existence of Indigenous title and rights.
Underlying all of this, of course, is that colonial legislation such as the Indian Act continues to govern the lives of many Indigenous peoples and communities across the country. Neither is not acting to undo colonial laws and legacies that are based on denial. For reconciliation to fully manifest itself in Canada, denial must be ended in all of its aspects, and recognition become the foundation of relations.
This is no easy task when laws, policies, and practices have been built in one way for years. This is why our government is taking a systematic and coherent approach to this work. To inaugurate this shift, our government endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualification.
It is a process I expect to be driven by principles to be released publically, so that all Canadians — Indigenous and non-Indigenous — will see the expectations we are placing on the federal government for the change that must occur. This approach also supports the hard work that Indigenous peoples themselves need to undertake to ensure that modern nation-to-nation relationships can be fully realized.
At its core, self-determination means that Indigenous peoples set the direction for their own future, including the self-governing institutions they will use to serve and meet the aspirations of their citizens. In undertaking this work, decisions will have to be made about what constitutes the nation. In other words, the Nation. Matching the political and legal structure of the modern Indigenous nation to that of the proper rights holder will inevitably be a challenge as it already has been where modern treaties have been negotiated, or are still being negotiated.
It will equally be a challenge for those groups that already have historical treaties given the pervasiveness of the existing and imposed colonial administrative structures. There will no doubt need to be some compromise by Indigenous peoples themselves as to what constitutes a modern Indigenous nation and the associated institutions of self-governance. And we will need a clear process for the transition moving away from the status quo. What is also clear though, is that it is not for the federal government to dictate what self-government must look like, but for Indigenous nations to set a path forward, and the federal government to learn to act as partners in operationalizing and supporting that path as appropriate.
And the relationship between laws will have to be addressed through discussions and agreements among the parties or if necessary ultimately determined by the courts. So going back to the wampum analogy, while the laws may no longer exist solely within their own ship or canoe, side-by-side, they do still co-exist together. As the common law has evolved with new legal principles being developed, and notwithstanding the constitutional division of powers, the reality today is a Canada with multi-level governance where the federal, provincial and territorial, and now re-emerging Indigenous governments share power and decision-making between and among each other.
Where existing and evolving legal principles such as cooperative federalism increasingly guide the complex web of authority for governments to make laws, often in the same area, in support of effective governance. As we move to a place of recognition, this becomes all the more important to understand.
Moving forward, my colleagues and I are very confident we can, indeed, move Canada from a position of denial to one of recognition and, in so doing, remove the colonial institutions that stand in the way of Indigenous progress and, therefore, progress for our country as whole.
And before I close, I can tell you that where Indigenous peoples have taken back control of their lives — and are well on the path to nation rebuilding — they are doing much better socially and economically than those groups that remain trapped within the colonial structures.