MGMT2805 (Major Paper).docx - 1 Major Paper Impact of the...

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1 Major Paper - Impact of the Indian Act on First Nations Freddie Redding B00638237 November 15, 2018 Professor Michael Topshee, PhD MGMT 2805 It is not a question that the current negative circumstances of the Native populations of Canada trace their roots back to the colonization of this land; that false promises, manipulation, and irrefutable strong-arming from white settlers and their imposed government created an environment of subjugation and dependency. Proof of the politicization of Native lifestyles is well documented, particularly through the continually amended and machinated Indian Act. Less than ten years after the British North America act of 1867 created the country of Canada and gave it explicit control over “Indians and lands reserved for the Indians,” the Indian Act of 1876 was implemented: what is now recognized as a problematic and controversial decision from the government that ultimately ignored the intentions of the 1763 Royal Proclamation - that of collaboration with an independent nation - and replaced it with “the most colonial piece of legislature imaginable for dominating and controlling every aspect of the lives of the ‘subject nations’ within its territories.” 1 The language of the Indian Act shares much of its language with The White Man’s Burden, an unmistakable tone of condescension and superiority suggesting that it is the moral obligation of the colonizer to lift the uneducated savage from his ignorance. The intention of the Indian Act was to eradicate the Native way of life in favour of assimilation with the European newcomers. In this, the economic, socio-cultural, and political futures of Canada’s indigenous peoples were immediately and intentionally jeopardized. They were restricted and 1 Manuel, A., & Derrickson, R. M. (2017). The Reconciliation Manifesto . Toronto: James Lorimer & Company.
2 forced into economic practices that were not only new to them but were exceedingly prejudiced and shaped to work against them. The violent severing from their histories, languages, and cultural practices became government-sanctioned. Not recognized as people, they were actively barred from political affiliation and given no agency. The Indian Act was unmistakably a weapon used by a colonial government to batter an entire group of people in an attempt to eradicate them, and continues to pose an obstacle to any hope of reconciliation. One of the first steps to full assimilation with the incoming European population was considered to be the integration of First Nations populations into the economic structures of the time; namely, a consumerist, capitalist, entrepreneurial system that was unfamiliar and incongruent with the traditional way of life. Participation in this economy was promoted by locking communities onto Reserves where they were expected and “allowed” to farm certain produce. This practice, however, became increasingly limiting over time. Agriculture was not new to many Native communities, and there were many that thrived by working farmlands, despite often being given lands that were initially thought to be useless or unfruitful.

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