Erasing a Nation: The Conservative View of First Nations Reservations

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“To be Indian is to lack power – the power to act as owners of your lands, the power to spend your own money and, too often, the power to change your own condition.” Jean Chretien, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1969 “White Papers” “I think it’s not humane when we don’t ask the Indigenous peoples themselves what they want to do; I mean part of the problem, for the last 150 - 200 years is that First Nations people are not in control of their own destiny. It’s this crushing Paternalism from the federal government telling First Nations peoples what to do.” Hayden King, Political Science Lecturer, McMaster University. Source: CBC news: Sunday, debate with Jonathan Kay of the National Post Conservative ideologies, at best, are convoluted and conflicting where First Nations peoples are involved. Since the introduction of the Indian Act of 1876, which gave rise to the Canadian federal government enacting the first treaty to ‘…protect, guide and ensure the traditions of the Indian’s.’, the federal government has been actively seeking new opportunities to dissolve the First Nations reservations or the identity of First Nations people. The one-sided and cultivated beliefs of assimilation stems not only from paternalistic colonizers with a dominating attitude, but as well from the belief that ‘Indians’ were considered to be sub-human because of their affiliation with nature and their surroundings. This Conservative form of assimilation [now referred to as integration] has been the focal point in many of the discrepancies that First Nations people have faced since the introduction of this Indian Act. Such discrepancies include formation of the residential school system, the loss of status in various forms [such... ... middle of paper ... ...(Queen’s Printer Cat. No. R32-2469). Ottawa, ON. N.A. (2008, June 11). ‘We’re Sorry’ Harper Says. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/441556 Six Nations Geo Systems (1999). National Aboriginal Document Database. Retrieved February 23, 2009 from http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/aboriginaldocs/m-treaty.htm Tolvanen, A. (1992). The rise of Native Self-determination and the crisis of the Canadian Political Regime. Culture, Volume XII (No. 1), 63-77. United Nations General Assembly. (2007). Declaration of Indigenous Peoples. (1st edition, Sixty-first session). United Nations, United States of America. UN News Centre (April 2008). UN experts welcome Canada’s backing for indigenous rights declaration. Retrieved February 21, 2009 from http://www.un.org/ga/61/news/news.asp?NewsID=26376&Cr=indigenous&Cr1=rights

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