The Indian Act of Canada

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Summary Statement – Indian Act The Indian Act was an attempt by the Canadian government to assimilate the aboriginals into the Canadian society through means such as Enfranchisement, the creation of elective band councils, the banning of aboriginals seeking legal help, and through the process of providing the Superintendent General of the Indian Affairs extreme control over the aboriginals, such as allowing the Superintendent to decide who receives certain benefits, during the earlier stages of the Canadian-Indigenous' political interaction. The failure of the Indian Act though only led to more confusion regarding the interaction of Canada and the aboriginals, giving birth to the failed White Paper and the unconstitutional Bill C-31, and the conflict still is left unresolved until this day. The Indian Act is a combination of multiple legislations regarding the Aboriginal people who reside across Canada, such as the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857 and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act of 1869 (Hanson, n.p.). The Gradual Civilization Act was the Canadian government's attempt to assimilate the aboriginals into the Canadian society in a passive manner, through a method they encouraged called Enfranchisement. Enfranchisement is basically a legal process that allows aboriginals to give up their aboriginal status and accept a Canadian status (Crey, n.p.). This process, while under the Gradual Civilization Act, was still voluntary, but became a forced process when the Indian Act was consolidated in 1876 (Hanson, n.p.). The Gradual Enfranchisement Act introduced in 1869 was a major legislation that intruded with the private lives of the aboriginals. First, it established the “elective band council system” (Hanson, n.p.) that grants th... ... middle of paper ... ...n.p.). Soon the Canadian government amended Section 12 in 1985, and Bill C-31 was passed for those who lost their status and want to regain them (Hanson, n.p.). Unfortunately a fault existed in Bill C-31, which stated that the statuses of the aboriginals can only be passed on for one generation. Seeing as this was still unconstitutional, the government is now attempting to again retract its footsteps by amending the Indian Act altogether (Hanson, n.p.), but is still meeting difficulty in doing so. The aboriginal reject the idea of abolishing the Indian Act for one reason. Because it still protects the “sacred rights” of the aboriginals (Hanson, n.p.). It still separates the Canadians from the aboriginals, and also benefits are given to the aboriginals under the Indian Act, and thus it still serves as a useful tool for the aboriginals to attain protection from.
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