The Indian Act
Owing to the development of Canada in 1867, the rights of managing the aboriginal affairs, resided with the federal government. Since then, the Indian Act (enacted in 1876) has undergone several amendments and this has given the government, the rights to control almost all the major aspects of aboriginal life- like the land, resources, education facility, administration of the band, status of Indians and even their wills.
To legally and federally be recognized as an Indian, in Canada, one needs to abide by all the rules and the regulations and the standards of living that are imposed by the government. To ensure this, the Indian Act was passed, not merely as a body of law but as a sole controller of each and every aspect of the life of the Indians. In the older versions of this act, the norms on bringing together the First Nations, were mentioned.
The people who successfully completed and got a degree from the University, were liable to lose their Indian Status while the women who married the non status men, were liable to lose their status as well.
The Act implied the rule that if a woman married an aboriginal man, then her Indian status would remain intact and she would receive cultural as well as social benefits but if any woman marries a white (European), she would lose her Indian status and would be considered as the member of Canadian society.
The halfbreed Indians, also called as the Métis, were denied Indian status. The Indian Act aimed to combine all the already prevalent legislations that covered the First Nations and their existing relationship with Canada.
The Act came into being with the target of helping the aboriginals to the protect the land that was left with them. However, the main owner of the land, remained the Crown. The administration of the land was supposed to be done by the Crown via the Minister of Indian Affairs, who was an Indian Agent.
The Act tried to vest more power in the hands of the local government but simultaneously it took away the existing powers by appointing an Indian agent as the chairman of the counsil. According to the rules listed in the Act, the Indians were not allowed to sell or produce goods if they did not have written permission from the local Indian agent. Moreover, the status Indians were denied the right to vote until 1961.
Looking for help with essay or term paper? Hire MyPaperWriter.com - professional paper writing service for college students.
Essay on The Indian Act of Canada
1240 Words5 Pages
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,…show more content…
Secondly, the Act granted the Superintendent General of the Indian Affairs control over the Indians (Hanson, n.p.). This basically allows the Superintendent General to arbitrarily decide who deserves extra benefits and who doesn't, thus intruding with the lives of the aboriginals. The third effect of the Gradual Enfranchisement Act was the restriction of power of the band councils, such as “regulat[ed] alcohol consumption and determin[ing] who would be eligible for band and treaty benefits” (Hanson, n.p.). These two Acts defined relationship between the Canadian government and the aboriginals that hinted a sense of superior control, in which the Canadian government's power over the aboriginals only extended with the Indian Act of 1867. This is due the fact that the Indian Act not only added a few more regulations that controlled the aboriginals, but it also solidified more power to the two Gradual Civilization Act and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act by forcing the enfranchisement of the aboriginals who, for example, served in the Canadian army or gained an University education (Crey, n.p.) After the strangling claws of the Indian Act were felt, the Canadian government began to issue more laws that intruded with the aboriginals lives and took away their rights. The first of these was the “Potlatch Law” (Hanson, n.p.). It banned potlatches and other ceremonies of the aboriginals, all for the purpose of forcing the