1850s - 1914

illustration depicting Natives negotiating Manitoba treaty of 1871

When the framers of Confederation met to negotiate the shape of the new Dominion, no Aboriginal people were at the conference tables and Aboriginal issues were scarcely on the minds of the participants. In the end, the British North America Act of 1867 contained only a single line about Native peoples...

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1914 - 1945

Photo showing some of the File Hills Indian Colony volunteers

The First World War brought a new set of challenges to Aboriginal people in Canada as a series of policy decisions indicated that, once again, the interests of First Nations were clearly secondary to the perceived national interest. Although some...

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1945 - 2000

Residential schools operated in Canada until 1996.

Since the early twentieth century, many Aboriginal communities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island had been struggling with desperate poverty. A smallpox epidemic in the 1890s and a major migration to the United States had redu...

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Conclusion

At the end of the twentieth century, Canadians find themselves caught in a dilemma over Aboriginal affairs. We have inherited a legal structure and bureaucracy that is rooted in the policies of the nineteenth century, with their racist assumptions about "primitive" people that most Canadians no l...

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Further Readings

Carter, Sarah. Lost Harvests: Prairie Reserve Indian Farmers and Government Policy. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990.

Cole, Douglas, and Ira Chaikin. An Iron Hand upon the People: The Law against the Potlatch on the Northwest Coast. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1990.

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Written By

Kerry Abel
Adjunct Professor
Carleton University
This is a brief description of Kerry Abel

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