Following Confederation, the Canadian government moved to strengthen the provisions of the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857 in an effort to speed the assimilation of the Native peoples. The Act of 1869 sought to protect the status of reserve lands by further restricting the definition of who was regarded as an Indian. Now only persons of one quarter Indian blood could be acknowledged as having Indian status. The Act also worked to replace traditional tribal forms of government with administrative provisions more in keeping with English traditions. The office of chief was strengthened, and band council powers were increased to include the making of by-laws on matters affecting local public welfare. Bands were also empowered to employ an electoral system based upon three-year terms, if they chose to do so. A system of location tickets was established whereby an individual band member who chose to become enfranchised could receive land holdings on the reserve guaranteed to him and to his heirs in perpetuity. Canadian Natives expressed their dissatisfaction with the erosion of their traditional rights by largely refusing to participate in the government's plans for citizenship and assimilation. The Act also included provisions that systematically discriminated against Native peoples on the basis of gender since non-Indian women who married Indians acquired Indian status but Indian women who married non-Indian men lost theirs.

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