Passed in 1884, the Indian Advancement Act represented a major addition to the legislation regarding Canadian Indians. It drew a distinction between Eastern and Western Natives and was, in fact, aimed at the more "advanced" peoples in the East. It was concerned mainly with the development of elected band councils and chiefs, and provided for one-year elected band councils chosen by adult males. The councillors were to be elected directly by voters, and the process was to be facilitated by the division of reserves into electoral districts. The legislation allowed for the indirect election of the chief councillor, who was to be chosen by the elected councillors from among themselves. This Act exceeded the Indian Act in giving band councils more control of things like public health and by allowing them to tax the real property of all band members, including that held by location ticket. There was a contradiction in this legislation as an exercise in governmental education, for the superintendent general could, at the discretion of the cabinet, receive extended powers to interfere, through the local Indian agent, in local government, by calling, participating in, or adjourning band council meetings. Despite the resistance engendered by this reformation of Native political structures, the provisions were later incorporated into the Indian Act where they remained until the 1951 revisions of that Act.

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