The Indian Department's goal of the assimilation of Native peoples, as set out in the Indian Act, was proceeding too slowly for some in government, particularly with respect to the imposition of the elective process on traditional leadership systems. In 1895, three-year terms of office for elected band councillors and chiefs were made mandatory for several bands in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. This system was expanded to apply to other tribes in Eastern Canada over the next four years, but many bands resisted the electoral process, and, in many cases, the department's superintendents did not agree with those elected to office and often disallowed elections. As it became apparent that the three-year electoral system was not going to work for all bands, the government was forced to become more flexible in its approach. By the turn of the century, four different systems of establishing band government existed: three-year elections, one-year elections, hereditary office, and appointment to council.

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Chinook Multimedia


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