Colonialism, Aboriginal peoples, and racism in CanadaIn this research paper, I will be explaining how western colonialism and racism destroyed the reputation of aboriginal peoples in Canada. The reason why I chose this topic because it shows the strong relationship to anthropology and after taking aboriginal studies 30, it also shows that I have a clear understanding about the history of aboriginal peoples in Canada, the struggles they have been through over the past decade and the challenges they still face today in modern day society. I’ll be addressing these issues in a couple of paragraphs on the discrimination and the inequalities of these “minorities” and how they had to assimilate into European culture, leaving their way of life behind them.
The history of Canada is the era of where colonization all began towards aboriginal peoples. Over the past decades, aboriginal peoples have been mistreated and misused by the white-Europeans. They have been oppressed by Canadian society that we are known still by today and continue to live under racism resulting in gender and class oppression. The history of colonialism has been playing a big part in the way of how aboriginal people have been constructed and impacted on how aboriginal people are treated and viewed in Canadian Society. They have been dealing with the struggles, inequality, and discrimination that we have been putting them through for over three centuries, we’ve been also failing them with Canada’s racist policies and this has been reflected in high levels of unemployment, suicides and extremely poor education.”Colonialism” is a process that has been coined by the Europeans, simply this means that the Europeans runs, exploits and overlooks an indigenous group by claiming their land and resources, extracting their wealth from them, and using them as cheap labor. In Canada, the British have evaded the Aboriginal people with their vision of creating a “Capitalistic” society. (Cass, pg 1) This vision has put the Aboriginal people at the disappointing end of the agreement because they would have to produce resources on their own land in return for goods- This is how slavery began in Canada.
During the 19th century, aboriginal people faced a bunch of discrimination that was pointed towards them. Seen by Canadian society, they continue to live under racism resulting in oppression and the capitalistic approach has played a significant impact on the native people that were treated in modern Canadian society and their cultures and beliefs have been considered absurd and out of the norm, where this led to the opening of residential schools for Aboriginal children to assimilate and their generations into European society. When understanding how these residential schools have left a huge impact on these kids because their only objective was to force these aboriginals into European society, the children were stripped away from their native culture because of the British, they thought that European culture was more superior than the aboriginal peoples’. In 1883, a statement was brought to the attention to the House of Commons of the government’s position regarding education of the Aboriginal children from Sir John A. Macdonald “When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly pressed on myself, as the head of the Department of Indian affairs, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.
” (Government of Canada 1883: 1107-8)(Fontaine, Lorena Sekwan, 186) This statement reveals the government’s intentions to fully remove aboriginal children from the cultural connections they had to family and their community. Dr. Duncan Campbell Scott once said that ” I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone. Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill.” This statement provoked the entire problem with the Indians and how residential schools were coming about.
But, to what degree was the purpose of opening residential schools and ruining the culture of Aboriginals? And why did the Canadian government had so much hatred towards of the first people who ever inherited the land of Canada that we live on? Before the opening of residential schools, the government believed that the government officials were obligated to help teach the aboriginal children in Canada English and really bring them as far away from their original aboriginal culture. Also, there was so much racial discrimination against aboriginals; there were many times Canadians would say these distressing, opinionated comments like “Kill the Indians” which brought out the hatred that was shown through towards them. These statements have been claimed as a conflict because of the “dominance between groups competing over power and resources” (Tepperman, Albanese and Curtis 2012. Pg. 167) and the dominant group will do anything in their power to misuse the minority group by creating these rules to triumph in their idealistic society, while also dismiss the minority every opportunity for their chance to succeed in modern day society. The European settlers viewed the aboriginal people as an obstacle in their journey to expand on their land and also conquering their resources but they fear the practices and beliefs will damage the unity of their own society.
The colonization era has also portrayed a negative and stereotypical image of aboriginal women and the European colonist have created this for them. Aboriginal women were rationalized to their subjugation. In specific, the women would have to suffer through racism, sexism, domestic violence and over- presentation. Through the exertion of the Indian Act that was first passed in 1876, Aboriginal women have been involuntary to abandon their culture in order to assimilate into Canadian culture and resulting in cultural isolation within their own. This has been clear evidence that the Indian Act has played a huge part into the discrimination of Indigenous women from their power, traditional roles, and their communities and lands, making them vulnerable to male and state violence. (Razack, Sherene H., 2016, pg 2) The effects of colonization have changed the way Aboriginal women are treated; emotionally and physically, therefore that created the source for oppression today which related to the negative and stereotypical images are still existing in Canadian society today, this still contributes to the racism that aboriginal women and men still face. The act was to implement to define who an “Indian” is and the rights that come with that title.
These rights would have a bearing on the status, bands, and reserves to the aboriginal people. ” The great aim of our legislation has been to away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitant of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change” (John A. Macdonald, 1887) aboriginal women and men have been oppressed into Canadian culture which left a negative impact on the aboriginal people because the racial comments and stereotypes like, “Drunken indian, useless, and that indians only live off of the government’s money, their lazy” and those comments have contributed more into internal suffering for these people for many centuries as the first world continue to leave them with a shattered life and a society that has been polluted with a ton of social issues and the point of that the british have been trying to make did weaken the aboriginal people has resulted in the breakdown of their culture and contributed into the disappearance of their own social structure.
Even though the British had many practices and tactics to gain power, control and conform these aboriginal peoples into British society but also have been converting them into their vision of the ‘Perfect British Samaritan” while the aboriginal peoples were concerned about the decreasing number of animals of their land which provided them life resources in order to live created the outcome of several treaties that were established within the 19th century, these were represented to the Indians as symbols of the queen’s protection against the loss of land and livelihood which relates to the views on each treaty that were extremely contradicted from both sides of the government and the first nations, these treaties were expected to be the first step towards assimilation and the government expected the first nations to give up their culture, including their language, religious beliefs and everything that was differentiated to them from Canadians of British origin. And the treaties were broken along with the line trust between the natives and government, making it an impossible situation to find a common ground between the two groups. For these treaties to work out in the government’s favor, the government had to exterminate the bison to make sure the natives were pushed off of their land but also this created many conflicts which resulted in one of the two rebellions; North-West Rebellion commonly known as the Red River Rebellion. The Red River Rebellion was a settlement first that was founded in 1813, by Alexander, Lord Selkirk, obtained a grant of the land from “The Hudson Bay Company” near Assiniboine and Red River. This settlement was frequently threatened with destruction from the Indians and various causes but this eventually turned into a fourteen-year-long series of sequence events that was primarily based in the Red River colony of what is known today as now Manitoba. The Red River Rebellion was a Metis resistance that was led by Louis Riel, he was a controversial figure throughout Canadian history and still is today but in the perspectives of Canadians, he was believed to be a villain and a hero at the same time.
Throughout the years of 1869 and 1885, he decided to help the Metis out by becoming their main leader but he struggles to improve their lives when the government ordered a survey of the Red River Settlement on September 1869. This survey was declared as a threat to the Metis people, in which the European surveyors mapped out the land of the Red River colony and the people of the Red River soon “found their ancient surveys, landmarks, and boundaries” (Bruyneel, 714) were about to be seized by the government because they were mere “half-breeds” to English Canadians. In a statement that was brought to the attention of Prime Minister Macdonald “These impulsive half-breeds have got spoilt by the emeute riot, and must be kept down by a strong hand until they are swamped by the influx of settlers” (Bruyneel, pg 715) this had been demonstrated in many attempts by the Canadian government to crush the rebellion but instead escalated into a minor civil war