People all over the world are living hopeless and scared in the situation of poverty, with a ruler commanding the whole county on what to do and keeping all the wealth to themselves. This is what the people and government of Canada have done to the Indigenous Peoples that once traveled this land, and we even realized the pain these people were facing. The indigenous people in Canada have had such a huge impact on this country. Right from when European explorers first made contact with them, to the present day. They have been in some of Canadas biggest moments as a country (such as the world wars), so why does this group of peoples get passed by, scapegoated and confined by Canada? Indigenous rights are a defining moment in all of Canadian history. The major points at which indigenous rights (and even their lives) were dramatically changed were, when the “Indian Act” was introduced to first nations peoples; when residential schools opened all around Canada; and when the “1969 white paper” was proposed by the Canadian government.
The Indian act was first introduced in 1876, it was stated as “The principle statute in which the federal government administers Indian (indigenous) status, local first nations government, and the management of reserve land and communal monies” (HENDERSON; MICHAEL CRABB). It was first introduced to rub out the indigenous people to get them to adapt to the new and growing country of Canada and its ways. Over time the Indian act it has hugely discriminated the culture of the indigenous peoples. The year this act was introduced, it was immediately taking first nations culture. It allowed the government of Canada to have major power over the indigenous people. With power over determining status, and even control things such as education and cultural practices. This act had been taken way to far by the government right as it was introduced, and it got worse. The federal government made cultural practices illegal like the potlatch in 1884, and cultural dancing illegal. Dancing in the indigenous culture has dated back since the 1500’s in our known records, and the Canadian government took this from them in first in 1914 by making it illegal to dance off the reserve, then in 1925 making it illegal anywhere. The Canadian government was trying so hard to get the indigenous people to adapt to the adapt to the non-indigenous culture they even took away their right to their land in 1927. This act violated the indigenous peoples by taking away basic human rights. This act was amended again in 1951 by making cultural practices legal again. This just made the act back to what it was when it was first introduced. The Indian act was amended again in the next decade to take away all attempts to get the indigenous people into the non-indigenous culture. In the following year after this, Canada was highly criticized because of what they had done to its indigenous peoples. As stated in the paragraph above it is obvious that indigenous rights in this act alone are a defining part of Canadian history, as it affected so many people in horrible ways.
Residential schools are one of the most well-known discriminations of the indigenous people of Canada. From 1880 to 1990, residential schools were a horror for the indigenous children of Canada aged from five to sixteen. In these schools, they were forced to attend, the children were stripped or their cultural heritage and taught to be a part of the English culture. Residential schools came from the power of the government in the Indian act and the belief that they had the right to educate the first nations people and that it was their best chance at getting them to be part of the growing Canadian society. Over the century that residential schools existed in Canada, about 150 000 children were taken from their home and family. Initially 1,100 children attended 69 schools across the country. At the residential school peak in 1931, there was about 80 schools running across Canada (CBC News). At these schools, horrors occurred. Students we sexually abused by the staff and teachers, they were starved and beaten, these children endured the worst. Schools days were long for these children, they spent half their day in a classroom and the other doing work around the school, supposedly “learning work skills”, but, in reality, they kept the schools running inexpensively. These schools took the indigenous culture and crushed it inside of these children. On record, it states 3 200 children died at these schools (MILLER). Since the residential school system has closed, there has been two federal apologies made by the prime ministers of Canada. One on June 11th, 2008 by prime minister Stephen Harper, and one November 24th, 2017. Stated above was one of the worst things that happened to the indigenous people of Canada from being beaten and sexually abused to being stripped of everything you’ve ever known. What Canada did to these people is unacceptable.