By Brett Popplewell
1920: Duncan Campbell Scott, deputy superintendent of the Indian department from 1913 to 1932, proposes amendments to the Indian Act. “I want to get rid of the Indian problem,” he says. “Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic....”
1925-1951: The government forbids Indians from forming their own political groups. It also bans powwows, sweat lodges and sun dances. The ban is not lifted until 1951.
1940s: Inspired by what it has read about Canada’s Indian Act and its legal classification of “status Indians,” the South African government examines Canada’s Indian reserve system and later models elements of apartheid after the Canadian system.
1946-1948: In order to sign on to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ottawa lifts bans on traditions such as potlatchs and powwows, as is the prohibition on alcohol on reserves.
1960: Indians are given voting rights.
1969: Pierre Trudeau sets his agenda for a just society. His minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chrétien, drafts the “White Paper.” Its purpose is to make everyone equal under the law by abolishing Indian status, Indian reserves, Indian treaties, the Indian Department and the Indian Act. Indian chiefs across the country respond with “The Red Paper.” The status quo is maintained. Indian status is protected.
All the negative acts here qualify as genocidal acts under the UN's definition of genocide. And this doesn't even go into the whole boarding-school tragedy, which was big in Canada.
This info makes previous postings on the subject--e.g., Europeans Taught Natives "Discipline, Order"? and No History of Canadian Colonialism?!--seem ironic. Canadians tried to obliterate Native cultures, but people are still defending them?!
I'm not sure who would try to justify Canadian policy on First Nations people, but if I met one, I'd be tempted to punch them in the nose. The residential school system was one of the most horrific incidents in history, and its genesis predates the start of this timeline by 36 years or so.
I wrote a bit about it here: http://thinkingoutloud-thinkfree.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-is-one-to-live-moral-and.html
If you find someone that defends Canada's policies and actions, tell him this Canadian thinks they're kinda blind. And send 'em my way. Please.
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