Aspects Of An Act For The Gradual Civilization Of Indian Tribes

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Final Exam 2015

Question 1
Aspects of An Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes in this Province, and to amend the Laws Relating to Indians, 1857 include:

- Applied equally to Upper and Lower Canada;
- Referred to as the Gradual Civilization Act, this statute was the first to introduce the concept of enfranchisement - the process by which Indian people lost their Indian status and became full British subjects;
- Intent was to remove all legal distinctions between Indians and non-Indians.
- Only Indian men could seek enfranchisement: 1) had to be over the age of 21 2) Able to read and write in either English or French 3) Free of debt
4) Of good moral character as determined by a commission of non-Aboriginal
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 Indian women were excluded from voting for band chiefs and councils
 prohibited the sale of alcohol
 Instituted compulsory enfranchisement by stating Indian women who married non-Aboriginal men automatically lost their Indian status, and any children resulting from the marriage would also be denied Indian status.

As with all of the Acts discussed so far, these points were subject to confirmation by the government. This is another example of attempts to eradicate Indian people and their culture and to assimilate into a “civilized” world. It was the goal of the government that this Act would speed up assimilation by eliminating tribal systems. These Acts were designed to break down tribal forms of government on the grounds they were irresponsible.

The purpose of the Indian Act, 1876 was to consolidate earlier Acts into one piece of legislation that provided a national framework. This was to assist in the assimilation and civilization of Indians across Canada. The Act provided government with the power to impose an elected band council system and establish rules respecting the operation of
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