The Government Of Canada On Indian Policy

1642 Words7 Pages
With the proposal of the ‘Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy’ (hereafter referred to as the White Paper) in 1969 by Jean Chretien, existing tensions over the role and future of First Nations within Canadian society would finally come to a head. Prior to the introduction of this policy, government bureaucrats and missionary organizations had finally begun to realize that directed change and economic development were not taking place amongst First Nations communities as they had wanted, and decided in the favor of a change. This change in policy brought about the White Paper, which was a cleverly veiled assimilationist proposal of the Canadian government to the First Nations peoples of their country. This shift in policy…show more content…
Services were also addressed extensively by the White Paper, and rather than being provided by the federal government, the provincial government would now be the sphere where social remedies were structured and applied for First Nations groups. The provincial and municipal governments would also increasingly be responsible to provide ‘enriched services’ which would close the economic gap between Euro-Canadian and First Nations societies. In regards to the numbered treaties, it was claimed lawful obligations must be recognized, and the disparity between relevant and irrelevant provisions would inform a re-negotiation of the treaties with the ultimate goal of having the treaties phased out until they can equitably be ended. Finally, the White Paper argued that the control of Indian lands should be transferred to the Indian people, and it was proposed that reserve lands would no longer be held in trust by the Canadian government, but rather would held in full ownership by its own inhabitants as they saw fit to divide. Despite its positive language and (seemingly) good intent to help First Nations peoples, the White Paper possessed a clear disparity between what was stated and what was actually intended by the government. Essentially the Canadian government claimed to be attempting to provide equality, but this attempt really only served to disguise the underlying attempt at the assimilation of the First Nations population into Euro-Canadian society. This
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