The Indian Act Of 1869

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In the words of Amerindian spokesman Harold Cardinal, the Indian Act has 'subjugated to colonial rule the very people whose rights it was supposed to protect ' (Dickason and Newbigging 293). Until the 16th century, Aboriginal people were the only inhabitants of Canada, they were an independent and self-governing people till the European invasion (Elias 1). The European Invasion brought about The 1876 Indian Act, which was developed over time through separate pieces of colonial legislation regarding Aboriginal peoples across Canada such as the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857 and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act of 1869. In 1876, these acts were consolidated as the Indian Act (Hanson). The introduction of the Indian Act and its implementations was an active effort to destroy the Indian culture; through residential schools and an unequal recognition of women. More so, successive acts functioned to preserve the essential features of the 1876 legislation by implementations of bans on cultural practices such as the potlatch. The increasing awareness of the Indians by Canadians was key to the 1951 amendment to the Indian Act which focused on changing the more oppressive sections of the act. However the inadequacies of the amended Indian Act led to the Hawthorne report which advocates for citizens plus status for Indigenous people. The Indian Act was the principal statute through which the federal government administered and controlled Indian status, local First Nations
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