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Imposing Liberalism on Aboriginals
Transcript of Imposing Liberalism on Aboriginals
What vision did this have of the European and Aboriginal relationship?
What does this suggest about their particular worldviews? Aboriginal Responses to European Expansion As we know, contact between First Nations in Canada and European settlers presented conflicting worldviews and ideologies. Most European settlers brought with them liberal values and beliefs, while many First Nations believed in collectivist ideas
Subsequently, values of liberalism would be imposed on Aboriginals in an attempt to assimilate them into “mainstream” Canadian society Government of Canada
Treaties are agreements made by interested parties, upheld by a written document
Land is a resource that can be owned by individuals for their own use
Treaties were established to clear way for European settlement First Nations
Treaties are agreements made between sovereign nations, upheld by oral tradition
Relationship with land is collective, spiritual. Land provided by Creator, and people exist in harmony with the land
Treaties were established to share the land with newcomers Different Views on Treaties Resistance by Aboriginals to liberal values was not accepted by the Canadian government. This led to policies of assimilation, a plan to impose adherence to liberal goals on Aboriginals
Under these policies Aboriginals were supposed to give up their distinct cultures and traditions, such as the potlatch What liberal views did the encroaching Europeans wish to bring to the Aboriginal groups in Canada?
What did they see as being wrong with Aboriginal societies?
How did the idea of continual progress shape this viewpoint?
Complete the handout chart European Liberal Views This act was used by government to control the behaviour of First Nations peoples and remove their traditions and customs. They were encouraged to leave their Indian status to become “full” citizens of Canada. They were seen as “children” who needed to be taken care of
The Indian Act took away their collective rights through its policies of assimilation into the more individualistic liberal society The Indian Act of 1876 Since 1876, the Indian Act has been amended several times, but has never been abolished. Some examples:
1884 – prohibited religious ceremonies (potlatch, etc.)
1951 – loss of Indian status for women who married non-status men
1969 – The White Paper proposed by gov’t – sought to abolish all evidence of relations between Canada and First Nations. Purpose was to enable Aboriginals to become “free” members of Canada’s liberal democracy, where the rights of the individual are more important than the collective
1969 – Aboriginals respond by publishing the Red Paper, which objected to what they saw as the government’s attempt to impose liberalism on them
1985 – Women could keep or regain their status even after marrying a non-status man and children of such a marriage were granted status
2002 – introduction of the First Nations Governance Act; resisted by First Nations leaders who see it as an attempt to impose Western liberal ideology and may restrict their ability to self govern With a partner, read Voice on page 225 and 226
Working together, answer the question #2 The Potlatch The Indian Act affected female identity because women were removed from their traditional positions of power and importance. Gender inequality was partially removed with the ruling in 1985 that reinstated their status rights Female Identity and the Indian Act One example of an attempt by the gov’t to assimilate the Inuit is revealed in the ongoing investigation into the killing of thousands of Inuit sled dogs (Qimmitt) between 1950 and 1970. The Inuit say the RCMP slaughtered the dogs on orders from the Canadian gov’t
An RCMP review report in 2006 stated that indeed they killed many of the animals for public safety reasons, to contain canine epidemics, and on behalf of requests from the dogs’ owners Impact on Metis The Metis were offered scrip, legal documents either in the form of land or money, to compensate them for their loss of original territory
From the Metis perspective, scrip represented the imposition of liberal policies which treated them as individuals instead of as distinct collective groups of people Findings were published in 1996 – stated that Aboriginals in Canada must have the right to decide for themselves what they need
Since 1996, many people have been critical of what they see as a lack of government action to address some of the recommendation’s concerns
One positive result of the Commission’s recommendations was the creation of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Its mission is to encourage and support Aboriginals in their recovery from physical and sexual abuse that many suffered in the residential school system. To accomplish this, more than $400 million was awarded to various programs across Canada. The Assembly of First Nations has called the program a success The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Working with a partner or small group, discuss the following:
What impact has the imposition of liberalism had upon Aboriginal groups in Canada?
Were there any overlapping areas where liberal principles were in agreement with Aboriginal views?
Write a paragraph (as a group) answering the following question:
If a liberal democracy is a form of government in which the rights and freedoms of the individual are guaranteed, then how does imposing liberalism contradict that ideal? Drawing a conclusion…