Monday, January 09, 2006

Looking Back On Yesterday.......Part 1

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My friends, for many years we have been in this country; we never go to the Great Father's country and bother him about anything. It is his people who come to our country and bother us, do many bad things and teach our people to be bad….Before you people ever crossed the ocean to come to this country, and from that time to this, you have never proposed to buy a country that was equal to this in riches. My friends, this country that you have come to is the best country that we have….this country is mine, and I was raised in it; my forefathers lived and died in it; and I wish to remain in it.

(Tashunka Witco, Tashunca-Uitco, "his horse is crazy" or "Crazy Horse")

This will be a three part series which will examine past and present legislation and key events in Native history and future direction.


1. In 1858 the Civilization of Indian Tribes Act was passed in Canada which gave native people who were educationally advanced and capable of looking after their own affairs the right to become Canadian Citizens. By giving up all native rights and being paid to no longer be an Indian they had the pleasure of actually becoming a citizen. This process was called "Enfranchisement".

2. Slavery of Native people existed in the U.S. until it was outlawed in 1864.

3. In 1876 the First Indian Act was established consolodating all native legislation into one act designed as the Supreme Law over Indians in Canada.

4. All Indian ceremonies were banned in Canada and the U.S.

5. It was illegal for Indians to enter a bar or consume alcohol.

6. Indians in Canada had to use seperate entrances at all public buildings.

7. Indians in Canada did not get the right to vote until 1960 and became Canadian citizens without renouncing their rights under the Indian Citizenship Act. Indians in the U.S. were given the right to vote in 1924.

8. It was illegal for Indians to raise money for a legal defense, obtain a lawyer or attend universtiy.

9. In 1966 the first Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada was formed.

10. Indian women were declared legally no longer Indians if they married a non-indian.

11. In 1969 the "White Paper" was introduced by former Prime Minister Jean Chretian, which would end all Federal Government responsibility over Indians and terminated special native status....a policy of total assimilation into Canadian society. This bill was defeated by a severe backlash of Indian people from accross Canada.

12. Native rights were finally recognized in the Canadian Constitution for the first time in 1982.

13. In June 1990 an ammendment to the Constitution known as the "Meech Lake Accord", which was to give French people in Quebec status as a distict society and ignored native distinct society status as well as Native rights to self-government, was defeated by a Native member of the Manitoba Legislature named Elijah Harper.


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