Social Inequality with Canadian Aboriginals
Dr. Kelly Train
Different ethnic backgrounds immigrate to Canada making it a very multicultural society. Immigrants coming to Canada have made it progress to a more multicultural society, making other nations believe that this is the case, however this does not include native societies that have been living in Canada for the longest period of time. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how Aboriginals live in Canada. This paper argues that aboriginals in Canada are not treated with the same equality as non-aboriginals livening in Canada, even though Canada is known as a multicultural society. By studying the history of Aboriginal settlement in Canada and understanding their connection to the land there is a better understanding of why taking over their land is a social issue. By taking over their land their sense of connection to nature was taken away which was a big part of the Aboriginal culture. This caused educational inequality and also the inequality they face within their workplace and the wages they receive. By studying history, their culture, education and their current economic state it becomes more clear why this is a social issue in Canada and how that takes away from the multiculturalism Canada is known for. Aboriginals, which include first nations people, were the first people of Canada however, the treatment they receive today shows otherwise. Aboriginal treaties, Westphalia Treaty of 1648, that were established in Canada in the mid-seventeenth century were used to “harmonize discovery and conquest principles” (Frideres, 2000). The land that Aboriginals occupied was more than just land to them, they felt a connection with Mother Nature and they established roles in their families that helped them create a working community. Without even trying to understand how Aboriginals felt about their treaties and their land the British Common Law abolished Aboriginal land and tenure (Frideres, 2000). The British came into Canada stronger, with weapons and technology that the Aboriginals did not know about or ever see and when they took over their land they had nothing they could do or say about it. The Aboriginal had no choice but to cooperate and let the land that they felt strong connections to be taken over. Losing a sense of connection to the land and having to watch one of the most important parts of their community being taken over cause further problems for the Aboriginal people. Due to the problems faced with settlement of British into Canada, Aboriginals have not had the same independence they had when they were living in Canada alone, they don’t receive the same equality or freedom. According to symbolic internationalists the identity of a person cannot be determined without understanding the historical context of what the individual is born into. “Socialization theory” argues that individuals are born into groups and learn their culture and what they learn goes on to the next generations (Frideres, 2008). If a person born into Aboriginal social groups, their understanding of who they are comes from the group they are born into. Their parents teach them about the land and help them develop the same connection to nature that they feel. Aboriginal identity emerges from Aboriginal groups that are shaped by their sense of location (Frideres, 2008). Aboriginals have a strong connection to their land and nature around them and that is what they teach the next generation as stated before. Aboriginal people are the original occupants of the territory known as Canada and as such possess a special relationship to this space (Mills, 2006), and even though this is the case it does not mean that Aboriginals need to own all of Canada and all the land should be considered there. However, the land that they did occupy and did have should be left as is because their connection to the land is important to them. But that is not the...
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