Canada's Policy of First Nations

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1969 White Paper:
The Citizens Plus Challenge

Indg 201
Professor Michelle Segu
November 29, 2011
Canada is a nation built upon legislation that not only believed there would be no future in society for its First Nation peoples, but specifically created colonial policies that would ensure that this future become reality through the process of assimilation. These policies were created without First Nation input in an in effort to destroy First Nation culture and were used to undermine First Nation treaty rights especially with regard to land distributions by way of the Indian Act. Following the second world war, however, a new outlook of human rights grew in society that highlighted discriminatory policies against First Nation peoples. After government sanctioned study called the Hawthorn report was released raising concerns about the overall health and welfare of First Nation people, the newly elected Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau issued his response to First Nations problems in his controversial 1969 White paper . Unfortunately, 1969 White paper proved to be not only a politically motivated policy objective benefiting the Federal government in the future, by relinquishing its responsibilities following treaties, and inevitably avoiding future law suits, but was yet another attempt to do away with the First Nation culture through assimilation into the dominant society.

The signing of the treaties and the misconceptions by both parties entering into them, the First Nations bands and the Canadian government, has served as a platform for future politics problems still going on today. First Nation people understood treaties to mean allowing "settlement by non-native people....[but] at the same time, native people would retain large tracts of land on which they would govern themselves...[and where their] language and culture would flourish" (Bird, Land and Macadam 5). The Canadian government, on the other hand, seen it by way of the Royal Proclamation...
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