Understanding Indian Affairs

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In Menno Boldt's article "Federal Government Policy and he National Interest", he states that, "Indian policy provides too limited a framework for understanding the conduct of Indians fairs in Canada, and that the conduct of Indian affairs can be understood only as part of a boarder policy making process which impacts on Indians is identified here as the actualization of the "national interest", as a policy paradigm for understanding the conduct of Indian affairs in Canada". So, what goals does the Canadian government harbour for Indian peoples in its recent spree of policy initiatives? The Canadian "national interest" is an artificial construct, and is not a well defined, precise notion. It denotes no more than the interests of the powerful by the federal government. Boldt describes Indian cultures as a set of premises about the purpose, value, and meaning of life. For Indians, these premises are derived from unwritten covenants the Creator communicated to their ancestors. The covenants comprehend a number of fundamental philosophies and principles that gave coherence and unity to Indian values, beliefs, social systems, customs and traditions. These fundamental philosophies and principles emphasized an organic, holistic concept of the world. Spiritual and harmonious relationships to the land and all life forms; communalism; personal duties and responsibilities to the band/tribe; social and economic justice, equality and sharing; universal and consensual participation in decision making: personal autonomy; human dignity; and so on. The governance of aboriginal peoples was suited to their hunting-gathering way of life with its band or tribal form of social organization. With some marginal exceptions, contemporary aboriginal people in Canada are now integrated into our industrial society. They are literate and educated, own property work for wages and salaries, supply their needs through transactions in the market rather than self-provision,...
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