Experience of the Attawapiskat Cree to Ojibwa in Relation to the Canadian Government

Pages: 5 (1782 words) Published: March 27, 2010
The Attawaspiskat Cree and Ojibwa are a first nations group living in parts of Canada, mainly northern Ontario. The main languages spoken by these first nation groups are Mushkegowuk Cree and Ojibway. I will compare and contrast the experience of the Attawapiskat Cree to Ojibwa in relation to the Canadian Government. This will include analyzing the treaties introduced by the government towards the Cree and the Ojibwa: in particular, treaty 9 will be discussed. In addition, to these treaties the government has divided the first nation community into two different groups: status-Indians and non-status Indians. Within these two groups further division has been accomplished by the allocation of lands know as reserves to status-Indians and independent ownership for non-status Indians. This allocation of lands in reserves for status-Indians and independent ownership for non-status Indian is based on the policies developed through dependent and independent tenure. The laws permitting only status-Indians to live in reserves have fragmented the community and changes in culture and traditions have been rapid since the arrival of the government. The arrival of the Canadian government in the early nineteen-hundreds was the last major encapsulating factor the Cree and the Ojibwa were to face after the Hudson Bay Company and the church. The methods adopted by the government were aimed at changing the social, economic, political and religious practices held within these societies. One of the first efforts undertaken by the Canadian government was to legalize any action it would take in the regions occupied by the Cree and the Ojibwa. Therefore, in 1905 and 1906 treaty 9 was signed with the people of Cree and the people of Ojibwa. With the introduction of treaty 9, logging, hydroelectric development, minerals, construction of road and railways started. This treaty also introduced new land policies, which allowed non-Indians to exploit the resources used before only by the Indians. Commissioner Scott who represented the government promised the Indians that treaty 9 would not affect the way of living for the Indian people, rather the government would help in times of need: “There will not be any legislation governing trapping, hunting animals and hunting birds and fishing, if you are in favour of the treaty. If something happens to you as to sickness or need of help the government will help you, all the people from Albany, Attawapiskat, Winisk, Fort Severn, will have this help” (Cummins 2004, 36). However, during the famine of 1909, 1928, 1930-31, 1934-36 and 1946-48 in Attawaspiskat, assistance from the government was little or non-existent. Therefore, the main reason for the treaty was to extinguish aboriginal rights and to take away the land owned by the Indians. Following treaty 9 many different treaties were introduced by the government which further deteriorated the economical conditions present within the Indian community. These treaties had assured for the Cree and the Ojibwa, that provision would be made for the supply of seed, cattle and agricultural implements as these nations had exhibited an interest in starting farming for economic interest. Additionally, some other treaties had guaranteed distribution of fishing nets, net twins, guns and ammunition so as it can enable the Indians to hunt for subsistence activities, with participation with the new economy. However, the government provided insufficient amenities which were unable to economically improve the position of the Cree and Ojibwa. In addition, federal legislation - especially the Indian Act – teamed with federal and provincial policy and actions, rendered it arduous for Aboriginal people to undertake other economic interest. (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ch/rcap/sg/sh45_e.html). It is essential to define the terms land tenure and land use in order to understand how these systems are used as an encapsulating factor for the Ojibwa and the Attawapiskat Cree....

Bibliography: Cummins, Brian D. 2004. Only God Can Own the Land. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada Inc.
Driben, Paul. 1986. Aroland Is Our Home - An incomplete victory in Applied Anthropology. New York: AMS Press.
Martin, Calvin. 1978. Keepers of the Game. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.
Schmalz, Peter S. 1991. The Ojibwa. Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press.
Krech, Shepard. 1981. Indians, Animals, and the Fur trade. Athens: The University of Georgia Press. .
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