General News · 27th June 2021
148 years, 6 generations, your grand child, your child, you, your parents, your grand parents, their parents.
For 148 years the indigenous population of Canada has lived under the rules of the Indian Act, a loathsome piece of apartheid legislation that has governed our relationship with the indigenous populations for 148 years.
The Indian act enshrines us as superior to the Indigenous population because we, the non-indigenous population, give ourselves the right to administer their self agency.
For the purpose of control and exploitation.
It is impossible for us, who are immigrants or children of immigrants or grand children of immigrants or great grand children of immigrants, to effect and experience a true reconciliation with the Indigenous population, as long as the Indian act is in effect.
The Indigenous person in front of us, is not our Canadian equal, because to be recognized as a Status Indian in Canada, that individual had to become a controlled person, bound by the Indian Act and the personal number that identifies them to the act.
That number and the control it exerts on their life is what separates that Indigenous person from the rest of us, the Canadians who have complete self agency within the bounds of Canadian laws.
How can we attempt to reconcile with that Indigenous person in front of us, when our own laws, say that this individual is an Indian, and thus needs to be guided like an uneducable primitive, whose every major decision has to be approved by a bureaucracy created for the sole purpose of separating that individual from the rest of us Canadian?
So that the Indian can be easily controlled and exploited.
How can we address racism, when we keep the Indian act which has entrenched racism in our institutions, our culture our perception of each other and of ourselves?
The Indian Act is a particularly pernicious piece of legislation because it has entrenched itself in the mindset of both Native and immigrant populations.
We have the notion that the Indian Act is essential for the maintenance of indigeneity in Canada and to allow Indians a modicum of self governance, however shallow, within Canada.
The mindset created by the Indian Act has prevented us from creating a legislative and cultural vehicle that guarantees indigeneity and a path to treaty and yet frees the indigenous population from the yoke of the Indian Act while safeguarding the services currently provided to them.
The slow, tainted, ill willed, politically corrupted treaty processes, that results in the recognition by Canada of an indigenous Nation, is the only way for indigenous individuals to achieve complete self agency, like every other Canadian, while still being recognized as indigenous.
The quest to achieve complete self agency as members of 2 nations, within the bounds of Canadian laws and within the bounds of the laws of their Nation is a multi generational endeavour for first Nations.
Our neighbours at Klahoose are on the difficult road, to wrestle from Canada, the eventual treaty that will give them complete self agency, meanwhile they live under the belittling yoke of the Indian Act.
A yoke that we still impose onto them.
Like it or not, Canada meets the definition of an apartheid state, where a portion of the population collectively lives by a different set of rules from the rest of the population, because of their ancestry.
Canadian are consistently spared the details of our continuing role as legal oppressors, we the peace keepers, because the Indian Act entrenches racism and we think too highly of ourselves to think that we can possibly support an apartheid system, because, after all there are no restaurants that say “immigrants only”.
When the ill informed spout on about the benefits Indians get on reserves, because of the Indian Act, I know, without the shade of a doubt, that those individuals and their ancestors would have never agreed to pay the price the indigenous population paid and is still paying for the meagre benefits that are occasionally available to them.
The graves of all these children are finally leading to some collective self examination, how complicit are we?
I cringe in shame when I think of the Indian Act and the bureaucracy that manages it.
*You will not find the term Indigenous in the Indian act, only Indian.
Inuit are not under the Indian Act, I surmise that they did not have enough exploitable resources and had been too effectively socially hurt to be of concern to the authority of Canada, so they probably did not warrant the cost of administration.
Métis are not under the Indian Act; for our Canada they did not even exist till 1982.