1950s-1960s Aboriginal Issues • Terms: • Indian Act, 1951 • Inukjuak, QC • James Gladstone • Enfranchisement • Residential Schools • Ministry of Children and Family Development • 60’s Scoop • Pierre Trudeau • Jean Chretien • White Paper, 1969 • Red Paper • “Unjust Society” Inukjuak, QC Inukjuak, 1920 • 1950, 1 year before relocation Inukjuak, QC • Relocation of aboriginal peoples is an ongoing issue. • Due to the food shortages in the area, families from the Port Harrison/Inukjuak region were offered relocation to the high arctic region of Resolute Bay • The government, concerned with the Soviet Union’s interest in the Arctic, wished to ‘stake a claim’ by claiming to have residents of Canada living in this remote region. Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord • Residents remember being left at the start of the “Long Days of night”: 4 months without sun • Left without supplies, forced to hunt in unfamiliar territories • Government promised to relocate those who wished to return. • Never did… • 1989, government created a program to relocate descendants who wished to return • 1996 in response to lawsuits from early 80s, offered cash compensation to survivors, but did not apologize Aboriginal Peoples Challenge the System • Heartened by their participation in WWII, Aboriginal People began to challenge the restrictions of the Indian Act and the assimilative aims of the residential schools. • Aboriginal people were pushing for a recognition of their unique group rights within Canada. • This approach was at odds with the individual rights orientation that was becoming dominant in Canada at the time. • The Indian Act continued to have discriminatory provisions: • - land claims cases could not be launched without the permission of the superintendent of Indian Affairs • - Aboriginal people could not vote without giving up their Indian status • Those who gave up their status could not function well in either the reserve community or mainstream society. James Gladstone • Gladstone (Cree/Scots) came from NWT but was active in Alberta. • He was a successful farmer before becoming an effective leader of the Indian Association of Alberta. • The IAA lobbied provincial and federal governments as well as tried to raise public support for Aboriginal issues. • Gladstone participated in the changes made to reduce the restrictions in the Indian Act in the 1940s/1950s. Indian Act, 1951 • Despite this work, the 1951 Indian Act was still unjust: • • • • Aboriginal people were not allowed to drink alcohol BUT allowed to now to pubs or pool halls for gabling They could not subdivide their reserve lands They could not vote in federal elections. • • • • However, Now could appear off reserve in ceremonial garb without Indian agent permission Potlatch ban lifted, cultural practices no longer banned Could hire Lawyers to pursue claims • Gladstone was appointed by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1958 and became Canada’s first Senator of Aboriginal descent. • Gladstone was a reformer who emphasized individual efforts over collective efforts. • He participated in the fight for better rights regarding education, band administration, and honouring the treaties as well as the eventual victory of receiving the federal vote in 1960. Enfranchisement • After WWII, Aboriginal peoples formed many regional, provincial and traditional bodies and they succeeded in having many of the worst parts of the Indian act reformed. • For example, during the 1950s bands gained the right to administer their own funds. • By 1960, status Indians were allowed to vote in federal elections. • The National Indian Brotherhood was formed in 1968 to advocate for status Indians (now the Assembly of First Nations). • The Native Council of Canada was formed to advocate for non-status Indians and the Metis (now the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples). Residential Schools • 3 Goals: • 1) Abolition of aboriginal culture • 2) Instilling “British values” into aboriginal people through education • 3) Extinguishment of Title through cultural extinction and status loss Residential Schools • Residential Schools were often operated by Churches on behalf of the government • Suffered from critically low funding, resulting in a need for student labour to operate the school • Students in many schools cleaned laundry, grew crops to feed the students, conducted repairs. 1940’s “Skippers” in Port Alberni “Education” • Due to funding and curriculum choices, students were prepared for wage labour roles • Boys for manual labour (Farm hand, cleaners, construction basic labour) • Girls for domestic work (Cleaning, cooking, sewing) • In 1930, 3/100 students passed beyond a grade 6 reading level • Many students left unable to function in either off reserve or on reserve Cultural Extermination • Residential schools were in many cases boarding school style • Students lived at school for the year, returned during summer • Boys hair sheered short • Children often punished for speaking native languages • Corporal punishments included belts, paddles, other instruments • Reports of needles through tongues for speaking native languages • Home made ‘electric chairs’ in northern Ontario • Emotional, psychological and sexual abuse common among all ages and genders • Often told their parents don’t really love them, inferior and dumb for their ‘backwards beliefs’ Challenging Residential Schools • During the post–war period Aboriginal peoples also focused on resolving the issue of residential schools. • The quality of education was poor, diseases and infections resulted form overcrowding, physical and sexual abuse were commonplace, and the destruction of traditional languages, culture and spirituality were seen as objectionable. • In 1951, attendance was no longer compulsory under the Indian Act. • In 1968, the federal government ended partnership with religious organizations in running the schools. • By the 1990’s the last of the residential schools had been closed. Chain of Culture, Inverted • Psychological effects from attending residential school had profound impacts on aboriginal communities • Breaking of chain of memory: culture was denigrated to the point that children were reluctant or outright hostile to aboriginal culture • Disconnected from parents, children in many cases repeated abuse done unto them by residential school workers, understanding this ‘discipline’ as normal • Poor education meant that residential school attendees were unable to gain meaningful employment, perpetuating poverty. • Alcoholism and substance abuse are common factors Remove Children from their family, culture and support • Send the children home to parents who were taught the same unhealthy behavior Shame, punish and abuse helpless children Disrupt cultural, spiritual, coping and healing practices 60’s Scoop • Coined by Patrick Johnson as part of his report “Native Children and the Child Wellfare system” • As a result of trauma from Residential schools, as well as general poverty on reserves, lack of education, governments saw aboriginal peoples as “childlike creatures in constant need of the paternal care of the government. With guidance, they would gradually abandon their superstitious beliefs and barbaric behaviour and adopt civilization” • Refers to the abnormal number of children seized by government ministries • Most cases this involves no consent on the part of parents, and children were adopted out. • Currently in BC, children in the care of the Ministry of Children and Families maintains a Foster Care system; children are cared for by other families, but parents always have the right to petition for the return of children based on ability to care • At this time, adoption meant permanent fostering. Parents lose rights to children forever. “Duty of Care” • In the 1960s, the child welfare system did not require, nor did it expect, social workers to have specific training in dealing with children in Aboriginal communities. • For example, when social workers entered the homes of families subsisting on a traditional Aboriginal diet of dried game, fish, and berries, and didn’t see fridges or cupboards stocked in typical Euro-Canadian fashion, they assumed that the adults in the home were not providing for their children. • Additionally, substance abuse arising from parents trauma through residential school only added to the case that parents were unfit to care. • In some cases, this resulted in “scooping” all new born children from reserves (Johnson, 2005) • 1959: 3% of children in care were aboriginal • 1969: 30-40% Issue of Adoption • Aboriginal children were encouraged to adopt the behavior of their Anglo-Canadian parents • With racial issues, certain things cannot be changed; created psychological trauma being ‘caught between 2 worlds’ • Under article 2(e) of the U.N. Convention on Genocide (1948), “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” constitutes genocide when the intent is to destroy a culture http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/More+Shows/8th +Fire++CBC+Series/Doc+Zone+video/ID/2189462783/?p age=3 Then Current and future PMs 1960- Age of Rights • Faced with inequality, governments wished to address the issues facing aboriginal peoples • Pierre Trudeau: PM 1968-1984 (18 Years) • Proponent of Canada as a “Multicultural Society” • Abolished the death penalty • Amended the criminal code decriminalizing homosexual behavior • “The State has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” • Government implemented universal health care • First western leader to visit China and Cuba (During the cold war!) • PM during the Quebec Crisis: • Declared Martial Law to round up the FLQ after politicians were kidnapped and killed The White Paper (1969) • A White paper is a government policy paper issued after research into a particular matter • States an official government policy. • Inspired by his vision of a “just society” where all Canadians would be equal, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau introduced the White Paper on Indian Policy in 1969. • Proposed: • Abolition of the Indian Act • Dismantle the Department of Indian Affairs • Removal of all Status for Aboriginal Peoples • Equal rights and privileges to all Canadians • No further treaties will be signed. All existing lands will be transferred to aboriginal control. • Individual issues will be dealt with at a provincial level • Argument: aboriginal peoples will be better off once they assimilate completely. Being “Native-Canadian” rather like a ‘Scottish-Canadian’. • Aboriginal peoples responded to the White Paper with outrage. • Harold Cardinal, the young leader of the National Indian Brotherhood, described it as assimilation by another name. • Cardinal helped in presenting the Aboriginal response called the Red Paper and also wrote the influential book ‘The Unjust Society” • The White Paper galvanized Aboriginal people across Canada and as a result of their protests, the White Paper was withdrawn in 1970. The “Red Paper” • Written in response • The legislature and constitutional basis of Indian status and rights should be maintained until Aboriginals are prepared and willing to renegotiate them. • The only way to maintain Indian culture is remain as Indians. • Aboriginals already have access to the same services as other Canadians, plus additional rights and privileges that were established by the British North America Act, various treaties and governmental legislation. • Only Aboriginals and Aboriginal organizations should be given the resources and responsibility to determine their own priorities and future development lines. The federal government has a distorted view of treaty rights and is not to be trusted on this issue. Developments in the North in the 1970s • In the 1970s, with the development of more effective political organizations, Aboriginal peoples began to make their voices heard. • The Cree and Inuit of northern Quebec succeeded in delaying a massive Hydro development project. • The resulting James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement granted $232.5 million over 20 years, special economic assistance, ownership of 5500 square km of land, hunting and fishing rights over 129,500 sq km of land, and a veto over mineral resource development. • While the James Bay Agreement was viewed as a victory, there have subsequently been negative impacts on the environment and the lives of Aboriginal people. Red Power in Canada • Many Aboriginal people were inspired by the militancy and activism of the Black Power and Red Power movements in the USA during the late 1960s. • Anna Mae Aquash, for example, was a Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia who moved to the US to participate in the activities of the American Indian Movement (AIM). • In 1974, 30 members of the Ojibway Warriors and AIM occupied Anicinabe Park in Kenora, ON to protest against ongoing issues of poverty, land claims and the mercury poisoning of fish. • 1974 also saw the Native Peoples’ Caravan head to Ottawa to demand more rights for Aboriginal peoples. • Caravan members were met and assaulted by the RCMP’s brand new riot squad. It was indicative of a new era of confrontation.