Part 1: Dark Chapter
Chapter 5: And Its Days Are Numbered
Chapter 5 is the final piece of Part 1, in this fantastic two-part book. I think this is a good Chapter to read for those who still believe that injustices facing Indigenous peoples is ancient history. The following sections shed light on the very recent discriminatory actions made by the Canadian government against Indigenous peoples. This more recent history helps put today’s Indigenous-settler relations into perspective.
It is the opinion of the writer that… the Government will in time reach the end of it’s responsibility as the Indians progress into civilization and finally disappear as a separate and distinct people, not by race extinction but by gradual assimilation with their fellow citizens.
DUNCAN CAMPBELL SCOTT, Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, 1931
XIX Forbade Indian students from practicing their traditional religion
As a result, many Indigenous youth returned home from residential schools feeling alienated from both settlers and their own families.
XX Denied Indians the right to vote
Many opinions concerning why First Nations peoples shouldn’t be allowed to vote were made clear in the House of Commons (ie. under government rule therefore not appropriate). These beliefs persisted until 1960 when the right to vote was extended to all Indigenous peoples.
XXI Is a piece of legislation created under colonial rule for the purpose of subjugating a group of people
Here is a link to Stephen Harper’s statement of appology on behalf of Canadians regarding residential schools. Clearly, a long awaited apology, but are words just words? Read more here to decide for yourself.
XXII The White Paper
The idea was to assimilate all Indigenous peoples into dominant society. The Statement faced extreme opposition from Indigneous peoples and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was eventually forced to withdraw. You can read more here.