Indian act

The Indian Act Timeline

  • The Creation of the Indian Department

    The Creation of the Indian Department
    As tensions rose between British and French-Indigenous alliances due to the Seven Years' War, Britain created the Indian Department as a way to assimilate the Indigenous Peoples and solidify their relations. The department was originally under the military branch of the British government.
  • The Royal Proclamation

    The Royal Proclamation
    Issued by King George III, The Royal Proclamation established British ownership of North America following French loss in the Seven Years' War. Vast tracts of French land were ceded to the British. Moreover, the treaty explained the treaty making process and how the Crown would associate with First Nations. It was also considered the "Bill of Rights" for the Indigenous Peoples., and Notes
  • The Treaty of Niagara

    The Treaty of Niagara
    The Treaty of Niagara established British alliances with First Nations among the Niagara area. The treaty included a return of prisoners and an accepted British presence in the Great Lakes region. Moreover, the treaty was also recorded in wampum belts. The 'Covenant Chain Wampum' represented promised sharing of the land and its resources. Wampum held much significance as they marked agreements between peoples.
  • The Bagot Commission

    The Bagot Commission
    Conducted by and named after Charles Bagot, the Governor General of BNA at the time, the commission proposed the separation of Indigenous children from their parents as a means to further assimilate the Indigenous population into Euro-Canadian society. The commission also aimed to push enfranchisement and advocate for the residential school system to "convert" the Indigenous peoples.
  • Gradual Civilization Act

    Gradual Civilization Act
    The act was a significant part in the effort to use law and policies to assimilate Indigenous peoples into the idealized Eurocentric society with its customs. It allowed Indigenous men to be considered "civilized" and granted land and the right to vote. However, the requirements were being 21 years or older, spoke English/French, was debt-free, living as a white man for over a year, and of "good moral character"., Notes
  • The Constitution Act

    The Constitution Act
    One of the foundational acts of Canadian history, the Constitution Act, outlined the creation of the Dominion of Canada, its structure of government, and the distribution of power. The act provided union of the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Upper and Lower Canada. However, Indigenous peoples were not consulted regarding the act and it was made that the government was responsible for Indigenous peoples.
  • Gradual Enfranchisement Act

    Gradual Enfranchisement Act
    "Enfranchisement" meant the process by which an Indigenous man would give up all Indigenous rights and status in exchange with land and participation in Canadian society as a white man. People who weren't enfranchised were considered wards of the state, a term used to signify their "reliance" on the government. The act established elective band councils and gender-based restrictions to status., Notes
  • The Indian Act

    The Indian Act
    The Indian Act gave the federal government immense power affecting almost every aspect of Indigenous lives. It governed the matters of Indian status, bands, and reserves. Compared to the Royal Proclamation, the Indian Act had little to no Indigenous involvement in its creation, while the Royal Proclamation was seen as one of the last treaties that involved the Indigenous peoples and kept their interests in mind., Notes
  • Residential Schooling

    Residential Schooling
    Residential schools were implemented as a means to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian society and culture. These schools were run by Christian churches to "educate" and "convert" Indigenous youth. Children suffered neglect and abuse and led to intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities that are still felt to this day. In total, 150,000 children attended these schools over a span of more than a century.
  • Pass System

    Pass System
    Through the Pass System, the government would be able to control Indigenous movement and freedom. To leave their reserve, a pass signed by their Indian agent is needed. They stated when they could leave, where they could go, and when they had to return. In a way, reserves began to resemble prisons. It was impactful because it contained Indigenous mobility and impacted their economic, cultural, and spiritual activities.
  • Amendments to the Indian Act

    Amendments to the Indian Act
    Consulted with Indigenous communities, the amendments included the removal of the most discriminatory political, cultural, and religious restrictions like bans on ceremonial activities. It also gave women the right to vote in band council elections and lessened the marginalization of Indigenous women. However, not all discriminatory actions were removed as a woman's status were still tied to her husband and males were still privileged.
  • Sixties Scoop

    Sixties Scoop
    The Sixties Scoop refers to a time period where mass removal of Indigenous children from their homes into the child welfare system occurred, in most cases without consent. The children were often placed in middle class, Euro-Canadian families, leaving many with a loss of cultural identity. Physical, emotion, and sexual abuse was common. It has been viewed as a "successor" to the residential school system as a form of cultural genocide.
  • The White Paper

    The White Paper
    With the White Paper, Pierre Elliott Trudeau proposed an end to the Indian Act and the legal relationship between Canada and the Indigenous peoples. The intentions were to achieve equality between all Canadians. However, many people were opposed to the White Paper as it terminates Indian status and essentially eliminates Canadian-Indigenous history. Many people view the Indian Act as something that holds Canada accountable.
  • Bill C-31

    Bill C-31
    Bill C-31 aimed to adjust the Indian Act so that its gender equality was in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The main goals were to: address gender discrimination in the Indian Act, restore Indian status to those forcibly enfranchised, and allow bands to control their own membership. The bill was significant because it gave Indigenous women more opportunities after being marginalized for decades.