Throughout history, Aboriginal people of Canada have always been ill-treated since the European colonists landed in their land. Cultural superiority and racial attitudes resulted to suppression of culture and values that they used to uphold. Aboriginal Canadians no longer have the identity because they were displaced through provision of some Indian Acts. It has led to erosion of their social, economic as well as political systems. Though Canada is praised by outside as the first country to adopt multicultural policies, racism continues to remain a critical issue leading to perpetuation of injustice.
As a result of racial policies most aboriginals continue to suffer with low standards of living, high mortality rates, short life expectancy, high employment, fewer number of school graduates among other forms of inequalities as compared with the non-Aboriginals. Inequality came because of European colonialism that led to unfairness in development and institutional racism. Colonists came with the idea that they want to improve the lives of native people by designing programs aimed at civilizing them for instance teaching them Christianity and farming. At the end of that deception was exchange of the natives land with the so-called benefits of Europeans and their religion (Fisher, 2002 p. 62).
King George III around 1763 gave a proclamation that the land that Indians owned then and that any unceded land was going to be their hunting grounds. This proclamation meant that Indian lands would only be transferred to the Crown if they were going to relinquish the titles. The proclamation further stated that the titles of the native were going to be termed as community titles meaning that the Aboriginal’s private lands had become community land.
Another form of discrimination is the Indian Act that was passed in 1867. The Act gave Indians a lot of authority and treated the natives as state wards. The Indians had power to control the lives of First Nation’s citizens for instance; the natives would not sell their crops without their permission. The natives were also not allowed to gamble or drink alcohol. Another system called the pass system was also introduced that bared the natives from leaving the reserves without permission from the farming instructor. The natives could not fight this system because none of them could be allowed to be a lawyer. The Indians later abused the reserves that were under protection by allowing mining, forestry, settlement, and farming of non-natives. When the natives tried to object the Act, they amended the Act so that it will be offence for a native to retain a lawyer with an aim to advance a claim (Fisher, 2002 p. 126).
Introduction of residential schools was additional injustice that still hurts and affects the First Nation’s Citizens. They introduced this system to promote the goal of civilizing and Christianizing the natives. In this educational plan, children were taken far from their parents. The Indian Act left the responsibility of funding the schools to the Federal government. The government provided very low funding to the schools and in most times they were running on their own. The underfunding led student workers whereby students were being overworked, spending much of their time performing farm work, and laundry services.
Today, Indian Act remains a tool for that is being used to segment parts of the society on racial basis. The Indian’s rights are not dealt with in the same way as other people’s rights. Even though there is a new constitution, there is a great a challenge of ensuring equality in terms of resource allocation, development, sharing of employment opportunities, and embracing diversity.
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Fisher, Amy, and Deborah Lee. Native Residential Schools in Canada, a Selective Bibliography. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 2002. Print.