Recent Event Highlights: The Seven Years War , Aboriginal-European Relations , and 18 more...
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February 2005
In many academic fields in the United States after 1970, multiculturalism has meant that members of historically disadvantaged nonwhite or minority racial and ethnic groups have distinctive knowledge and ways of knowing that ought to be incorporated into curricula and recognized in research. This idea has led to area studies programs and departments that concentrate on cultures from specific geographical locations, such as Africana or African American studies, Latino/a studies, Asian American studies, Native American studies, and more generally, American studies and ethnic studies. As well, new texts and different cultural perspectives have been incorporated into traditional fields in the humanities and social sciences.
Multiculturalists have advocated greater diversity and representation in the academic community, by increasing members of historically disadvantaged groups among faculty, staff, and students, and recognizing and addressing their distinctive intellectual and socially relevant interests. Multiculturalism has often been associated with identity politics, or advocacy of the interests of minority groups, by their members, in both national and local politics and representations of ideas and persons in specific institutional contexts. Multiculturalism has been opposed in academia, because it is believed to weaken traditional subject matter by minimizing the established canon and neglecting universal knowledge. This opposition has been largely from conservative white intellectuals, but not exclusively so. For example, sociologist Yehudi Webster has argued that multiculturalism deprives students of the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, and philosopher Jason Hill has argued that in emphasizing the value of racial and ethnic identities, multiculturalism stifles individual creativity and shared cosmopolitanism.
The Right to Vote, 1960
In 1958, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker named James Gladstone, a member of Alberta's Blood tribe, as the first Native Senator. Then, in 1960, he gave non-enfranchised Aboriginals the right to vote in federal elections. Despite these moves, though, the federal government was still opposed to the idea of Aboriginal self-government.
In March 1959, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was sent into Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario, which, until 1924, had been completely self-governed. The police were there to evict Iroquois chiefs and clan mothers after traditionalists on the reserve seized control and, for all intents and purposes, declared the reserve separate from Canada
White and Red Papers, 1969 - 1970
The year following Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's rise to power in 1968, his government issued a White Paper on Aboriginal policy that argued that Canada shouldn't negotiate any further treaties with the Native peoples. Trudeau believed treaties were something only signed between sovereign nations. His government also did not agree with Aboriginal land right claims, either, because they were too broad and unspecific. Aboriginals feared this stance would undermine their special rights and status within Canadian society.
Aboriginals responded with their own document, named Citizens Plus, in 1970. This became more commonly known as the Red Paper. The Red Paper countered all of the proposals of the White Paper. An Aboriginal delegation, backed by other Canadian citizens, met with the government and successfully convinced it to radically change its policies and positions.
The Drybones Case, 1970
In 1969, an Aboriginal man named Joesph Drybones was found drunk in a Yellowknife hotel lobby and was arrested. While the Indian Act now allowed Aboriginals to drink, they could only do so on reserves. At the time, no reserves existed in the Northwest Territories.
Drybones fought his case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, who found that the police had discriminated against him because of his race when they charged him with drunkenness. This ruling effectively caused the no-drinking clause in the Indian Act to fall into disuse.
The Calder Case, 1973
Frank Arthur Calder, a member of the federal Cabinet, sued the British Columbian government over land claims issues outstanding in the province with the Nisga'a tribe. The issue went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that aboriginal rights to the land did exist, particularly under the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and subsequent government implementation of that proclamation.
This ruling forced Pierre Trudeau's government to reconsider its federal Aboriginal policy once again, which opened the door to discussion on the intent and meaning of all Indian treaties.
In late 1923, treaties were signed dealing with outstanding Aboriginal land claims in southern and central Ontario. The treaties covered some 28,000 square kilometers of land. Some areas had been improperly seized through late 1700s-era blank treaties - simply put, treaties where the Aboriginals signed nothing but a blank piece of paper.
Like the Numbered Treaties that preceded the Williams Treaties, the Aboriginals received cash in exchange for formally giving up this land. However, they lost their right to hunt, fish or trap on any of this land. The worst fears of many Aboriginals to the west had finally come true: the government seemed to be clearly saying it was not interested in preserving their way of life.
Residential schools refer to a variety of institutions that include industrial schools, boarding schools and student residences. Although residential schools are usually considered part of the assimilative policies that the Canadian government directed at aboriginal peoples from the 1880s onward, their roots lie deeper. The first residential facilities were developed in NEW FRANCE by Catholic missionaries to provide care and schooling. These early attempts, like a similar institution in colonial New Brunswick, failed abysmally thanks to the autonomy that FIRST NATIONS still enjoyed and the Europeans' economic and military dependence on the aboriginal population. Residential schools became an enduring phenomenon with the creation of Anglican and Methodist institutions in UPPER CANADA (Ontario) from the 1830s onward. These colonial experiments set the pattern for post-Confederation policies.
The Indian Act, is the principal federal statute dealing with INDIAN status, local government and the management of reserve land and communal monies. The present Act was passed in 1951, but its provisions are rooted in colonial ordinances and Royal Proclamations. The earliest Indian legislation was directed at regulating trade with the Indians and non-Indian settlement in native territories. Prior to Confederation, laws to protect native lands were enacted in Upper and Lower Canada and in NS, NB, PEI and BC. The concept of Indian status was originally developed to determine entitlement to live in Indian reserve communities, but this changed after 1985 amendments to the Act which now treat Indian status, band membership and residency as separate issues (see NATIVE PEOPLE, LAW). The policy of the federal government is to undertake changes to the legislation in response to native initiatives.
At a first glance, Treaty Number Six, signed by the Plains and Woods and Plains Cree Aboriginals, is very similar to the five that preceded it. In exchange for yielding their land on the Prairies in current day Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Aboriginals received smaller tracts of reserve land, cash, farm animals and tools (and so on) from the government. As with the other treaties, they had to promise to not drink alcohol and maintain law and order on the reserves.
This time, however, the government faced more resistance. Aboriginals had new concerns: European settlers were moving onto the Prairies at an alarming rate, and, as they moved westward, they displaced Aboriginals from their land. The buffalo had virtually disappeared from this region as well, and other big game animals like deer were not as plentiful. More and more Aboriginals were now facing starvation. On top of this, diseases like smallpox were decimating Aboriginal populations.
Poundmaker, a famous Cree chief, refused to sign the treaty at first since he felt that the government was trying to grab land from his nation unfairly. He is quoted as saying:
"This is our land! It isn't just a piece of pemmican to be cut off and given in little pieces back to us. It is ours and we will take what we want."
By December 1882, however, he had no choice. The buffalo were so scarce his people were starving. As the best hope for survival lay in accepting government money and resources, he allowed his people to be moved onto reserve land.
Treaty Number Six was unique as it was the only treaty of its sort with an implied provision for health care. It allows a medicine chest to be kept in the home of an Indian agent for the use and benefit of the Aboriginals. Some Aboriginals have interpreted this provision as extending to all who signed the Numbered Treaties. It is also interpreted by some as an promise by the federal government to provide free health care to every Aboriginal person in Canada - forever.
Treaty Number Seven
This treaty was signed by a number of Aboriginal bands, including the Blackfoot and Stoney Indians, among others, in present-day southern Alberta. It is very similar to the ones that preceded it, with some exceptions. There was no health care provision as there had been in Treaty Number Six; however, these bands were successful in negotiating for more money and supplies than in previous treaty negotiations. This would be the last Numbered Treaty signed between the government and the Aboriginals until 1899.
The first five Numbered Treaties, which are also called the Land Cession or Post-Confederation Treaties, covered areas in what was then part of the new province of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. These are now parts of northwestern Ontario and southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The purpose of these treaties was to secure land from the Aboriginals for European settlement and agricultural and industrial development. In the wording of these treaty documents, the Aboriginals were to give up their rights to the land "forever."
Typically, the government would provide farm supplies and new clothes to help transform Aboriginal society from what Europeans viewed as a simple hunting and gathering basis, into independent pioneer farmers like their European counterparts.
In return for giving up their land rights, the Aboriginals would receive:
Reserve lands to live on. Usually, just 600 square meters were provided to each family of five. However, in Treaties Three and Four only, the Aboriginals were able to successfully negotiate 2.5 square kilometers for each family of five.
Cash, the amount of which differed between each treaty. However, the amount usually grew with each subsequent treaty as Aboriginal demands grew.
An allowance for blankets and hunting/fishing tools.
Schools on reserve land, whenever desired by the Aboriginals.
A census to keep track of how many Aboriginals there were in each band, mainly for financial compensation purposes.
The right to hunt and fish on all ceded land not used for settlement, lumbering or mining. However, this was only promised in writing from Treaty Number Three onward.
The right for the government to build public buildings, roads and other crucial pieces of infrastructure.
In return for the aforementioned items, the Aboriginals had to promise they would keep the peace and maintain law and order, and keep liquor off reserves. Europeans viewed liquor as a corrupting influence on aboriginal peoples. In addition, there was a strong prohibitionist sentiment in the last half of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century.
Three provinces joined the new Confederation: the Province of Canada (which later became Ontario and Québec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The British North America Act was intended to balance the forces that were pushing the old Province of Canada apart with the forces that had pushed all the provinces together. Important elements included:
The power of the Governor General in Council to disallow any provincial law within a year of getting a copy of the legislation.
A division of powers between the federal parliament and the provinces.
Parliament could assume any powers that were not specifically allocated, and had the power to act for "peace, order and good government."
Thus, the provinces had secure power over some areas such as education. Québec could keep its civil law and its distinctiveness was recognized. The federal government, however, was theoretically stronger than its counterparts in the United States or Switzerland, increased by the power of the Governor General in Council to appoint Senators.
Efforts to produce change continued into the 1830s until 1837. At this time, ethnic tensions in Lower Canada between the French Canadian majority and the British minority (which was increasing rapidly through immigration) pushed opinions among French Canadians to greater extremes.
In Upper Canada, the situation was brought to a head when the governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, became actively involved in an election and helped the Tories (and by extension the Family Compact) to win.
Rebellions broke out in both Upper and Lower Canada in 1837, and again in Lower Canada in 1838. These rebellions were quickly suppressed, and the panic they created at first gave a great deal of power to the conservative groups in both provinces.
Many Aboriginals sided with the British during the War of 1812, partially out of a sense of obligation through the Niagara Treaty but also because they thought the British would allow them to preserve enough land for their way of life. The British had appeared to support the creation of a buffer state between settlers and the Aboriginals in the past, particularly prior to the Jay Treaty.
Some Aboriginals had their reservations with siding with the British. However, the Americans were moving deeper into Indian territory, and they appeared willing to wipe out the Aboriginals by any means possible.
Aboriginals nations played a vital role in British victories during the War, including the taking of Detroit, although it came at a considerable cost. In 1813, a popular leader, Tecumseh, was killed in the Battle of Thames. This loss seriously damaged Aboriginal unity and confidence, causing much of their political clout in Upper Canada and the U.S. to vanish.
Following the War of 1812, the Americans would largely remove any Aboriginals living east of the Mississippi River and force them into Indian land now known as Oklahoma. Many Aboriginals chose to migrate north into land around the Great Lakes in Upper Canada instead.
The Constitutional Act was passed in order to meet the demands of the Loyalists and give the inhabitants of Québec the same rights as other British subjects in North America. These were reflected in its provisions, which (among other things):
Repealed the parts of the Québec Act, 1774 dealing with the makeup and powers of government.
Provided for an appointed legislative council and an elected legislative assembly.
Gave power over taxation given to the assembly.
Gave the Governor power to withhold assent to bills passed by the legislative council and assembly.
Declared that the Catholic faith should continue to be respected, but made provisions for lands to be set aside to support the Protestant clergy in each province (i.e.: clergy reserves).
Divided the province of Québec into two new provinces: Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), chartered 2 May 1670, is the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking world. Formerly headquartered in London, England, and via an intermediary residence in Winnipeg, Manitoba, its head offices are located in Toronto, Ontario. Among general retailers in Canada, HBC continues to lead its next-closest competitor, Sears, in terms of annual sales. In 2003, HBC posted revenues of $7.4 billion and reported close to 70 000 employees. The group retails under the following names: The Bay, Zellers, Fields, and Home Outfitters.
The Québec Act, along with the instructions given to Governor Carleton, marked a new beginning. Among other things, these documents:
Expanded the boundaries of Québec, particularly to the south.
Allowed free practice of Catholic faith in Québec.
Replaced the oath to Elizabeth I and her heirs (with references to Protestant faith) with one to George III (and no reference to Protestant faith).
Allowed the practice of civil law to continue.
It did not call for an assembly, allowing the governor to continue ruling with his council.
The Québec Act satisfied the Canadian inhabitants of Québec, and some of the demands of the British merchants, but did not lead to representative government. In the Thirteen Colonies, however, the Québec Act was quickly denounced as one of the "Intolerable Acts," objecting to the limits it set on westward expansion. British merchants in Québec continued to demand representative government through a House of Assembly.
The governor was guided by the Royal Proclamation, 1763, and various instructions from authorities in London. These formed the basis of civil administration in the new province of Québec.
The proclamation withdrew the privileged status of the Catholic Church and ended French civil law. British soldiers were expected to settle in Québec in large numbers, and ultimately assimilate the French Canadian population.
On September 13, 1759, a British army under Major-General James Wolfe defeated an army of French regular troops and Canadian militia on the Plains of Abraham outside the walls of Québec. Then on September 8, 1760, three British armies under General Jeffery Amherst took control of Montreal and New France.
During the period after the surrenders at Québec and Montreal until the Treaty of Paris, 1763, martial law prevailed in conquered New France. General Murray was military governor and military courts administered justice. The articles of capitulation of Québec and especially of Montreal played a role in how the Canadians were ruled.
In 1756, war broke out between France and Great Britain. In North America, hostilities between American and Canadian colonists had erupted two years previously. In Europe, the conflict pitted Great Britain (allied with Prussia and Hanover) against France, which was supported by Austria, Sweden, Saxony, Russia and Spain. In America and Asia, British colonies confronted French colonies. New France and New England fought each other for possession of the continent and control of the fur trade. Although separate, the conflicts between the two colonies were directly connected to the victories or defeats of the Motherland.
The war led to the fall of New France.
By 1701, Aboriginals and Europeans had had about two centuries worth of contact. While there had been wars between the Europeans and Aboriginals, the relationship between both parties had stabilized.
Aboriginal skills and knowledge about the harsh landscape helped many Europeans survive cold Canadian winters. These Aboriginals provided access to land to furs for trading, as well as food supplies from fishing and big game hunting.
The Great Peace of 1701
One example of early treaty making between Europeans and Aboriginal peoples was the Great Peace of 1701. One 1300 delegates of more than 40 First Nations converged on Montreal. The treaty that followed the negotiations ended almost 100 years of war between the Iroquois Confederacy and New France and its allies.
The significance of the treaty lasts to this day, as it set a precedent the use of negotiation to settle disputes between First Nations peoples and European colonial representatives in what is now Canada. It also set the foundation for the expansion of the "empire" of New France to the south and west, and ensured the neutrality of the Iroquois Confederacy in case of war between the French and English in North America. At the outbreak of the Seven Years War between British and French forces in 1756, the Iroquois Confederacy was neutral.
Champlain took sides with the Huron against the Iroquois at what is now Lake Champlain in 1609. This triggered 90 years of hostilities between the Iroquois and the French. These wars deterred immigration from France.
The wars wiped out entire settlements, like Ste. Marie Among The Hurons. Aboriginal wars were also a cause of failure for companies like the Communauté des Habitants.
These wars lasted throughout the 17th century, and didn't end until the Great Peace of 1701. Many Aboriginal nations were, by then, suffering great losses in human life due to fighting and diseases introduced by the French, like smallpox. The Great Peace meant that the Iroquois would no longer resist French expansion.
In 1608, Samuel de Champlain created the first truly permanent French settlement in the area around where Québec City stands today. It was a small settlement - no more than 60 colonists lived here by 1620. It remained a small fur trading post for the first 50 years of its existence.
In 1663, New France suddenly undertook a period of extensive expansionism. Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a leading minister in France, particularly believed in compact settlements that would better protect the colony against warring Aboriginals and the British.
Europeans first discovered the east coast of Canada in 1497, when explorer John Cabot claimed either Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island for England. This discovery opened up new cod fishing and whaling grounds off the east coast that attracted English, French, Spanish and Portuguese fishermen. The latter two groups, however, would become more interested in exploring to the coastal areas south of this region.
The French, however, sent explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534 and 1535 in the hopes of establishing an inland presence in the region. Six years later, he returned for a third time to the area, and established a small settlement near where Québec City stands today. The settlement didn't survive a harsh winter, however. France decided to abandon the colony, save for a few fishermen and fur traders who remained.