The Continuant Domination of the Aboriginal People
Essay Preview: The Continuant Domination of the Aboriginal People
Report this essay
The Continuant Domination of the Aboriginal People
In any Canadian history class we learnt about how the Europeans settled in Canada to build a new life. Furthermore, as kids we have always learnt that Christopher Columbus had discovered Canada as an empty piece of land, with no habitants whatsoever. (Flashback Canada, 1994) These statements are false. Native Canadians had already been living in Canada, and the European settlers basically just moved tight in regardless. Setting up their own Government, and being the aggressor in the country took control of everything the aboriginals had. It was said that to the aboriginals it looked like “mercantilists wanted our furs, missionaries wanted our souls, colonial governments, and later, Canada, wanted our lands.” (Razack, 2002)
The purpose of this paper is to show how the government of Canada, also known as the majority has taken advantage of the native peoples of this country. This has happened in many ways, but one of the most important techniques is land control. In addition, the treatment of the aboriginal people in Canada demonstrates how the dominant group utilizes the technique of land control to dominate the minority group. This is can be seen though the forcing of the native people to relocate, how the government responds to land claims made by the natives, and how the aboriginals have to settle for insufficient land.
Throughout history in Europe, there was a concept of inalienability of sovereignty, meaning that people who were inhabitance of a colony firstly, did not have to adapt to ways and laws of other settlers. (McNeil, 2002) This was not the case when European settlers came to Canada, and forced the concept of assimilation upon the aboriginals who already resided in the country. The dominant group forced them to relocate to reserves, and as well forced them to abide by their laws, even though it was not based on the political philosophy of Europe.
Reasoning being, the government wanted to have control of the land that was occupied by the Indians, because the government could use the land to develop business which can help them build the economy. (Aboriginal Rights Coalition, 1999) In addition, any resources that were available would be controlled by the dominant group, because they wanted to have control of the resources, because it could be used in trade with other countries. (Aboriginal Rights Coalition, 1999) Even after the relocation, the natives were told that they were allowed to return to their original land after a few years, this was another false statement used by the dominant group to force the natives off developing lands.
In addition to the relocation of the natives, the dominant group justifies this action by the paternalistic model. The reasoning by the government is that the aboriginals are “Childlike and immature”, and can not conduct themselves in a civilized manner. (Kallen, 1995) Furthermore, the aboriginals are not expected to reach maturity, and they are regarded as permanent children. They can not self-govern themselves and will always be dependent
on the dominant group for support. (Kallen, 1995) The dominant group makes the aboriginals believe that they are less than human, and can not do things for their self, and will continually be dependent
on the dominant group. To help ensure this, the government proposed the Indian act, where the federal minister of Indian affairs, has had ultimate authority over all decisions affecting the lives and destinies of the Indians residing on the reserves. (Kallen, 1995) Throughout the years the Indian act has abled the minister to control resources which include, land, housing, income, etc. basically all aspects of Indian life. This was just another way for the dominant group to have total control of everything in Canada. This helps ensure that that the control of dominant powers is not threatened by minorities, and that the individual and collective rights of the dominant population are recognized and respected in society at large, not minorities.
Moreover, even with the minimal amount of rights the aboriginals had already, the reserves they were relocated to were the worst yet. Most of the houses did not have portable water, less than half had indoor plumbing, and only a few of them were linked to a sewage disposal system. (Kallen, 1982) Most of the houses needed repairs, and some needed to be replaced totally. Due to the lack of proper sewage systems and clean water this increased diseases and caused many Indians to get very ill, or even die due to these dehumanizing life conditions on the reserves. Hence, with these conditions the Indian reserves have become centers of Indian cultural alienation, and helps characterize the Indians with the self-fulfilling prophecy of paternalism. Also, the Indians are viewed as the “paternalistic model”, of being savages and having to depend upon the dominant group for survival.
The Government responds very little to claims made by the aboriginal for land. They try the best they can to get out of it, and not to sign any treaties. But because of the continual disputes between the government and the aboriginals, the proclamation of 1763 was signed. It stated that the Indians, whom the government is connected with and live under their protection, should not be molested or disturbed. (McNeil, 2002) The purpose of this proclamation was to set aside land for the Indians which “private persons must be forbidden to purchase or settle. (Redbird, 2002) But in 1811, the Hudson Bay Company reserved ten percent of this land for employee retirement. Land that said could not be touched or purchased by and private persons. (Redbird, 2002)
In terms of the land, the dominant group does not want to give land over to the aboriginals. They use the excuse of the aboriginals not being able to self-govern themselves and hence do not deserve any land. The government has constantly been trying not to give in to Indian land claims, and trying to settle it in a way that they can still benefit from it. Recently, even though there have been some treaties signed by the government and the Indians, the government did not want to give the aboriginals total control of land. The reasoning behind this was if they did get total control of the land and were able to self-govern themselves, they would be taken advantage of by others. The government proposed the “protection rationale”, where the aboriginals would reside in the land but it would still be owned by the government and they had control over it. This was justified so that they can offer protection to the Indians and not having them be disturbed or abused by others. (McNeil, 2002) This was a forced reasoning given to the aboriginals so they would be protected by the