The Indian Act 1876 Essay

The Indian Act

Owing to the development of Canada in 1867, the rights of managing the aboriginal affairs, resided with the federal government. Since then, the Indian Act (enacted in 1876) has undergone several amendments and this has given the government, the rights to control almost all the major aspects of aboriginal life- like the land, resources, education facility, administration of the band, status of Indians and even their wills.

To legally and federally be recognized as an Indian, in Canada, one needs to abide by all the rules and the regulations and the standards of living that are imposed by the government. To ensure this, the Indian Act was passed, not merely as a body of law but as a sole controller of each and every aspect of the life of the Indians. In the older versions of this act, the norms on bringing together the First Nations, were mentioned.

The people who successfully completed and got a degree from the University, were liable to lose their Indian Status while the women who married the non status men, were liable to lose their status as well.

The Act implied the rule that if a woman married an aboriginal man, then her Indian status would remain intact and she would receive cultural as well as social benefits but if any woman marries a white (European), she would lose her Indian status and would be considered as the member of Canadian society.

The halfbreed Indians, also called as the MĂ©tis, were denied Indian status. The Indian Act aimed to combine all the already prevalent legislations that covered the First Nations and their existing relationship with Canada.

The Act came into being with the target of helping the aboriginals to the protect the land that was left with them. However, the main owner of the land, remained the Crown. The administration of the land was supposed to be done by the Crown via the Minister of Indian Affairs, who was an Indian Agent.

The Act tried to vest more power in the hands of the local government but simultaneously it took away the existing powers by appointing an Indian agent as the chairman of the counsil. According to the rules listed in the Act, the Indians were not allowed to sell or produce goods if they did not have written permission from the local Indian agent. Moreover, the status Indians were denied the right to vote until 1961.

Looking for help with essay or term paper? Hire - professional paper writing service for college students.

Essay/Term paper: Canadian indian act

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Essays

See all college papers and term papers on Essays

Need a different (custom) essay on Essays? Buy a custom essay on Essays

Need a custom research paper on Essays? Click here to buy a custom term paper.

The first Canadian Indian Act was issued in 1876. Though it has been revised

numerous times, this hundred and thirty year old legislation has been left virtually

unchanged. Established in order to ensure the assimilation of Native Americans in

Canada, the Indian Act instead had achieved the total opposite. It has made this

distinction more and has given immense power to the government, letting them control

all who reside on the reserves. It was then that the distinction between Status Indians and

Non-Status Indians was made. The Canadian government quickly displayed their control

by forbidding the sale of any land within the reserve unless it was turned over to the


Another major part of the act was the enfranchisement of the Native American.

When most refused to become enfranchised, the government made it so all Native

Americans obtaining a University degree would automatically become enfranchised. In

the amendment of 1884, the government banned the potlatch ceremony (a popular

celebration among the First Nations an the Pacific Coast) for they believe it was a corrupt

and destructive ritual. In 1951, after the imprisonment of numerous Natives, this

legislation was dropped by the act. In 1927, it became forbidden for any person to raise

money for Aboriginal in order to pursue any claim, unless permission was granted by the

Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, yet attempt in making them absolutely

dependent of the government. The next important change occurred in 1960 when the

Aboriginal were finally given the right to vote. Though the implementation of better

health services and the accessibility to education increased, the First Nations still found

themselves living below the poverty standard of average Canadians.

As we fast forward to the present, we see that this act may have diversified effects on

Native American people. Take for example a small northern reserve. We have people

who live in poorly constructed homes that are not even built to withstand the cold. They

cannot even afford running water, which makes laundry and bathing a difficult task. All

of this is happening because they are not self sufficient. These people do not have the

knowledge needed to properly run the reserve. These Native Americans have no choice

but to depend on a government that cannot fulfill the their needs. Besides not receiving

enough funds from the government, they are expected to pay ridiculously high prices to

satisfy their basic needs such as food from convenient stores. Though they intend to one

day own their own stores, they are practically denied the opportunity to communicate

with those in charge.

On the positive side, they have learned English, their children do attend school.

However, the level of education is not sufficient. To be able to assimilate into an

environment, they would have to work harder yet they are continuously slowed down by

the government. This is simply one example of a people living in atrocious conditions.

There are Natives living a better life. They are well educated, having degrees in

engineering, law, architecture among others. Most of their population is employed and

nearly self sufficient. They lead lives very similar to those of non-status Indians. A great

achievement on their part, but not quite perfect. Since the Canadian government banned

the right for any Native American to own or sell any land, they cannot sell the houses

they have built. Outsiders are reluctant to purchase houses on the reserve for they fear its

unstable situation. Another clause in the Indian act prohibits them to connect to the major

sewage system.

In conclusion, it difficult to understand how a government we claim to be

civilized and free to all can promote an amendment so primitive and ultimately

suppressive. Though the initial plan seemed to be the assimilation of the First Nations,

the government has also went out of their way to do the exact opposite. Such laws leave

little hope for those who have no recourse or legal backing, those how depend on a mute

system that hinders the tribes with natural resources but sustains the ones without. And

those who are better off must still fight to obtain what should be there birth right. Sadly,

even though the Indian Act has been around for over one hundred and thirty years, the

shackles of it"s either benevolent or repressive authority over the human beings it fences

in does not seem ready to break in the foreseeable future.


Other sample model essays:

Essays / Capital Punishment On Trial

Capital Punishment on Trial Capital Punishment is an issue that has been argued over from the dinner table in the average American home the the oval office in the White House for countless...

Essays / Capital Punsihment

Capital Punishment There once was a man, long ago, that was sentenced to death for crimes the government said he had committed. He was not a murderer or a thief. He wasn"t a rebel he was just ...

Essays / Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases include a wide range of heart abnormalities, as well as diseases of other parts of the circulatory system, such as the coronary arteries, ther cerebrovascular system, the ao...

Essays / Carton"s Change

It is human nature to carry a beast deep down within oneself. Whether one chooses to control the beast or be controlled by it is an individual choice. He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the p...

Essays / Cause And Effect

The popular movie "Top Gun" coined a phrase that reads "I feel the need, the need for speed." Many drivers today would agree with that phrase. Speeding is one of the most...

Essays / Changing The System

The "system" is something that people are always out to change. You see people trying to change it all the time, but few are actually successful at changing the system. The system ca...

Essays / Charimans Message

-CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE - In recent years there has been numerous catastrophes in the Muslim world. Although some are caused by natural disasters, such as the many thousands who were killed by the...

Essays / Charles Manson

"Mr. Scott, Ms. Maddox? Here's your baby boy!" These were the first words that Kathleen Maddox heard when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, to whom she would later give her maiden name...

Essays / Cheating

Cheating used to be considered an unmentionable sin. However, in this day and age, it has become more common and somewhat of a daily occurrence. Cheating is more widespread today than in the past. ...

Essays / Child Abuse

Child Abuse Many children suffer at the hands of adults - often their own parents. They are beaten, kicked, thrown into walls, and/or burned with cigarettes. They have their heads held under th...

0 thoughts on “The Indian Act 1876 Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *