Talk:Indian Act

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I made a few corrections to some factual errors in the text. First of all, the Act does not deal primarily with the "rights" of status Indians. Aboriginal rights derive from treaties or inherent rights which come from pre-contact customs of aboriginal societies, and were recognized by s. 35 of the Constitution Act 1982. The Act imposes as many leagl disabilities as it provides "rights". Second, the Act is not made constitutionally valid by s. 25 of the Charter. It is valid because of s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Section 25 of the Charter makes sure that the charter doesn't derogate from the aboriginal rights recognized in s. 35. Third, aboriginal rights are not "racial" in nature. They are based on a historical political relationship between Britain/Canada and the aboriginal Nations of Canada. This is a nation to nation relationship.

Also, the act was originally intended to be a step toward integration, although it doesn't look like it now. It was supposed to be a temporary holding pen of sorts until Indians were ready to be "enfranchised" and become "good land-owning citizens". Most of the enfranchisement provisions have been removed now, however. So yes, now the Act does perpetuate a cultural apartheid of sorts, and provisions of South Africa's apartheid laws were based on the Indian Act (including the pass system; no longer in the Indian Act). However, some of the federal government's policies are still pretty much assimilationist in nature.


I changed the statement about the act's purpose because I don't think an act which describes in great detail the laws and regulations governing reserves and the benefits received by residents of reserves is intended to integrate Indians. I also couldn't find any such statement in the act, or any measures which would promote integration. As Desmond Tutu said when he visited Canada, Canada's treatment of Indians looks more like apartheid. Trontonian

In fact, South Africa's initial apartheid law was modelled on the Indian Act.


Dude shut up

I disagree that the Indian Act establishes the rights of Registered Indians in Canada. Rather, it is government legislation and best it can be viewed as an administrative tool, at worst, colonial policy grounded in ethnocentric notions of European superiority. The rights of Registered Indian people flow from a number of areas including Aboriginal rights, which are inherent rights that we possess by virtue of original occupation of Turtle Island, and Treaties signed with the Crown. Neither of which can be changed by the stroke of a pen by the officials in ottawa.

The first editor is wrong on a few counts. Firstly, section 25 does not apply only to section 35. Who told you that? Section 25 also mentions "other rights", and because it's not limited in that way, it applies also to rights in the Indian Act, and yes, the Indian Act includes rights, such as those discussed in the Corbiere case. According to Hogg's Constitutional Law of Canada, those rights, under section 25, cannot be held invalid even though they apply to one "race." CanadianCaesar Et tu, Brute? 00:56, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Your point about "other rights" under section 25 is a good one. However, I think it is important to make the distinction between "other rights" under section 25 (which are not constitutionalized, although they are protected from the application of the Charter) and aboriginal and treaty rights under section 35 (which are constitutionalized). Clearly, the Indian Act could never be a source of s. 35 aboriginal and treaty rights in and of itself because it is neither a treaty nor an aboriginal practice that has been around since the time of contact. However, some of its provisions may recognize existing rights that would in and of themselves qualify as aboriginal or treaty rights (this is arguably the case for the tax exemption, for example).

Also, I will leave in the point based on the Hogg citation, but I have to respectfully disagree with Hogg. The rights in the Indian Act do not apply to one racial group. They apply to status Indians, who can be people of mixed race, or even people who are entirely caucasian (due to the old marriage provisions). Davidzukovny 03:15, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

By and large, I love the changes, but I still maintain that stauts Indians are not a race: they are a statutorily defined group which includes people who are not at all of First Nations descent. Davidzukovny 13:04, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree the article has improved. Of course it still needs work, needs updating for instance. And it is true people who have no Aboriginal descent have been included under the Act. CanadianCaesar Et tu, Brute? 16:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Under the old (pre-1985) marriage provisions of the Act, women who did not have status who married a status Indian automatically became status Indians even if they were not of First Nations descent (although in some cases they would have had First Nations descent but not status), while women who did have status but married a male who did not have status lost their status. The 1985 amendments gave back status to those women who had lost it under these provisions, but did not take it away from those who had gained it in the same provisions. So yes, some women who were not of First Nations descent would still be status Indians. This continues to create various inequities, including the fact that the children of the women who gained status are considered "full" (or 6(1)) status Indians, while the children of those women who lost but regained their status are only considered "part" (or 6(2)) status Indians. Also, there continue to be people who are of First Nations descent who do not have status for various reasons. Davidzukovny 15:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Improving Article[edit]

What are some ways we could improve the article? OldManRivers 18:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

(1) Needs many more footnotes. (2) Section 88 section needs updating to include info on Dick v. The Queen, which revolutionized the meaning of that section. (3) Needs information on the movements to amend (or abolish) the Indian Act and the motives for such movements. CanadianCaesar Et tu, Brute? 18:53, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
There was also that stuff about the Governance Act that the Liberals put forward in the Early 1990's. I was really young at the time, but I remember the AFN gathering Vancouver. They voted on it and all the bands from BC voted against it. (And no wonder. What province has barely any treaties?) I've actually never heard of Dick v. The Queen. And I'll see what I can do about movement to abolish the Indian Act. OldManRivers 20:04, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I handled the Dick v. The Queen material. CanadianCaesar Et tu, Brute? 22:37, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Amendments[edit]

I just realized the law banning the potlatch was actually an amendment to the Indian Act. Bill C-31 was also an amendment, as was the off-reserve voting in 1999. Perhaps we could find a list of all the amendments? - TheMightyQuill 06:51, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Depends on how many there were. It's an old law, there could be many amendments, some (relatively) trivial. A history of the law- who enacted it in the first place, who amended it in a notable way and why- would be good. CanadianCaesar Et tu, Brute? 00:43, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
The Potlatch ban ended in 1951. I'll have to look around for sources to reference, but, it was 1951. There was a 50's aniversity of it being lifted in 2001 with the Tribal Journeys. Unfortunately, there is no article on Anti-Potlatch laws, or something of that topic. I'll see if I can find some research time to look up things on the potlatch ban, but, I could use some help. OldManRivers 05:01, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Feminist criticism[edit]

I added a section about some criticism of the Act. I'm pretty ignorant overall, but the material was a part of a draft of another article I am writing, and I decided to remove it from there, so I put it here. Hopefully, I'm not totally off base. Best, Smmurphy(Talk) 17:56, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm not really sure what the specific critique is, but I have heard the post-1985 Indian Act criticized as still discriminating along gender lines. Anyone know the details of that argument? Stevecudmore (talk) 14:28, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Among other things, it still treats the women who gained their status under Bill C-31 and their children and grandchildren differently than those of men. See the recent Sharon McIvor case in BC for more details. --Davidzukovny (talk) 16:30, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Historical evolution and tone[edit]

Improving this article could be done by presenting the history of the Act more systematically. Also, reading about the Act without discussing (just a little) the colossal ramifications they had on aboriginals and the relationship between the Canadian government and aboriginal tribes really makes this article tone deaf to the subject matter being dealt with. Yes, its nice to have main articles for further reading but other than stating that the goal was to assimilate the Indians, the article does not present any indication of success or failure despite 300 years of application and being the most important factor in Canada-Aboriginal relations. 131.137.245.209 (talk) 17:36, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

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