Culling the Indians: A Timeline

Everybody tends to refer to 1876 as the benchmark of Canada’s legacy of colonialism. But the intent to terminate Indigenous rights began 103 years prior to the Indian Act.

Here’s the timeline:

1763: The Royal Proclamation. Proclaimed as the “Indian Magna Carta“. It guaranteed certain rights and protections. It established how Britain could acquire lands.

1850: An Act for the better protection of the Lands and Property of the Indians in Lower Canada. Included are all descendants of such people, non-Indians who “intermarried with such Indians,” people whose parents were considered Indians, and “all persons adopted by them”

1857: An Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes in the Province was passed by the fifth Parliament of the Province of Canada. Any Indian who can read or speak English or French, has no debts and is of good character becomes considered as a “legal Person” and “civilized” in the eyes of the British government.

1869: An Act for the Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians, the Better Management of Indian Affairs, and to Extend the Provisions of the Act. This further restricted definition of who was regarded a Indian. Only persons of one quarter Indian blood could be acknowledged Indian.

1870: The Manitoba Act.  Individuals residing in the vicinity of present-day Winnipeg were offered Scrip, a promissory note giving each individual a private ownership of 64 hectares in exchange of their Indian land title.

1876: The Indian Act. Meant to consolidate all the previous ordinances aiming to terminate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society. Much of the Act pertaining to identity and the exclusions based on gender have since been repealed and the act has gone through several amendments.

Any descendants of the people who became excluded by any of these laws remain victims of historic injustices as a result their colonization. We are prevented from exercising, in particular, our right to development in accordance with our own needs and interests and denied our right to self-determination.

 

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#Métis Organizations in Canada

I have been writing a few posts now about my thoughts as I delve into issues surrounding Métis Identity. There are so many regional groups who claim to represent us, I decided to jot down a brief overview I made for myself when researching whether it was worth joining any association and which ones were legitimate.

First, I encourage anyone who self-identifies as Métis to do their own research to see which group best represents their interests. FOREMOST, make sure that the organization is *legitimate*. If they do not require extensive genealogical proof, they likely are not. Which, I surmise, will mean that the entire organization and its members would be at risk of not being recognized, nor would they be accepted into larger associations…

This list may not be complete; there are many, many groups popping up and there is no index.

Two associations represent “Federal” interests. That was my starting point, mainly because my understanding is that “Métis are within federal jurisdiction because they come within the definition of “Indians” in s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867″ 

The Métis Federation of Canada

The MFC’s vision is to represent all Métis from all regions of Canada (and the US). They are a recent arrival in the landscape and is rapidly growing. They have already signed several Unity Treaties with regional groups, which includes:

Communauté Wik Wam Oté (New Brunswick)

L’Association de Métis-Acadiens Souriquois (Nova Scotia)

Unama’ki Voyageurs Metis  (Nova Scotia)

Communauté Métis Autochtone de Maniwaki (Quebec)

L’ Association Métis Côte-Nord – Communauté de Mingan (Québec)

French River Métis Tribe (Ontario)

Voyageur Métis (Ontario)

The MFC has recently been granted leave to intervene in the Daniels case

You can apply for Membership directly to the MFC by clicking this link.

The MFC is the group I decided to join. That’s my disclaimer, right there. I joined them because their philosophy corresponds to mine.

The Métis National Council

The MNC represents what they consider as

historic Métis Nation Homeland,” which includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into parts of Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States.

They require that member’s ancestry links back to what they consider as a historic Métis Nation community, as mentioned above. 

You must apply for Membership (which they refer as Citizenship) through the MNC Governing Member in the province in which you reside. Each Registry has its own application forms and application process. I have been told that the various application processes may exclude Métis who do not reside in the same province or historical community as where their ancestors originated. 

The MNC Governing Member by province are as follows. You can click on each link representing the provincial association:

Métis Nation of Ontario                  Manitoba Métis Fédération

Métis Nation Saskatchewan **       Métis Nation of Alberta 

Métis Nation British Columbia 

Other noteworthy Associations not currently associated with the two “Federal” ones:

BC Métis Federation – Their Métis Coffee Talk, a weekly webbroadcast every Thursdays, 7:30 pst and available on-demand. Very interesting topics every week!

**Communicating with the association may be difficult, due to current issues not yet resolved.

So good luck in your search for the association that will best represent YOUR beliefs!