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Who and What Is an Indian

In: Social Issues

Submitted By tashmahnash
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According to INAC, the term for Aboriginal peoples is defined as: “a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people: Indians (commonly referred to as First Nations), Métis and Inuit. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. More than one million people in Canada identify themselves as an Aboriginal person, according to the 2006 Census.” (Indigenous Nationhood) Although many Aboriginal peoples in Canada identify as being Aboriginal, many Aboriginal peoples struggle to maintain or gain a sense of cultural identity due to the Canadian Governments assimilation policies. Throughout this paper I will discuss how the Indian Act, the Canadian Residential School System, and the Sixties Scoop assimilated Aboriginal peoples into a European way of life, by attempting to integrate them into society by abolishing their Aboriginal identities. This assimilation process impacted Aboriginal peoples in negative ways throughout the generations socially, culturally, and economically. The negative impacts within child welfare system, educational institutions, and the socio-economic status of Aboriginal peoples today, prove assimilation and the total integration of Aboriginal peoples within mainstream society is unacceptable. Decolonization techniques should be applied within those areas in order combat the long lasting effects of assimilation by colonization. Decolonization will also help enable Aboriginal peoples to regain a cultural identity.
The 1876 Indian Act was created as a way to control and assimilate Aboriginal peoples. “The Indian Act, by itself, was simply a tool used by the Government of Canada to exercise near-total control over First Nations people.” (Coates, 2008, p. 4)The Indian Act decided who was...

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