Aboriginal Rights in Canada

Aboriginal Rights in Canada
Ana Tavares
March 7, 2010

Since the first encounter with the British and French, the course of Aboriginal history in Canada has been deeply altered by the interactions and laws the Europeans imposed on First Nations, which significantly invaded their fundamental rights. The result has been a noteworthy amount of laws that have harmed the ability of   Aboriginals to influence their own future.

Before North America was discovered by the Europeans the Aboriginal had the whole continent to themselves, they cultivated their own traditions and customs. But when the Europeans arrived they began to impose their own laws and methods excluding any Aboriginal belief. In the 1700s the Aboriginal community began facing great discrimination by the Europeans, for the pragmatism that provoked the British Crown to protect Aboriginal interests in the Royal Proclamation gave way to a policy of assimilation and the attitude that the Aboriginals were British subjects - and not equal, independent nations. The passing of the Indian Act   in 1876 made effectively all Aboriginals to be legal wards of the state, the act controlled all aspects of the Native life including the denial to the right to vote in federal elections.   Starting in the 1870s residential schools for Aboriginal children between the ages of 5 and 16 began to be set up by the federal government, children were taken from their homes to be placed in these schools. They were meant to train Aboriginal youth how to become productive members of society along European, Christian lines. The federal government was destroying   Aboriginal culture, language and traditions without getting penalised for such mistreatment.

It wasn’t until the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948 that Canada was forced to re-examine the way Aboriginal communities were being treated. In 1951 the Indian Act was altered so that many of the laws banning customs were no longer in effect. Aboriginals...