Government termination policy and Canadian Indians : a fourth policy reality

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DuBois, Joan M. Alison
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During the past thirty years Canadian 'Indian' policy has undergone significant changes. There is consensus amongst First Nations people that the 1969 White Paper, although formally retracted by the federal government in the early 1970s, has provided the framework for subsequent Canadian 'Indian' policy. In this thesis a distinction is made between 'Indian' and 'Aboriginal' policy whereby 'Indian' policy refers to those groups of people legally defined as Indian according to the Indian Act. The policy distinction is needed because it is these indigenous peoples that were the focus of the Statement of the Government on Indian Policy (commonly known as the 1969 White Paper). While the literature shows that Indian policy was formulated according to three policy goals (civilization, protection, and assimilation), this study will investigate the extent to which termination and genocide was a fourth, and continued, federal Indian policy objective. Indian termination policy has usually been discussed in reference to the American Indian experience. Although termination and genocide are rarely allowed to enter into First Nations and indigenous 'Indian' discourse in Canada, First Nations and non-First Nations writers state that genocide has and continues to be the indigenous experience in Canada. As a fourth policy reality in Canada and part of the socio-political ideology of the indigenous 'Indian' or First Nations in Canada, termination can be termed as the process and procedure in Indian policy while genocide is the ideological frame of reference. In order to assess to what extent the 1969 White Paper has influenced 'Indian' policy during the last ten years in Canada, a comparative analysis between the 1969 White Paper and the 1994 Manitoba Framework Agreement, First Nations Governance 2001, and the First Nations Land Management Act will be included... A select grouping of policy documents pertaining to Indians, as defined by the Indian Act, are part of a comparative analysis that also takes into account Canadian public policy-making in general. It is in this section of the thesis that Indian termination policy is revealed as one of the three historic policy objectives of the federal government. 'Generic' policy terms and analyses are applied to Indian policy and this discussion forms much of the thesis chapters. By bringing public policy-making into the analysis of Indian policy, any similarities across documents become apparent. The comparative analysis method was necessary in order to determine the extent that the 1969 White Paper has been incorporated into subsequent Indian policy. My research shows that, although formally and publicly retracted by the federal government, the 1969 White Paper policies were incorporated into future Indian policy initiatives. The important point is that the White Paper policy proposals would not necessarily find their way into the most recognizable form of Indian policy, the Indian Act, but would be manifest in related legislation pertaining to Indians and Indian lands. The study concludes by showing that termination, and ultimately genocide will be a realized policy objective by termination of 'Indian' ties to Reserve land.