Indian Act and the Pass System

“No rebel Indians should be allowed off the Reserves without a pass signed by an I.D. official.The dangers of complications with white men will thus be lessened & by preserving a knowledge of individual movements any inclination to petty depredations may be checked by the facility of apprehending those who commit such offences.” [1]

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Indian Act and the Permit System

This article is part of our series on the Indian Act and the many restrictions historically imposed on First Nations as a means of controlling them and assimilating them into European culture. Or, in the words of John A. Macdonald “to do away with the Indian problem”.

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21 Things You May Not Have Known About The Indian Act

"The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.” - John A Macdonald, 1887

  • Since publication in June 2015, this article has had 211,000+ views. - August 2018

Many laws affecting Aboriginal Peoples were combined in 1876 to become the Indian Act. The Act gave Canada a coordinated approach to Indian policy rather than the pre-Confederation piece-meal approach.

Here is a permission slip that would have be required to leave the reserve.  Although specifically not a law or regulation under the Indian Act, the Indian Act gave power to the federal government and its representatives, like the Indian Agent, to implement and enforce policies such as needing a pass to leave the reserve. It certainly is something that not many people would have known about the Indian Act.

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8 First Nation reserve FAQs

A First Nation reserve is a tract of land set aside under the Indian Act and treaty agreements for the exclusive use of an Indian band (First Nation). Earliest examples of reserves date back to attempts by French missionaries in 1637 to encourage Aboriginal Peoples to settle in one spot and embrace both agriculture and Christianity. As more and more Europeans settled in Canada and on the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples, it became apparent to the authorities that an effective means to ensuring the most fertile land was available to European farmers was needed. The development of the reserve system met this need.

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Matrimonial Real Property Act

How long do you think First Nations have been fighting against inequitable treatment of First Nation women by federal government laws and policies? ........At least since 1869 and likely back to 1867 with the passage of the British North America Act [1] and Section 91.24 when the Federal Government gained control of Indians and Lands reserved for Indians.

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The Indian Act Naming Policies

The federal government’s Indian Act policies for Indians or First Nation(s) people during the nineteenth century were primarily concerned with assimilation. One aspect of the assimilation process was the renaming of the entire First Nation population, partly to extinguish traditional ties and partly because Euro-Canadians found many of the names confusing, difficult to pronounce and went against assimilation objectives - it was feared that leaving them with their traditional names would take away the motivation to assimilate.



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Potlatch Ban: Abolishment of First Nations Ceremonies

 When the British North America (BNA) Act was passed in 1867, Canada became a country but remained a colony of the British Empire. The BNA Act provided the basic governmental structures and laws by which Canada would govern its peoples. One section in particular - section 91(24) - defined the relationship between the government and Aboriginal Peoples, echoes of which continues to define the relationship to this day.

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Indian Act and the Right to Vote

The right to vote, which most Canadians take for granted, was a hard fought battle for Indigenous Peoples. In most parts of Canada, First Nations were offered the right to vote at the time of Confederation - but only if they gave up their treaty rights and Indian status. Understandably, few were willing to do this. Métis People were not excluded from voting as few were covered by treaties, therefore there was nothing to justify disqualifying them. Inuit were excluded and no steps were taken to include them as most communities were geographically isolated so in the absence of special efforts to enable them to vote, they had no means of exercising the right.

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Rick Mercer and the Indian Act

By Bob Joseph

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Bands call for return of Agency #1 lands

Rainy Lake has always been important to the Anishinaabe of this region,” says Chief Janice Henderson of Mitaanjigamiing First Nation.
“The district needs to work harder to understand the history and the importance of reconciling the many claims and issues have had with the way land and resources have been dealt with by Ontario and Canada, and commit to supporting processes that deal fairly with them,” she added.

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