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After attending DetermiNATION (the first Indigenous-led summit on building solutions to move beyond the Indian Act), we (the Otahpiaaki team) felt that it was an important time to bring awareness to the enduring effects of the Indian Act and to conceive new ways for Nations move towards self-determination. After hearing Bob Joseph speak at the summit we put it upon ourselves to purchase and read the novel. At the summit, presenters and speaks addressed the importance about Canadians recognizing the enduring repercussions the Indian Act had on generations of Indigenous peoples. During this time of reconciliation in Canada, awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities needs to gain more momentum. Taking advice from speakers and presenters at the summit and with Pride and Protest as the theme this year, we've decided to curate a Meme Project based on the book 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, to bring awareness to the very policy that has dictated and controlled the lives of Indigenous peoples since 1876.

In the process of selecting artwork to use for the project, we invited our designers and artists to select a print or painting of their work that matches or was related to one of the 21 Things in the book. Unfortunately, we didn't receive much input from designers and artists so I asked for consent to match their artwork to one of the 21 Things as I wanted to publish the project before Fashion Week. After I selected artwork from different designers and artists and sent the work back to them, the feedback was remarkable! When I first sent the invitation letter I'm sure some artists were confused about what I was trying to accomplish with the project but after I showed them the finished product and they expressed how honoured and grateful they are to be involved in the Meme project.
Taryn Hamilton, Research and Communications, Otahpiaaki Beauty, Fashion, and Design Week

1
Imposed the elected chief and council system
1869 to present day

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"I resist"

Christopher "Day One" Carlson

2
Denied women status 
1869 to 1985

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson 

3
Created reserves 
1876 to present day

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson

4
Encouraged voluntary and enforced enfranchisement
1876 to 1985

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson

5
Could expropriate portions of reserves for public works
1880 to current version of Indian Act 1985

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson

6
Renamed individuals with European names
1880 to undetermined time

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Jesse Gouchey

7
Created a permit system to control Indians’ ability to sell products from farms
1881 to 2014

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Justin Louis of SECTION 35

8
Prohibited sale of ammunition to Indians
1882 to undetermined time

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John Pepion

9
Prohibited sale of intoxicants to Indians
1884 to undetermined time

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Jesse Gouchey

10
Declared potlatch and other cultural ceremonies illegal
1884 to 1951

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson

11
Restricted Indians from leaving their reserve without permission from Indian agent
1885 to 1951

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John Pepion

12
Created residential schools
1886 to 1996

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Jesse Gouchey

13
Forbade Indian students from speaking their home language
1884 to 1951

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"Us"
Catherine Blackburn; part of a bigger project titled ‘Our Mother(s) Tongue’ curated in 2017

14
Forbade western Indians from appearing in any public dance, show, exhibition, stampede or pageant wearing traditional regalia
Late 1880s to early 1960s

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Photo courtesy of Glenbow Museum

15
Leased uncultivated reserve lands to non-Indigenous peoples
1918-1985

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“Glitch in the Treaty”
Justin Louis of SECTION 35 & Blaire Russell 

16
Forbade Indians from forming political organizations
1927 to 1951

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Jesse Gouchey

17
Prohibited anyone, Indian or non-Indian, from soliciting funds for Indians to hire legal counsel
1927 to 1951

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Justin Louis of SECTION 35 

18
Prohibited pool hall owners from allowing Indians entrance
1927 to 1951

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Jesse Gouchey

19
Forbade students from practicing their traditional religion
1940s

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson

20
Denied Indians the right to vote
Until 1960

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson

21
Is a piece of legislature created under colonial rule for the purpose of subjugating a group of people
Until 1960

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Christopher "Day One" Carlson