Thursday, 28 February 2013

Is it time to scrap the Indian Act?

This photo depicts the deterioration of the Ahousaht reserve in British Colombia. It shows the poor living conditions that aboriginals live in throughout our country, and the amount of help that is needed just to get them to a level that would be acceptable. It also shows their need of government intervention, and how our current system of dealing with native problems is severely outdated.

The article that went along with this photo was a collection of quotes from various people throughout Canada that replied to the Nation Post about their thoughts on the Indian Act. Most of them believed that it actually restricted the rights of native people in Canada and thought that it should be abolished. Some thought the act needed to be changed to be more suitable for today’s values and needs. The article brought up many opinions on aboriginal life, like education, jobs, living conditions and government aid. Many people thought that the whole concept of natives living on reserves created a racial divide between Canadian citizens.

My thoughts on this topic tended to agree with most of the people in the article. I think that the way native people and the government are interacting is not working and should be changed. Obviously the way money is being spent on most reserves is not functioning properly. And the lack of education for native children is extremely disturbing for an abundant country like ours. I think that changing the Indian Act will not destroy the aboriginal culture because of the way Canada embraces other nations. Canada has a very high immigration rate and we are not the self-professed “melting pot” that the United States claims to be. We recognize the differences between ourselves and take the time to celebrate and encourage the aspects of our cultures that make us different, one example being Caribana (which is the festival in Toronto that celebrates the diverse cultures and traditions in the Caribbean).

This article made me think about what is happening all over Canada and how citizens of our country aren’t being treated the same way as others. It made me think of the alterations that needed to be done to laws that were made to protect those citizens. But above all it made me think of the fact that regular people are suffering through third world conditions in our first world country.

1 comment:

  1. Heather, I remember reading the article when it was first published. I agree that reserves do create a physical divide between Aboriginals and the rest of society that hasn't been positive. I'm not sure, though, that changing the Indian Act will improve the lives of Native Canadians. Just because Canadians apparently embrace other cultures (evidence: Caribana), doesn't mean the people of those cultures do not experience racism at a systemic level.