Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Indian Act 'will soon be history': FSIN chief

The Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says that the Indian Act "will soon be history." One could only hope. However, when this occurs, the Indian tax exemptions contained in section 87, and not the treaties, will also vanish.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision, the definition of "Status Indian" must be reworked by 2010 to be more fair. The daunting task of determining such definitions will prove challenging indeed. Many Canadians have aboriginal blood. And, given the history of settlement, most Canadians are a Heinz 57 of races. It is easier for individuals, not groups, chiefs, or courts to decide what parts of their lineage to identify with, or simply identify with all of it. The human family is just that. We are all distantly related.

Assimilation has been falsely cast as an evil intention of European cultural imperialists. Of course, the idea that indigenous peoples could assimilate with the settling races, if true, would actually be a compliment to the latter. Regardless, this assimilation has already occurred. Indigenous peoples already live in the milieu of a capitalist and democratic society, and have little choice but to embrace it. The alternative is for them to live on reserves in poverty, isolation, and without human or economic rights. Many have chosen to leave.

Hopefully one day such rights will come to the reserves as well. In the meantime, that Indian Act just keeps getting in the way...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Assimilation has been falsely cast as an evil intention of European cultural imperialists."

It depends on what one's definition of evil is. Regardless, the Indian Act and assimilation was absolutely facilitated in the spirit of malice.

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