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"Indian Act is Racist": Owen Sound Sun Times

posted by dru Geography: Ontario Owen Sound Topics: Indigenous

May 30, 2007

"Indian Act is Racist": Owen Sound Sun Times

The editor at the Owen Sound Sun Times wrote an amazingly frank editorial (for a CanWest-owned paper), entitled "Indian Act is racist at heart and should be abolished". His opening line: "Canada is a an apartheid state."


Most reserves (the exceptions are communities that have negotiated self-government) still operate under the rule of the Indian Act, first authored in 1876 and "updated" several times since then.

This document is explicitly racist. It reduces aboriginal people to the status of powerless, landless tenants. It deprives them of property rights and inheritance rights, as any other Canadian would understand those terms. It gives Ottawa the power to seize Indian property virtually at will. It allows for reserve lands to be forcibly expropriated. It places limitations on who Indians on reserves can do business with. It contains clauses that lay out, in excruciating detail, how the government may seize the property of Indians deemed "mentally incompetent." It is a horror show.

The rotten core of the Indian Act, it seems to me, is this single line: Clause 20, Section 1) "No Indian is lawfully in possession of land in a reserve unless, with the approval of the Minister, possession of the land has been allotted to him by the council of the band."

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