PLO B2 and The Indian Act

So let’s start by talking about PLO B2. At first glance you can tell that this PLO is quite broad and complicated, kind of like the Indian Act. A few weeks ago I knew nothing about the Indian Act, and I didn’t really have an understanding of PLO B2. Now though, be it from discussions in class, handouts, or home research I can say that I have at least a partial understanding of almost all the things in PLO B2, especially the Indian Act which interested me.

As for meeting B2 there were a couple other PLOs that helped allow me to “Evaluate the impact of interactions between aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada from 1815 – 1914.”  Including C3, which talks a lot about Louis Riel and the Métis of Red River. This PLO helped give me a base understanding of the type of relations between Aboriginals, the government, and the various other ethnic groups in Canada.

Basically the Indian Act is a controversial set of laws that was put in place way back in 1867 and decides pretty much everything to do with registered Aboriginal People’s lives. In an article written in the indigenous foundations section of the UBC website Erin Hanson wrote “The Indian Act is a Canadian federal law that governs in matters pertaining to Indian status, bands, and Indian reserves. Throughout history it has been highly invasive and paternalistic, as it authorizes the Canadian federal government to regulate and administer in the affairs and day-to-day lives of registered Indians and reserve communities.”

Since its origins the Indian act has been revised several times, and to this day it still does not represent the Aboriginal people fairly or equally. In 1884 an amendment put Residential Schools in place, which is quite the topic of its own. It wasn’t until 124 years later in 2008 that the government to publicly apologized for enacting Residential Schools. There were a few more outrageous laws added to the Indian act throughout the years, one being the ban of religious ceremonies including the Sun Dance. Another, the restriction of the use of a lawyer by Aboriginals for the purpose of making a claim against Canada.

As I read and listened about the Indian Act I had a bunch of questions, the main being why the government doesn’t just abolish the Indian Act completely, instead of simply making amendments where needed. The answer is unclear and intricate, which is why I think nothing major has been done about it. However what is clear is that there are many reasons for it to be scrapped all together. For now things stay the same, maybe even for the good, only time will tell. In the meantime you can read the entire Indian Act at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/i-5/   

Sources:

http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/government-policy/the-indian-act.html

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/letters/todays-letters-is-it-time-to-scrap-the-indian-act