The Indian Act

This session focuses on several iterations of the Indian Act. First legislated in 1876, its many amendments have governed the lives of First Nations people across Canada in a myriad of ways, replacing traditional forms of indigenous leadership with band council and Indian Status systems, banning traditional indigenous practices, and imposing controls on Indigenous lives through the residential schools and pass systems.

Nevertheless, for all the damage it does and has done, it holds the Canadian government to promises it has made in the Treaties negotiated over the past five centuries. Recognizing that this highly colonial piece of legislation is poorly understood by settler populations, this session explores a series of different amendments to the 1876 Indian Act, and concludes with a discussion of efforts by the 21st Century Trudeau government to replace it with what is called the Rights and Recognition Framework.

This session ran for the first time in Fall 2018 and concluded with a talk by Russell Diabo.