The Indian Act 1876 Basic Summary All the laws related to Aboriginals are put together in one act. Under the act, Native Canadians were not legally qualified to make decisions for themselves. They were treated as children. The Canadian government could make decisions concerning the Natives without consulting them. The Act legally defines who is a Native Canadian – “Indian” Excerpt from the Indian Act: 3.3 The Term “Indian” means First. Any male person of Indian blood reputed to belong to a particular band; Secondly. Any child of such person. Thirdly. Any woman who is or was lawfully married to such person. Excerpt Continued Provided that any Indian woman marrying any other than an Indian or a non-treaty Indian shall cease to be an Indian in any respect within the meaning of this Act. How did the Indian Act affect First Nations women? If a Aboriginal wanted to be a Canadian citizen… The individual Aboriginal must give up their status as a Native and all the things that go with that. Only Canadian citizens were allowed to vote so Natives were not allowed to vote in elections. In fact the Act defined a “Person” – “as an individual other than an Indian”. The Act affected traditional Aboriginal government The Indian Act made new rules about who could qualify as members of a band. Membership in a band determined who could vote in band elections. Traditionally women were often equally involved in Native government practices. Elders were advisors. The Indian Act took away the influence of women and Elders. The Indian Act Makes Cultural Activities Illegal In 1884 the potlatch was banned. In 1895 Natives are not allowed to wear traditional clothing or participate in traditional dances. You lose your Native status if… You earn a university degree You are out of Canada for over five years. What was the goal of the Indian Act? Assimilation Definition: to make similar to… Quotes from Aboriginal People [The Indian Act has] deprived us of our independence, our dignity, our respect and our responsibility. June Delisle Instead of implementing the treaties and offering much needed protection to First Nations rights, the Indian Act subjugated to colonial rule the very people whose rights it was suppose to protect. Harold Cardinal How do these two people interpret the Indian Act? References for the images “Aboriginal: Treaties and Relations”. 2008. Canada in the Making. Nov 23, 2010. http://www1.canadiana.org/citm/images/i mages.