The Indian Magna Carta History Essay

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was an of import papers that recognized Aboriginal rights and sought to set up legal and just relationships between the British colonisers in Canada and the Aborigines who were already on the land ( Lecture 2 ) . The Announcement was created to forbid the autonomous British from claiming Aboriginal lands in North America without dialogues between the Crown and the Aboriginals. These are the two groups that created the Proclamation and this relationship finally became the “ fiducial relationship ” in which the Crown Acts of the Apostless in the involvements of the Aboriginals ( Borrows 169 ) . This legal entitlement to the Aboriginals was a first measure to self-government and therefore the Proclamation has been considered the “ Indian Magna Carta ” for this ground. The Magna Carta established bounds on British powers and the Proclamation did the same thing by authorising the disfranchised group, the Aborigines.

The Proclamation set Forth that land and resources could merely be taken from Aborigines if there was consent between the Aboriginals and the Crown. Furthermore, private parties could non purchase their land. It could merely be sold to them by the Crown, who would foremost be required to purchase it from Aboriginals through common understanding. This type of understanding set a case in point for pact devising between the British and the Aboriginals where at that place had to be some signifier of consent and compensation for any understandings made.

Although this Magna Carta-like papers protected Aboriginal lands from British colony, it still established the British as a supreme power in the land with statements like “ aˆ¦parts of our rules and territoriesaˆ¦our sovereignty. ” The British were giving the Aboriginals self-determination, separate from British colony, while besides set uping their power in a non-threatening mode ( Borrows 170 ) . Borrows gives two illustrations of this British power. First, the British were still enforcing their Torahs over the Aboriginals despite transfusing a feeling of self-governance separate from British colony. While the British were non able to prehend their land, they were still using their condemnable Torahs to the Aboriginals therefore sabotaging self-governance. This power is demonstrated in the Proclamation where it is stated that “ aˆ¦and we do farther expressly conjoin and necessitate all Officersaˆ¦within the Territories reserved as aforesaid for the usage of the said Indians, to prehend and grok all Persons whatever, who standing charged with Treason, Misprisions of Treason, Murders, or other Felonies or Misdemeanours. ” Borrows besides identifies that many Aborigines were seeking British aid in make up one’s minding how to administer their land for economic and military intents. While there was consent between land dialogues, the British were likely taking advantage of the Aboriginals and moving in their best involvements for land use, non the Aborigines ( ibid. ) .

While the Proclamation has a few statements that undermined its intent, it is by and large a papers that established self-governance for Aborigines in a land where other stronger and influential powers were germinating. Like the Magna Carta, the Proclamation limited the powers of the crowned head but still asserted their overall influence. The Aboriginals were able to negociate land purchases with the Crown without the hazard of losing their land without understanding. The Royal Proclamation acted as a case in point for other pact processes that would affect some understanding and compensation and allowed for the Aborigines to keep their rights and land at a clip when a new power was predominating.

What were the fortunes in which the Indian Act was created? What was its intent?

When Britain gave independency to Canada, Canada developed a incorporate piece of statute law that regulated how registered Indians should be handled in Canada, the Indian Act of 1876. At this clip of independency, Canadian authorities was seeking to construct up their image as a universe power by constructing a incorporate state ( Milloy 2 ) . This could non be done if the Canadian authorities did non hold a relationship with the Aborigines in their state, who they saw as racially and culturally inferior ( Royal Commission ) . With that said the Indian Act was designed to specify who an Indian was and absorb them into Canadian civilization, therefore uniting the state and doing everyone a cultural Canadian. This was done by commanding the lives of Indians and doing their lives hard so that they would give up their Indian position and assimilate.

The initial end of the Indian Act was to absorb Aboriginals into Canadian civilization by restricting the definition of who was a position Indian. Indians were defined as “ wards of the province, ” intending that the authorities was fundamentally ordering their lives. Losing Indian position was really easy done under the Indian Act. Indian position was merely given to 1 ) males of Indian blood, 2 ) kids of these males and 3 ) adult females who married these males. Having position allowed for tax-exemption, runing rights on unoccupied land, free schooling and other authorities benefits. An Aboriginal, prior to 1985, could easy lose position through ways like 1 ) adult females get marrieding a non-Indian 2 ) enfranchisement 3 ) obtaining a university grade and 4 ) helping in the armed forces. It was easy to lose position, which was the purpose of the Canadian authorities. This would coerce the Aborigines to seek Canadian citizenship.

Over the old ages after the Indian Act was foremost drafted, the commissariats were strengthened in order to function the Act ‘s intent of Aboriginal assimilation more straight. The amendments were done to do Aboriginal life harder so that they would give up their position and give into Canadian citizenship and assimilate into Canadian civilization to unite the state. Some of the amendments included: authorities permission to take Aborigines from towns of 8,000 people or more, forbiding some Aboriginal ceremonials and doing residential schools mandatary. The last named amendment was important to assimilation and made the intent of the Indian Act really possible.

After 1951, more alterations were made to the Act to change by reversal its original intent. There was a growing in the accent on human rights and an apprehension by the authorities that the turning figure of Aboriginal would do it hard for them to command Aboriginal lives ( Royal Commission ) . While some of the Act ‘s judicial admissions are still integral, many of them have besides been removed like the three described in the old paragraph and the sexually prejudiced policies, like adult females ( and their kids ) losing position after get marrieding a non-Indian.

While the primary intent of the Indian Act is still to absorb Aboriginals into Canadian civilization, the Act has undergone alterations that make it less intrusive and let more self administration ( ex. leting set members to populate off-reserves but still take part in political personal businesss of their set ) . Despite alterations to the Act, it is still a papers with a racialist intent that deems Aboriginals as inferior to non-Aboriginals. There have been proposals to get rid of the Act but until so, Aborigines are still discriminated against lawfully and seen as people who need to be governed by an external province.


Borrows, John. “ Wampum at Niagara: Canadian Legal History, Self-Government, and the Royal Proclamation. ” Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada. Ed. Asch, Michael. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1998.

Milloy, John. “ Indian Act Colonialism: A Century of Dishonour, 1869-1969. ” Research Paper for the National Centre for First Nations Governance. West Vancouver: National Centre for First Nations Governance, 2008.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples ( 1996 )

Royal Proclamation 1763 ( U.K. )