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Politics & Leaders

Listen to CBC Report on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission

CBC’s As It Happens on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission

It’s a call for a nation-wide commitment to Reconciliation. After six years of hearings and testimony, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission put forward 94 recommendations to address the “cultural genocide” of Aboriginal peoples through Canada’s residential school system. Listen to interviews on CBC’s As It Happens to hear from the Commissioners

Read About Canada’s Indian Act

The Indian Act in the Canadian Encyclopedia
“The Indian Act is the principal statute through which the federal government administers Indian status, local First Nations governments and the management of reserve land and communal monies. It was first introduced in 1876 as a consolidation of previous colonial ordinances that aimed to eradicate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society” (Canadian Encyclopedia).

Understand Indigenous Historical Leaders of the Past

Harold Cardinal was elected chief of the Sucker Creek band in 1982-83 and was appointed vice-chief for the prairie region of the National Indian Brotherhood. Cardinal published the ‘Red Paper’ (titled Citizens Plus) that argued strongly against the assimilatory goals of the federal government’s White Paper (the Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy).

Harry Daniels was one of the founding members of the Saskatchewan Métis Society. He is most widely known as the man who negotiated the expressed inclusion of “Métis People” in the Canadian Constitution, thereby enshrining Métis rights in the constitution.

Walter Dieter was a Cree person of the Peepeekisis Indian Band in Saskatchewan. He was one of the founders of the National Indian Brotherhood and served as the first National Chief from 1968 to 1970.

Gabriel Dumont rose to political prominence in an age of declining buffalo herds and was concerned about the ongoing economic prosperity and political independence of his people. He is best known for his role in the 1885 North-West Resistance as a key Métis military commander and an ally of Louis Riel.

James Gladstone was Canada’s first Indigenous senator. He was president of the Indian Association of Alta (IAA) and three times was a delegate to Ottawa to discuss proposed changes in the Indian Act. He played a prominent part in the fight for better education, greater respect for treaty rights, and participation of Aboriginals in their own administration.

Elijah Harper was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Manitoba in 1981, in 1986 he was appointed to cabinet as Minister Without Portfolio Responsible for Native Affairs, and in 1987 was appointed as Minister of Northern Affairs. In 1990, while sitting as an opposition member in the Manitoba Legislature, he blocked the Canadian constitutional amendment known as the Meech Lake Accord due to a lack of participation of Indigenous peoples in the process.

Louis Riel led the Métis in two resistances during 1869-70 in Red River and in 1885 in the Saskatchewan District of the North-West Territories. He was instrumental in the creation of Manitoba as a province and is a centrally important figure in Métis history.

John Tootoosis was an influential First Nations leader in Saskatchewan. He was appointed chief of Poundmaker at the age of 20, and in 1959 he was elected as the first President of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians.

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