Presentation on theme: "To what extent has Canada affirmed collective rights?"— Presentation transcript:
To what extent has Canada affirmed collective rights?
What are collective rights? Rights held by Canadians who belong to one of several groups in society. They are recognized and protected by Canada’s constitution. Why do only some people have collective rights? Collective rights recognize the founding peoples of Canada. Canada wouldn’t exist today without the contribution of these peoples.
Who holds collective rights in Canada? Aboriginal peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit people Francophones including the Metis Anglophones
FIRST NATIONS COLLECTIVE RIGHTS THE NUMBERED TREATIES
These medals were struck to commemorate the Numbered Treaties. This medal dates from The images are meant to convey a specific message. What was it? What clues are there in the images?
Eleven "Numbered Treaties" were signed between 1871 and 1921 as the Canadian government began to pursue settlement, farming and resource development in the west and north of the country. The terms of the treaties differed, but in most cases First Nations agreed to share their land and resources in exchange for education, hunting and fishing rights, reserves, farming assistance and annuities.
For example, Treaty 7 made provisions for one square mile of land for each Indian family, plus a limited supply of cattle, some farm equipment (one plow for each band) and a small amount of treaty and ammunition money. The treaty also made limited commitments on the part of the Queen to provide education for children and in some cases, medical services.
This map shows the location of First Nation reserves in Alberta. RESERVES Land set aside for the exclusive use of First Nations
Both the Canadian government and the First Nations had their own reasons for signing the Numbered Treaties. Use the following pictures to determine what the reasons could have been.
The eradication of the buffalo meant social and economic upheaval for some First Nations peoples. They saw the Treaties as a way to secure their future.
BC had joined Confederation on the condition that Canada would build a railway within ten years to link the province with the rest of Canada. The railway also allowed a large number of immigrants to migrate to Canada’s West in hopes of a better life. They had been promised land by the government. Both of these issues required that Canada obtain land from the First Nations.
Small pox epidemics had taken a horrible toll on the First Nations both socially and economically.
Both First Nations and Canada’s government wanted to avoid wars over territory like those happening in the United States. The treaties provided a peaceful way of meeting the needs of both groups.
Do you feel that the needs of both parties - the Canadian government and the First Nations - were equal? Did one group need the Treaties more than the other? Did both groups benefit equally?? WHAT DO YOU THINK?
The perspective of each group played a role in how they negotiated and interpreted the Treaties:
Treaty negotiations took place in several languages and relied on interpreters. Sometimes meaning or connotation was lost in the translation and the two parties came away with a different view of what had been agreed to.
First Nations recorded the Treaties in their own language as oral histories while Canada’s government recorded them in written English. What problems could arise from this? Sometimes the oral history and the written word don’t agree.
First Nations never believed that land could be “owned” - they did not understand the European practice of fencing land - and therefore, see the Treaties as an agreement to share the land with the Canadian government; however, the government believes the First Nations gave up their land under the Treaties.
Treaty Number Six has a provision for health care. One clause allows a medicine chest to be kept in the Indian agent’s home for the use and benefit of the First Nations. Some people felt that this provision extended to everyone who signed the Numbered Treaties. Others went so far as to later interpret this provision as an eternal promise by the government to provide free health care to all First Nations people in Canada.
Numbered Treaties Video inac.gc.ca/al/hts/cys/index-eng.asp
“What collective rights do official language groups have under the Charter?”
What are official language minorities? Canada has two official languages, English and French French is spoken predominantly in Quebec In Nunavut, Inuktitut is predominantly spoken But what makes a language a minority?
Minority means a small group within a larger group Francophones (people who speak French) who live in Alberta are considered to be part of a language minority Francophone schools affirm the identity of Francophone students, their families, and their communities Anglophones (people who speak English) are considered a language minority in Quebec There are Francophone schools throughout Canada just as there are Anglophone schools throughout Quebec
What are the Charter rights of official language groups? Official bilingualism: sections 16 to 20 of the Charter establish French and English as official languages of Canada, and the right of Canadian citizens to conduct their affairs with the federal government in either official language These sections also establish New Brunswick as an officially bilingual province
Continued Minority language education rights: section 23 of the Charter says that a French-speaking or English-speaking minority population of sufficient size in any province has the right to publicly funded schools that serve their language community this made it possible for Francophones to maintain their own education rights in a predominantly English-speaking nation
Official Languages Act The Official Languages Act of 1969 stated that: “French and English to be the official languages of Canada, and under which all federal institutions must provide their services in English or French at the customer's choice. The Act (passed following the recommendation of the Royal Commission on BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM) created the office of Commissioner of Official Languages to oversee its implementation. Politically, the Act has been supported by all federal parties, but the public's understanding and acceptance of it has been mixed. In June 1987 the Conservative government introduced an amended Official Languages Act to promote official language minority rights.”BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
The Metis: descendants of First Nations peoples and French settlers The Metis are one of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples under Canada’s constitution However, unlike the First Nations, the Metis do not have any historic treaties with Canada’s government They believe they have inherent rights, which are rights they have strictly because they are First Peoples
Metis Today, the Metis are represented in Canada by several organizations Two are in Alberta: the Metis Nation of Alberta and the Metis Settlements General Council The Metis speak French, therefore they are Francophones
What laws recognize the collective rights of the Metis? Quick timeline: : Metis-led Red River Resistance resulted in the Manitoba Act, passed by Canada’s parliament, which made Manitoba a bilingual province and gave land rights to the Metis people : Canada’s government changed its mind and instead offered issued “scrip” to the Metis, which was a document that could be exhanged for land. In other words, instead of establishing Metis lands in Manitoba, they gave them a choice: accept scrip or become Treaty Indians under the Numbered Treaties (which do you think they would want?)
1885: the Northwest Resistance sought to protect Metis lands in what is today Saskatchewan where the railway was being laid and settlers were moving in Two different interpretations of this event: the Metis view it as a way to assert their rights, the government saw it as a threat to their authority 1938: after being forced to move their settlements constantly over a long period, L’Association des Metis de l’Alberta et des Territoires du Nord- Ouest lobbied Alberta’s government to set aside land for the Metis
Alberta’s government then passed the Metis Population Betterment Act, which established twelve temporary Metis settlements : unfortunately, these settlements still did not give the Metis control of their land and were closed when the land became less useful for farming and hunting 1982: the Metis lobbied for recognition of Metis rights in Canada’s constitution and were successful
Finally, in 1990, Alberta’s government enacted legislation under which the Metis received the Metis settlements as a permanent land base with the right to manage their own affairs. The legislation included: Constitution of Alberta Amendment Act Metis Settlements Accord Implementation Act Metis Settlements Act Metis Settlements Land Protection Act 2003: Supreme Court ruled that the Metis have the right to hunt and fish as one of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples under the constitution
How do the Metis see their rights? In 1996, the president of the Metis Nation of Alberta, Audrey Poitras said: “One of the fundamental aspects of Metis rights is our ability to define ourselves. It’s not up to the government, or non- Metis people, to define who is Metis. Only the Metis Nation itself can make those kinds of distinctions.”
Different Perspectives of the Treaties and of Collective Rights in Canada The following are quotes and ideas taken from different points in history from different perspectives concerning those who hold collective rights in Canada. From whose perspective are they from?
1876 “What I will promise, and what I believe and hope you will take, is to last as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow....I see the Queen’s Councillors taking the Indian by the hand saying we are brothers, we will lift you up, we will teach you, if you will learn, the cunning of the white man....I see Indians gathering, I see gardens growing and houses building; I see them receiving money from the Queen’s commissioners to purchase clothing for their children; at the same time, I see them enjoying their hunting and fishing as before, I see them retaining their old modes of living with the Queen’s gift in addition.”
1876 “What we speak of will last as long as the sun shines and the river runs. We are looking to the future of our children’s children.” 1879 “Residential schools allow “aggressive civilization” by separating the children from the parents....Residential schools make a certain degree of civilization within the reach of Indians despite the deficiencies of their race....The Indians realize they will disappear.”
1939 “The economic adjustment of the Indians to modern life is a large problem. We need to make the Indians lead the normal life of the ordinary Canadian citizen.” 1946 “We made treaties with Great Britain and the trust was given to the Canadian government to live up to our treaties. Ever since the first Treaties, First Nations have felt that Canadian officials have not complied with those treaties.”
1969 “Canada cannot be a just society and keep discriminatory legislation on its statute book. The barriers created by special legislation, such as treaties, can generally be struck down. The treaties need to be reviewed to see how they can be equitably ended.” 1970 “To preserve our culture it is necessary to preserve our status, rights, lands and traditions. Our treaties are the basis of our rights....the treaties are historic, moral, and legal obligations.....The government must declare that it accepts the treaties as binding.....” 1982 “I speak of a Canada where men and women of Aboriginal ancestry, of French and British heritage, of the diverse cultures of the world, demonstrate the will to share this land in peace, in justice, and with mutual respect.”
“If Canada is to survive, it can only survive in mutual respect and in love for one another.”