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Negotiation and Implementation of Impact and Benefit Agreement Toolkit

Meaningful Consultation in Canada: The Alternative to Forced Aboriginal Assimilation

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Last Updated September 15, 2015





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UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People


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Canada was colonized at the expense of its Aboriginal Peoples. The British started the forced assimilation and cultural genocide of Aboriginal people in North America but the federated Dominion of Canada continued the policy after Canada’s 1867 confederation.

Canada’s official policy of forced Aboriginal assimilation started with its first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, and used four primary tools to destroy Aboriginal culture and infrastructure. They were: wardship, the Indian Act, forced relocation and forced residential schooling. Central in the Government of Canada’s plan was the utilization of the Christian church. The Canadian Department of Indian Affairs oversaw Christian mission work and mandated most of the residential school administration to Christian churches.

In the early 1900’s, as much as 50% of the Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their parents and communities died each year in the care of Canada’s Indian residential school system. There are conflicting reports as to when Indian residential schooling stopped in Canada, but they were all closed by 1996. As a result of forced assimilation and the Indian Residential school system, many Aboriginal people died in Canada as a matter of policy in the care of religious groups. There was no, and will never be an, excuse for the genocidal treatment of Aboriginal people by government and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

CAID is about facing the truth, reconciling Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rights, and rebuilding what was destroyed; Aboriginal societal infrastructure and a shared destiny in Canada. This can all be accomplished through a process of meaningful consultation.




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