Canada was colonized at the expense of its Indigenous Peoples. The British started the forced assimilation and cultural genocide but the federated Dominion of Canada continued the policy in 1867 with its first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald.
Canada used four primary tools to destroy Indigenous 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 Government of Canada oversaw Christian mission work and mandated most residential school administration to Christian churches. The result was two Canada’s; one for those of privilege, European colonists; one for those without a future, “Indians.”
Most church organizations apologized for their roles in Indian Residential Schooling. Federal, provincial and territorial governments apologized to Canada’s Inidgenous Peoples. Unfortunately, very little has changed to include First Nation, Inuit and Métis rights into Canada and resolve iniquities embedded in the country. This is because the Doctrine of Discovery and its Framework of Colonization still function to continue colonization and assimilation.
As part of the assimilation process, modern community infrastructure and economies were only extended to Indigenous communities when it served corporate interests or furthered colonization. The more north or isolated a community was, the less infrastructure it received. Current gaps in Indigenous health care, education, housing, nutrition, policing, safe drinking water, economies, justice and more are reflections of infrastructure levels currently available to Indigenous communities. Health problems, suicide rates, poverty, lack of housing and etc. are all consequences of the assimilation process.
CAID is about a practical approach to rebuilding what was destroyed; Indigenous societal infrastructure and a shared destiny in Canada. Through a culturally respectful consultation process, Indigenous and mainstream rights can be harmonized to create an underlay for detailed consultation, infrastructure rebuilding, the reconciliation of rights, culturally respectful healing, resource and land management, and programs for service delivery.
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