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Last Updated September 15, 2015

Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (1996)


Volume 1: Looking Forward, Looking Back



A Thanksgiving Address


Opening the Door


1. Getting Started

1. Interpreting the Mandate
2. Looking Ahead
3. Imperatives for Change
4. A Matter of Trust


2. From Time Immemorial: A Demographic Profile

1. Historical Population Levels
2. Current Population
2.1 North American Registered Indian Population
2.2 Non-Status Population
2.3 The Métis Population
2.4 The Inuit Population
3. Projected Population Growth


Part one: The Relationship in Historical Perspective


3. Conceptions of History

1. Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Approaches to History
2. An Historical Framework
2.1 Stage 1: Separate Worlds
2.2 Stage 2: Contact and Co-operation
2.3 Stage 3: Displacement and Assimilation
2.4 Stage 4: Negotiation and Renewal


4. Stage One: Separate Worlds

1. People of the Dawn: The Mi’kmaq
2. Iroquoians and the Iroquois
3. The Blackfoot Confederacy
4. The Northwest Coast
5. Inuit Innovation
6. Conclusion


5. Stage Two: Contact and Co-operation 

1. The Innu, the Wendat and the Fur Trade
2. The Royal Proclamation of 1763
3. Early Patterns of Treaty Making
3.1 Prior Traditions of Treaty Making — Confederacies in North America
3.2 Prior Traditions of Treaty Making — The European Experience
3.3 Pre-Confederation Treaties in Canada
3.4 Understanding Treaties and the Treaty Relationship 4. Conclusion


6. Stage Three: Displacement and Assimilation

1. The Imposition of a Colonial Relationship
2. The Forging of Métis Identity
3. Treaty Making in Ontario, the West and the North
3.1 The 1836 Manitoulin and Saugeen Treaties
3.2 The Lake Huron and Lake Superior Treaties of 1850
4. The Numbered Treaties
4.1 The Selkirk Treaty (1817)
4.2 Treaties 1 and 2 (1871)
4.3 The Northwest Angle Treaty — Treaty 3
4.4 Treaties 4, 5, 6 and 7
4.5 Northern Treaties: 8, 9, 10 and 11
5. Differing Assumptions and Understandings
6. Non-Fulfilment of Treaties
7. Restoring the Spirit of the Treaties
8. Extending Measures of Control and Assimilation
9. Conclusion


7. Stage Four: Negotiation and Renewal

1. Legislative and Constitutional Attempts: From the White Paper to Charlottetown, 1969-1992
2. The Role of the Courts
3. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference: The Emergence of Internationalism
4. Conclusion


Part two: False Assumptions and a Failed Relationship


8. Introduction

1. False Assumptions
2. The Abuse of Power
3. The Four Policies in Brief
4. New False Assumptions


9. The Indian Act

1. The Paradox of Indian Act Reform
2. Indian Sovereignty and the Royal Proclamation of 1763
3. Indian Policy: Protection, Civilization, and Assimilation
4. Civilization to Assimilation: Indian Policy Formulated
5. The Gradual Civilization Act: Assimilating Civilized Indians
6. End of the Tripartite Imperial System
7. The Gradual Enfranchisement Act: Responsible Band Government
8. The Indian Act and Indians: Children of the State
9. The Indian Act: Oppressive Measures 9.1 Protection of the Reserve Land Base
9.2 Band Government and Law-Making Powers
9.3 Enfranchisement
9.4 Reserve Justice Administration
9.5 Attacks on Traditional Culture
9.6 Liquor Offences
9.7 Pool Room Prohibition
9.8 Sale of Agricultural Products
9.9 Indian Legal Claims
9.10 The Pass System
9.11 Indian Agents
9.12 Indian Voting Rights
9.13 Indian Women
9.14 Indian Status and Band Membership
10. Post-War Indian Policy Reform: Everything Old is New Again
11. The 1951 Indian Act Revision
12. The Modern Era: Contrasting Assumptions and Models of Self-Government
13. Conclusion


10. Residential Schools

1. The Vision and Policies of Residential School Education
1.1 The Vision
1.2 Changing Policies
2. Systemic Neglect: Administrative and Financial Realities
3. Discipline and Abuse
4. Epilogue
5. The Need for a Public Inquiry


11. Relocation of Aboriginal Communities

1. Why Relocations Took Place
1.1 Administrative Relocations
1.2 Development Relocations
2. Administrative Relocation
2.1 To Make Things Easier for Government
2.2 To Improve the Lives of Aboriginal People
3. Development Relocation
3.1 The Saugeen and the Bruce Peninsula
3.2 Getting the Songhees Out of the Way (1911)
3.3 The Métis of Ste. Madeleine and the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act (1935)
3.4 The Cheslatta T’en and the Kemano Hydro Project
3.5 The Chemawawin Cree and the Grand Rapids Dam
4. The Effects of Relocation
4.1 The Relationship to the Land, Environment and Culture
4.2 Economic Effects
4.3 Health Effects 4.4 Social and Political Effects
4.5 Effects on the Relationship Between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal People
5. Relocation and Responsibility
5.1 Responsibility of Governments
5.2 Establishing Standards for Relocation
5.3 Proposals for Reform


12. Veterans

1. Early Military Service
2. The First World War
3. Between the Wars
4. The Second World War
4.1 Enlistment
4.2 Community Support
4.3 Military Service
4.4 Veterans Benefits
4.5 The Veterans’ Land Act
5. The Post-War Years
5.1 The Parliamentary Hearings of 1946-47
5.2 The Korean War
5.3 Testimony at the Royal Commission’s Hearings
6. Epilogue


13. Conclusions


Part three: Building the Foundations of a Renewed Relationship


14. The Turning Point


15. Rekindling the Fire

1. Finding Common Ground Between Cultures
2. Diverse Peoples, Common Goals
3. Words Are Not Enough
4. Meeting on the Trickster’s Ground
5. Spirituality
6. The Land That Supports Us
7. Métis and Inuit Cultures
8. Ceremonies and Symbols
9. Cultural and Social Relations
10. Culture and Economy
11. Culture and Government
12. Charting the Future with Insights from the Past


16. The Principles of a Renewed Relationship

1. The Basic Principles

1.1 The First Principle: Mutual Recognition
1.2 The Second Principle: Mutual Respect
1.3 The Third Principle: Sharing
1.4 The Fourth Principle: Mutual Responsibility
2. Maintaining the Relationship
3. Conclusion


Appendix A The Commission’s Terms of Reference


Appendix B Biographical Notes on Commissioners


Appendix C Abridged Tables of Contents, Volumes 2-5

Appendix D The Royal Proclamation of 1763


Appendix E Summary of Recommendations in Volume 1