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Introduction to Indigenous Assimilation in Canada

The Crown’s purpose in Canada was the colonization of lands and the acquisition of natural resources. The obstacle to that was Indigenous Peoples. First, Indigenous Peoples had their sovereignty removed through the Doctrine of Discovery and then policies of assimilation were created to absorb the people.

Indigenous rights, lives and social structures are dictated to Indigenous people by the federal government. Over time, old methods of assimilation were retired, such as Indian Residential Schooling, while new methods, such as the alternate rights regime in section 35 of the Constitution Act, appeared. What has remained constant are the Doctrine of Discovery, assumed sovereignty and an evolving Framework of Colonization.

In this section of the website, we will share some background on assimilation policies and then discuss four newer methods in the machinery.

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