Have you heard conflicting information about Indigenous history and you’re not sure what to believe?
If you want to know the truth of Canada’s history, then you have come to the right place. But, before we get into it… why was the truth covered up in the first place?
Indigenous people have always known Canada’s history… but many Canadians have never heard the stories or learned about the challenges that have faced Indigenous communities throughout history.
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The reason the truth is often avoided in Canadian history is because it’s often dark and complicated. Canada’s history is rooted in the oppression of Indigenous people – dating all the way back to the creation of Canada. Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of the land – land that was ultimately taken away from Indigenous people.
As a result, the people with the power control the story – and the truth behind Canadian history doesn’t always make for a pleasant story or something nice to teach children in schools. But, now, since more information is coming out about the true history of oppression in Canada, more people are interested in learning the truth of Canada’s history.
It can be a bit confusing – especially when you were taught one thing in school and are now learning something different!
That’s why today we’re explaining 8 Key Moments in HISTORY for Indigenous Canada that will help you understand the Truth of the History of Indigenous People in Canada.
The First Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Indian Act Of 1876
The Indian Act is a Canadian federal law that governs Indian status, bands, and Indian reserves. Basically, it allows the Canadian federal government to control the affairs and day-to-day lives of registered Indians and reserve communities. It can range from political control to controlling how Indigenous people practice their cultures and traditions.
The Indian Act has undergone many amendments since 1876, but it is still largely in place today the same as it was back then.
This is one of the first and primary ways Canada has asserted control over Indigenous people.
The Second Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Creation Of Residential Schools In 1884
In 1884, amendments to the Indian Act of 1876 allowed the creation of Indian residential schools which were funded and operated by the Government of Canada and churches.
The schools were created to make Indigenous children assimilate into Canadian culture.
Children at these schools were forced to adopt European languages, religions, and routines – basically forcing them to abandon their Indigenous language, cultural beliefs, and way of life.
Experiences at these schools were often traumatic and still impact the lives of many adult Indigenous people today.
The Third Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is Residential Schools Becoming Mandatory In 1920
In 1920, the 1876 Indian Act was amended again to make residential schools mandatory for every Indigenous child aged 7 to 16. This pulled Indigenous children out of their homes and forced them to live at residential schools instead.
It’s estimated that over 150,000 Indian, Inuit, and Métis children ages 4 to 16 attended Indian residential schools.
The Fourth Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Residential School Network Expansion In 1930
In 1930, more than 80 residential schools were in operation across Canada – the most at any one time in history. At this time, enrollment expanded to over 17,000 Indigenous children and residential schools had been operating for nearly fifty years.
The Fifth Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Sixties Scoop
The Sixties Scoop was a period of time between the late 1950s and the early 1980s.
More amendments to the Indian Act gave provinces control over child welfare on reserves. During this time, more than 20,000 children were “scooped” from their homes and adopted into non-Indigenous families, which left many children feeling like they lost their cultural identity.
The Sixth Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement In 2007
It wasn’t until 2007 that the truth about the residential schools really came to light. That year, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement provided compensation to survivors – including payments based on the number of years the person attended a residential school.
The Agreement also focused on funding and supporting Indigenous health – including addressing claims of abuse from those who attended the schools.
This Agreement also established the funds for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – which would go on to fully research what was going on at residential schools and seek justice for the survivors.
The Seventh Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Truth And Reconciliation Commission In 2015
In 2015, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a final report on the residential school system and the experiences of survivors. The TRC called Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples “cultural genocide” and called for 94 actions aimed recovering from the legacy of residential schools and assisting the reconciliation process.
The Eighth Key Moment In History For Indigenous Canada Is The Uncovering Of Graves In 2021
The legacy of the residential schools continues all the way into recent history. The last Indian residential school, located in Saskatchewan, didn’t close until 1996.
In 2021, 215 unmarked graves were found at a former residential school. One month later, 251 graves were found at another.
This lead to a huge search where the government of British Columbia committed $12 million to helping First Nations search for more unmarked children’s graves. 160 undocumented and unmarked graves were later found on Penelakut Island.
The discovery of these graves is really what has pushed the issue of residential schools into the public eye – leading to a search for truth about Canada’s history.
If you want to learn more about indigenous people, cultures, practices, and beliefs, visit our website, Tribal Trade Co., for tons of resources at your fingertips.