Peterborough Examiner – a somewhat less than objective publication
The rotten core of the Indian Act, it seems to me, is this single line, clause 20, section 1). “No Indian is lawfully in possession of land in a reserve unless, with the approval of the Minister, possession of the land has been allotted to him by the council of the band.” If you live on a reserve, you don’t really own your home, or the land on which it sits. You borrow it – sort of. Perhaps you pass it on to your children, or perhaps you don’t. It’s not your right to do so.
In 1969, Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chretien proposed abolishing the Indian Act and ending every form of special status based on race in Canada. You can still read that document, the White Paper, on the Internet. It was couched in the idealistic language of Pierre Trudeau’s Just Society. It died because of opposition from the chiefs.
Is aboriginal anger justified? Certainly. Every Canadian should be furious at how this country’s First Peoples have been and are being treated. Will illegal blockades focus public and political attention on the problem? Maybe.