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Canadian Politics Aboriginal Politics In Canada Essay

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"Aboriginal peoples have achieved considerable clarity and compromise in devising twentieth-century means of expressing their shared wishes to continue to live as Aboriginal people, with adequate political and economic arrangements."(Bickerton, p. 443) Native people have fought and struggled for a very long time to attain representative rights that are important to their survival as a collectivity. Since the implementation of the White Paper in 1969, the Aboriginal people have fought long and hard over the past thirty years to secure the interests that are important to them. This dispute has resulted in strife and disharmony within Canadian society and has not been an easy task for the Aboriginal people to overcome. It has been a continuous conflict and a long and winding road, however the Aboriginal people have made significant political gains in Canada during recent decades.

"Thirty years ago, the federal government published a White Paper on Indian Policy that assumed the irrelevance of the founding treaties and argued for an end to any distinctions between Indians and other Canadian citizens."(Abele, p.252) Needless to say, after this report was published the Aboriginal people were not content with its proposals and pursued it in a very negative way. The fact that the government made clear that it would not accept Aboriginal rights claims and that there should be no special relationship between Aboriginal people and the rest of Canada made them very angry. Equality was something that imposed on their existence as a distinct people and culture.

"After this White Paper was issued the National Indian Brotherhood immediately responded with a statement declaring that "...the policy proposals put forward by the Minister of Indian Affairs are not acceptable to the Indian people of Canada...We view this as a policy designed to divest us of our aboriginal, residual and statutory rights. If we accept this policy and in the process lose our rights and our lands, we become willing partners in cultural genocide. This we cannot do." "(Frideres, p.125) This response towards the White Paper posed as the initial force that would open the eyes of the Aboriginal people and help them see that they had to fight in order to sustain their appropriate and justified rights. This struggle that had to be defeated in order to gain what was rightfully theirs, brought about various social movements and Native Organizations. These new organizations knew that in order to attain their objectives they had to work together as one unit, for the purpose of preserving their common culture and language. They began to speak out about their life long struggle and question what roles they should possess in Canadian society. The years of political struggle came to an end with this overwhelming response that came about as a result of the White Paper. This response can be seen as a new insight that provided the basis under which the Aboriginal people would begin to seek the recognition that they have never received in Canada.

Several social movements and Native Organizations evolved after the implementation of the White Paper in 1969. These organizations called for a significant change in the Aboriginal people's position in Canada as compared to that of non-Aboriginal people. "The release of the White Paper triggered the rise of national and provincial organizations as advocates in the arena of high politics. Their role was reinforced through the process of constitutional patriation and conflicts over land and resource development. Some of the more influential organizations that developed were the National Indian Broth...

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