The following section will discuss some of the historical
issues that surround Aboriginal people in Canada. There are a
variety of topics that have come into discussion inside and
outside of Aboriginal communities across Canada. Identity,
labeling, land and resources, and education and health are just
a few of the contested historical issues in Canada.
The Treaty and Scrip processes set off a drastic change in
the relationship between the government and Aboriginal Nations.
From this moment on, land became a central issue between
colonial and Aboriginal interests. For many Aboriginal people,
their identity and sense of being is traced back to their
connection to the land. The Treaty and Scrip processes disrupted
this connection and, in doing so, set off a chain reaction of
issues that are intricately tied to the land. In the late 1970s
and 1980s, a movement on behalf of Aboriginal peoples erupted
into questions and situations that the government could no
longer ignore. For example, Bill C-31 is a piece of legislation
that acts to reinstate many individuals, most of whom are women,
who had lost their status as a result of their marrying a
non-Status Indian. Along with this came the push for self
government and resolution of land claims.
Education is another piece of contested history. Residential
schools were set-up across Canada as a means of educating and
civilizing the masses. However, residential schools were also
the source of great strife for many Aboriginal children who were
denied their right to speak their language and practice their
ceremonies. In saying this, there are also those who feel they
benefited from attaining a European-based education. Like all
the issues in this section, the residential schools’ issue is
The last topic in this section is environmental degradation.
It is an issue that once again takes us back to the connection
to the land. The effects of excavations, extractions and over
harvesting have lead to massive resource depletion in areas that
were traditionally abundant in resources: resources that are
often attributed to being given to the people by the Creator.
Though these issues persist, Aboriginal people are
persevering, finding solutions and building strong communities
for future generations.