Indigenous peoples of Canada have given more than a name to Canadian history

Dec 7th, 2014 | By | Category: Heritage Now

Wherever they landed in northern North America in 1497, on behalf of the English monarch, Henry VII, John Cabot and the small crew of the Matthew met no other human beings.

In 1501 a Spanish expedition visited Labrador, and “claimed to have acquired from the natives with whom they came into contact a fragment of a broken Italian sword and two silver earrings of Venetian manufacture. It has … been suggested … these must have been relics of the 1498 expedition, since Cabot had no contact with Native Americans in 1497.”

Yet when Jacques Cartier made his voyages on behalf of the King of France more than a generation later he met various native North Americans. On his journey up the St. Lawrence River in 1535 Cartier also officially visited two large Iroquoian villages, Stadacona and Hochelaga – more or less on the sites of present-day Quebec City and Montreal.

According to the probably most plausible story about the modern origins of the word Canada, at Stadacona Cartier asked the inhabitants the name of their land (or “village”), and understood them to say “Kanata.”  It is sometimes said that the St. Lawrence Iroquoians misunderstood Cartier, and thought he was just pointing to their cornfields. In any case, Cartier’s reports of his travels apparently inspired the early modern European map-makers who called the much wider St. Lawrence valley region of northeastern North America “Canada.”

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What the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 calls the “aboriginal peoples of Canada” (which “ includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada”) have given much more to modern Canadian history than a name.

In its still ringing and provocative conclusion,  Harold Innis’s now more than 90-year-old local classic, The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History, complains: “We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions.” (And 2020s apologies for this customary anglophone lexicon of the 1930s.)

Even in the early 21st century, relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians remain part of the “tradition of all the dead generations” which “weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” Political activism that began in the1960s and 1970s  has nonetheless helped make the Canadian Indigenous past a more important part of the wider Canadian future. And the Indigenous peoples of Canada (or First Nations) are now the fastest growing demographic group in the Canadian present.

(In 2011 just over 1.4 million Canadians reported themselves part of what Statistics Canada called the “Aboriginal identity population” — accounting for some 4.3% of the total population, Canada-wide. Between 2006 and 2011 the Non-Aboriginal identity population increased 5.2%, while the Aboriginal identity population grew almost four times faster, by a quite dramatic 20.1%! In 2016 the Aboriginal identity population accounted for 4.9%  of the total Canadian population.)

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In the more recent past as well such diverse researchers and writers as Jennifer Brown, Harold Cardinal, Olive Dickason, Robin Fisher, John Milloy, Arthur Ray, John Ralston Saul, Donald Smith, Bruce Trigger, Sylvia Van Kirk, Sally Weaver, and Richard White have brought us closer to Harold Innis’s failed realization of 1930.

The single most illuminating summary of these investigations is probably still the impressive first volume of the Historical Atlas of Canada, edited by R. Cole Harris of the University of British Columbia.

After reconnoitring the last ice age some 20,000 years ago, the first volume of the atlas (From the Beginning to 1800) outlines a current mainstream Western scientific view of the origins of  aboriginal peoples in the Americas.

About 11,000 or so years ago, the climate was changing and the great northern ice sheets had begun to retreat. At least the most southerly (and humanly populated) parts of present-day Canada were free of ice. More provocatively, in the northwest an ice-free passage had arisen, stretching all the way from present-day Alberta as far north as Alaska, which at this point was still joined to what is now Russia by a land bridge.

As the editors of the volume explain: “A cautious interpretation is that the first immigrants to the New World crossed into the unglaciated regions of Alaska and the Yukon some time before 12 000 BC on the land bridge connecting Asia and North America.”

And then: “Around 10 000 BC” descendants of these “Asiatic hunters of big game” with an early  “stone-tool technology … spread south along a corridor between melting Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets into the heart of the New World.”

Some present-day descendants of the Indigenous peoples of Canada do not accept this account of their origins. Their alternative theory is summarized in the title of Arthur Ray’s book of 1996,  I Have Lived Here Since the World Began: An Illustrated History of Canada’s Native People. The white men, these critics seem to be saying, are still trying to prove that John Cabot was at any rate onto something when he thought that Nova Scotia was really quite close to Japan.

So the first North Americans, today’s Western science explains, were themselves just very early immigrants from Asia. The Europeans who mistakenly called them Indians, because they thought they were somehow in India, were at least not entirely wrong. And all this only shows how the European-dominated mainstream culture in Canada today can still not entirely accept that the “New World” is a human habitat of ancient vintage in its own right — and that the aboriginal peoples of Canada have “lived here since the world began.”

Even many non-aboriginal Canadians today can agree that this critique has its own compelling logic. In the end, as a matter even of the highest Western science, there can be no completely certain and altogether settled answers to questions about the very deep human past.

The ghost of the Harold Innis who also published a book called The Bias of Communication — in which he placed a high value on the ancient “oral tradition” — arguably urges that both Indigenous activist and Western scientific views of Indigenous origins are worth bearing in mind. (And now Canada such Indigenous archaeologists as Paulette Stephens, whose 2021 book The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere “strongly disagrees with the claim by many in her field that there was little to no human activity in the Americas more than 12,000 years ago.”)

The first volume of the 1987 Historical Atlas of Canada in any case goes on to present much compelling archaeological evidence on the evolution of aboriginal peoples in northern North America, over the almost dozen millennia between 10,000 BC and, say, the arrival of John Cabot somewhere in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia in 1497.

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Certain striking impressions of this long early period arise as you browse through the early “plates” in the 1987 atlas.

The aboriginal peoples of Canada may have lived here since the world began (whenever that may have been). But the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Montagnais, Inuit, and Beothuk who greeted the French, Portuguese, Basque, and English cod fishermen (who began to visit Atlantic Canada in the 16th century, in the wake of John Cabot) — and the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Iroquoians who greeted Cartier in the 1530s and then Champlain in 1615 — were not living at all the same life as their ancestors in 10,000 BC.

For one thing, there was “Environmental Change After 9000 BC” (Plate 4). The temperature rose and the glaciers melted. The big game of an earlier era vanished, and new species of smaller dominant animals evolved.

“Vegetation Provinces” went through several different phases and geographic dispersions between 9000 BC and AD 1000. The great inland waterways of northern North America — in some respects a legacy of the retreating glaciers (or “ice sheets”) — arranged and re-arranged themselves (as they are still doing today, and no doubt with increasing degrees of human assistance, if that is quite the right word).

Human technology progressed as well. Very simple stone tools developed into more complex stone (and wooden and sometimes bone) tools and weapons. “Around 1000 BC pottery spread from Asia across northern Alaska to the Yukon coast and from the south to much of eastern Canada. The bow and arrow also spread rapidly, probably from a number  of independent sources” (Plate 8).

Hunting, fishing, and gathering remained crucial to the food supply. But agriculture began in a few hospitable places 1000 years before European contact in the 16th century: “Corn, domesticated in northern Mexico some 3500 years earlier, reached southern Ontario after AD 500. The cultivation of beans, sunflower, and squash followed later” (Plate 9).

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It is also clear enough that over their long history before European contact in the 16th century,  the diverse and various Indigenous peoples of Canada did not exactly stay in one place forever.

The French who moved into the lower St. Lawrence valley in the early 17th century, under the leadership of Samuel de Champlain, already had hints about all this. By the time Champlain arrived in the 1600s, the Iroquoians who had greeted Cartier at Stadacona and Hochelaga in the 1530s had vanished.

Exactly what happened to them remains an attractively unsolved mystery of early Canadian history. But one way or another they must have moved west, to the interior Great Lakes Iroquoian heartland of present-day northern New York and southern Ontario.

Plate 11 in the 1987 atlas similarly explains that it is “not known when the ancestors of the Paleo-Eskimos crossed from Asia to Alaska.” But: “About 4000 years ago a Paleo-Eskimo people, the Pre-Dorset, expanded rapidly eastward across Arctic Canada from Alaska.” This led to a so-called “Dorset culture” that “depended on caribou, muskoxen, and fish” in some areas, and “in others  … lived primarily on ringed seals and other sea mammals.”

Then: “By about AD 1000 the Thule people of northern Alaska,” who had developed new technologies for “the efficient hunting of bowhead whales,” using kayak and umiak boats and “harpoons attached to floats,” started to move east. Soon enough they had  “occupied most of Arctic Canada,” and largely absorbed and supplanted “their Dorset predecessors.”

Further climatic changes led to the culture of the historic Inuit, “after about AD 1600.” This included winters spent in coastal areas, living “in snow houses, often on the sea ice,” and hunting “ringed seals.” In the most recent past the Inuit have entered another era of vast and often troubling as well as stimulating cultural change, now unfolding in the new Canadian Territory of Nunavut.

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In the more benign environments further south, there are also intriguing similarities between the most favoured geographic regions of the aboriginal Canada that Europeans began to explore in earnest in the early 17th century, and modern Canada in the early 21st century.

The most southerly region on the map of the country today is southern Ontario (much of which is further south than over half a dozen states of the modern USA). It is a southwesterly jutting peninsula of land bounded by the inland seas of the Great Lakes, and linked to the Atlantic Ocean by the St. Lawrence River in western Quebec. And Plate 12 of From the Beginning to 1800 outlines the increasingly sophisticated development of “Iroquoian Agricultural Settlement” in this region, from AD 500 to European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bruce Trigger’s masterful 1976 study of the most northerly of these agricultural Iroquoians, The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, is a landmark in late 20th century Canadian historical writing. By any measure the Huron Confederacy of “the Wendat” it describes was a remarkable human society.

When the French first discovered them in the early 17th century the Huron (French name) or Wendat (their name) were somewhat north of the present Toronto region, between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. They lived in longhouses, in palisaded villages with as many as a few thousand residents each, and surrounded by cornfields, cleared by men but largely cultivated by women.

The men specialized in hunting, fishing, trade, and warfare (or defence). In the late spring, summer, and early fall they traveled often astounding distances via the transportation technology of the canoe and portage, in what early Europeans saw as a primeval land of lakes and forests.

Democracy in Canada today, it could also be said, begins here. When Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote that “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains,” in the middle of the 18th century, during the intellectual prelude to the French Revolution, his concept of “born free” was drawing on extensive accounts of the early 17th century Wendat in the upper country of Canada, compiled by assiduous French missionaries.

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Another uniquely favoured geographic region of Canada today — and in the more ancient past as well — is the lotus land of the Northwest Coast, whose rugged northern location is offset by the kinder and more exotic breezes of the vast Pacific Ocean.

Plate 13 of From the Beginning to 1800 sketches the quite elaborate social and economic life of “The Coast Tsimshian, ca. 1750,” along “the Skeena and Nass Rivers and adjacent North Pacific Coast,” north of the present Vancouver region around Prince Rupert.

The Tsimshian “depended on the extensive exploitation of salmon supplemented by other fishing and by hunting and gathering.” They also utilized the resources of the lush Pacific coast forests. In the late fall, winter, and early spring they lived in costal villages of wooden-plank houses, some of which were painted in striking symbolic designs. They had their own uniquely designed wooden canoes as well, which facilitated “regular, seasonal migrations to other locations for specific resources.”

Their unusually hospitable environment and prosperous economic base promoted a complex social life: “All Tsimshan were members of hierarchical kinship groups in which status differences were inherited … At elaborate potlaches the giving of luxury goods validated status and title. The system was financed by the corporate (kinship-group) production for surplus goods that could be exchanged or traded over long distances.”

The related wider culture of the Indigenous peoples of Canada on the Pacific Northwest Coast, graced by the  awesome art of their giant wood totem poles, would also much later inspire its own landmarks in late 20th century Canadian historical writing. Robin Fisher’s Contact and Conflict: Indian-European Relations in British Columbia, 1774-1890, “won the Canadian Historical Association’s John A. Macdonald prize for the best book in Canadian History in 1977.”

As the European-dominated mass settlement frontier of the 19th century moved west, the Indigenous peoples of Canada on the Pacific Northwest Coast were the last to surrender their traditional ways of life. When the colony of British Columbia joined the Canadian confederation in 1871, Indigenous peoples still accounted for more than two-thirds of its resident population.

* * * *

Once you start looking, there are more than a few other intriguing parallels between life in Canada today and the life of its deeper Indigenous past.

The economic base of the “Bison Hunters of the Plains” (Plate 10 in the 1987 atlas) was in some ways a survival of the big-game hunting culture of more ancient millennia. And this is both a logical and a  romantic precedent for the dynamic energy-resource economies of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the early 21st century (which also lean on the legacies of the still more ancient dinosaurs).

The vast east-west geographic reach of the Algonquian linguistic family in the 17th century (Plate 18) — from the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia all the way west to the Blackfoot at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains — foreshadowed and no doubt helped facilitate the pioneering transcontinental reach that the modern Indigenous-European fur trade in Canada had achieved by the early 19th century.

A century ago most  Canadian historical writing tended to assume that the present-day number of Indigenous peoples was declining dramatically, and would soon approach zero.

The deepest history of Indigenous population numbers remains a subject shrouded in much mystery and controversy. But the hardest evidence currently available suggests that there are nowadays considerably more Indigenous people of Canada than there were at the most enduring start of European contact in the early 17th century.

Brian Slattery at today’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto has also urged that Indigenous or Aboriginal nations “were active participants in the lengthy processes that eventually gave rise to the federation of Canada …  Aboriginal peoples should be viewed as active participants in generating the basic norms that govern us — not as people on the fringes … but as contributors to the evolution of our Constitution and most fundamental laws.”

* * * *

This is Part I, Chapter 2 of Randall White’s work in progress, tentatively entitled Children of the Global Village : Democracy in Canada Since 1497. For more on the project see The Long Journey to a Canadian Republic, which also includes drafts of all remaining chapters in this initial prepublication format. The entire book in draft is now pre-published on this site.  A final more carefully edited and source-referenced hard-copy print edition will be published by eastendbooks in the autumn of 2024. 

Randall White has a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s he worked as an Ontario public servant. He subsequently worked as an independent policy consultant for private and public sector clients at all three levels of government in Canada and the United States. He has written 11 books on Canadian history and politics, and is at work on a twelfth. In 2023 he contributes a bi-weekly column to the Loonie Politics website (with a summer holiday in July and August). His writing on history and key current issues in Canada and beyond appears intermittently on and as well.


This is an initial dry-run at what will finally appear in a published hard-copy text, subject to further checking, correction, and editing. The order of the items here broadly matches the order of the text above. The online linkages reported are as of Summer 2023.

Evan T. Jones, “Alwyn Ruddock: ‘John Cabot and the Discovery of America’,” Historical Research, Volume 81, Issue 212, May 2008, p. 224-254 … It is known that the Corte-Real expedition of 1501, which visited Labrador, claimed to have acquired from the natives with whom they came into contact a fragment of a broken Italian sword and two silver earrings of Venetian manufacture. It has, moreover, been suggested previously that these must have been relics of the 1498 expedition, since Cabot had no contact with Native Americans in 1497.

Government of Canada, “Origin of the Name — Canada.”

Wikipedia, “Name of Canada.”

Canada, Justice Laws Website, Constitution Act, 1982. 35 (1). The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed. (2) In this Act, aboriginal peoples of Canada includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada : An Introduction to Canadian Economic History. New Haven : Yale University Press, 1930, 397 ; Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1956, 392.

Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte … 1852 … Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living”.

Statistics Canada, “Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit.” [2011 Census]. The Aboriginal population increased by 232,385 people, or 20.1% between 2006 and 2011, compared with 5.2% for the non-Aboriginal population.

Statistics Canada, “Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census.” Released: 2017-10-25. In 2016, there were 1,673,785 Aboriginal people in Canada, accounting for 4.9% of the total population. This was up from 3.8% in 2006 and 2.8% in 1996 … Since 2006, the Aboriginal population has grown by 42.5%—more than four times the growth rate of the non-Aboriginal population over the same period. According to population projections, the number of Aboriginal people will continue to grow quickly. In the next two decades, the Aboriginal population is likely to exceed 2.5 million persons.”

Jennifer S.H. Brown, An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land : Unfinished Conversations. Athabasca, AB : AU Press, 2017.

Harold Cardinal, The rebirth of Canada’s Indians. Edmonton : Hurtig, 1977.

Olive Patricia Dickason, The Myth of the Savage : And the Beginnings of French Colonialism in the Americas. Edmonton : The University of Alberta Press, 1984, 1997.

Robin Fisher, Contact and Conflict: Indian-European Relations in British Columbia, 1774-1890. (2nd edition). Vancouver : University of British Columbia Press, 1977, 2007.

John Milloy, A National Crime : The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986. Winnipeg : University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Arthur J. Ray, I Have Lived Here Since the World Began: An Illustrated History of Canada’s Native People. Toronto : Lester Publishing Ltd and Key Porter Books, 1996. Fourth Edition, Montreal and Kingston : McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.

John Ralston Saul, The Comeback : How Aboriginals Are Reclaiming Power And Influence. Toronto : Random House Canadfa, 2014.

Donald Smith, “Seen but Not Seen”. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2021.

Bruce Trigger, The Children of Aataentsic : A History of the Huron People to 1660. Montreal & London : McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1976, 1987.–the-products-9780773506275.php

Sylvia Van Kirk, “Many Tender Ties” : Women in Fur-Trade Society in Western Canada, 1670–1870. Winnipeg : Watson & Dwyer, 1980, 1996.

Sally Weaver, Making Canadian Indian Policy: The Hidden Agenda 1968-1970. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1981.

Richard White, The Middle Ground : Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1991, 1993. 2 nd edition, 2010, 2012.

R. Cole Harris (ed), Geoffrey J. Matthews (cartographer/designer), Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume I, From the Beginning to 1800. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1987.

Harold A. Innis, The Bias of Communication. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1951, 1964, 1968, 1971. Second Edition, 1999, 2008.

Paulette Stephens, The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere. Lincoln, NE : University of Nebraska Press, 2021, 2023.

Harris and Matthews, Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume I, From the Beginning to 1800. Plates 1–69, pp 8–177.

For Bruce Trigger’s masterful 1976 study see above. See also his earlier and much shorter The Huron : Farmers of the North. New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc, 1969. And his and other contributions to Edwards S. Rogers and Donald B. Smith (eds), Aboriginal Ontario : Historical Perspectives on the First Nations. Ontario Historical Studies Series. Toronto : Dundurn Press, 1994.

David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021.

Erik Hoel, “The Gossip Trap : On Rousseau, Essay Contests, Political Motivations for Revisiting the Origin of Human Civilization, and the Book Is Introduced,” berfrois, November 8, 2022.

Victoria Jackson,“Children and Childhood in Wendat Society, 1600-1700.” A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Graduate Program in History. York University. Toronto. October 2020.

See above for Robin Fisher’s award-winning 1977 study on BC, Contact and Conflict. See also : Jay Miller and Carol M. Eastman (eds), The Tsimshian and Their Neighbors of the North Pacific Coast. Seattle : University of Washington Press, 1984 ; and Jay Miller, Tsimshian Culture : A Light Through the Ages, Lincoln, NE : Bison Books, 2000.

John Mackie, “ This Week in History, 1871: British Columbia joins Canada … The new province had been a British colony since 1858,” Vancouver Sun, July 16, 2021. “An 1871 census printed in the First Victoria Directory and British Columbia guide said that Victoria’s population was 3,629, out of a total provincial population of 19,225 … There was a note at the bottom adding that the numbers ‘do not include the very numerous native tribes, either of Vancouver Island or the Mainland, outside of the settled districts.’ The total native population was estimated at 45,000.”

Doreen Jensen and Cheryl Brooks, eds., In Celebration of Our Survival : The First Nations of British Columbia. Vancouver : UBC Press, 1991.

John S. Milloy, The Plains Cree : Trade, Diplomacy and War, 1790 to 1870. Winnipeg : The University of Manitoba Press, 1988, 1990.

Statistics Canada, Introduction to Censuses of Canada, 1665-1871, Publication 98-187-X. [“Please note: The original book was published in 1876 and re-captured in electronic form as text and tables. The terminology used to describe the population, its economic activity and its geographic location remains unchanged. The views and opinions expressed in this volume in no way reflect the views of Statistics Canada.”]

Canadian Encyclopedia, “TIMELINE Indigenous Peoples … JANUARY 01, 1500 … Indigenous Population Ranges From 200,000 to 500,000 … Estimates for the Indigenous population range from 200,000 to 500,000 people, though some suggest it was as high as 2.5 million, with between 300 and 450 languages spoken.”

Brian Slattery, “The Organic Constitution: Aboriginal Peoples and the Evolution of Canada,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Volume 34, Number 1 (Spring 1996), 101–112. The “French and British Crowns did not acquire title to North America by virtue of ‘discovery’ and ‘occupation,’ as though the continent were a desert island. North America was not legally vacant at the time Europeans arrived … In most cases, Aboriginal nations were never conquered militarily. In the early years, they frequently entered into alliances and trading partnerships with incoming European states. As Aboriginal-European contacts became more extensive and important … there was a slow process of accommodation whereby Aboriginal peoples were constrained to accept piecemeal the suzerainty of the Crown in return for its protection … The important point is that Aboriginal nations were active participants in the lengthy processes that eventually gave rise to the federation of Canada … the constitutional law relating to Aboriginal peoples is grounded in ancient practices generated by interaction between Aboriginal nations and British and French officials in eastern North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries … Over the years, this … law … was whittled away by statute, and was often ignored by governmental officials and forgotten by the general public. However, it remains the essential historical background against which the modern position of Aboriginal peoples must be understood …”

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  1. Imagine if the government haepnped to, oh, legally define what it means Chinese, create a department of Chinese affairs, create Chinese rights, reserve land for Chinese so defined and exempt Chinese living on reserve land from paying taxes of any kind. No one would doubt that is a recipe for disastrous social relations. So, why would anyone doubt the same about Native Affairs, native rights and native reserves? Abolish the reserve system and native rights and comments about “drunken Indians” will become as rare and archaic sounding as “drunken” whatever.Not to sound too much like a historical materialist, but a culture ceases to form a coherent whole once the dominant mode of production completely changes. This is not controversial. Everyone realizes that recreating the culture of feudal France or Ancient Athens is impossible. Such a task would mean recreating the economic basis upon which fostered these cultures. However, many people it seems have the hair brained notion that it is possible to create a close facsimile of traditional native culture. They have not noticed that what underpins native culture today is not subsistence hunting carried out with modern rifles with scopes in place of traditional hunting tools, but rather Canadian law and past Canadian attempts of social exclusion. The dichotomy between their culture and our culture is hence false. Canada is the authors of both. The Indian Act and the reserve system is the basis by which status Indians reproduce themselves. The insistence of many that the communal tenor of Native culture be maintained no matter what amounts to call to save native culture screw the natives. Yes these collection of idiotic laws have helped foster a strong Native identity (legally defining a group as other always does), but on a human level they produced nothing but misery. Why this does not bother more people I do not know. It is time the Canadian government shut down this ant farm. All it has done is produce levels of poverty that could only be described as third world, substance abuse levels that rival countries undergoing serve economic dislocation, suicide rates as high as gay males and American soldiers serving in Iraq and rapid criminality.

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