Recommended Reading

Here are some books I recommend reading (if you can be bothered to read about Canada) mentioned in this blog and elsewhere.


(My favorite on this list) Black Ice by Darril & George Fosty.

“In 1895, The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes was formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia … The Colored League would emerge as a premier force in Canadian hockey and supply the resilience necessary to preserve a unique culture which exists to this day. Unfortunately their contributions were conveniently ignored, or simply stolen, as white teams and hockey officials, influenced by the black league, copied elements of the black style or sought to take self-credit for black hockey innovations. Black Ice is the first written record of the Colored Hockey League in the Maritimes.”

This book is about so much more than hockey: the Maritimes, slavery and Black history in Canada, and interesting, worthwhile people.


Keeping Canada British: The Ku Klux Klan in 1920’s Saskatchewan by James M. Pistula.

“The Ku Klux Klan had its origins in the American South. It was suppressed but rose again in the 1920s, spreading into Canada, especially Saskatchewan. This book offers a new interpretation for the appeal of the Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan. It argues that the Klan should not be portrayed merely as an irrational outburst of intolerance but as a populist aftershock of the Great War – and a slightly more extreme version of mainstream opinion that wanted to keep Canada British. Through its meticulous exploration of a controversial issue central to the history of Saskatchewan and the formation of national identity, this book shines light upon a dark corner of Canada’s past.”

It can be a bit of a dry read at times, and the bumbling characters of Saskatchewan aren’t too exciting, but it’s educational regarding Canadian racism and the Klan.


Canada’s Forgotten Slaves: Two Hundred Years of Bondage by Marcel Trudel and George Tombs.

“… By painstakingly combing through unpublished archival records of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Marcel Trudel gives a human face to the over 4,000 Aboriginal and Black slaves bought, sold and exploited in colonial Canada. He reveals the identities of the slave owners, who ranged from governors, seigneurs, and military officers to bishops, priests, nuns, judges, and merchants. Trudel describes the plight of slaves–the joys and sorrows of their daily existence. Trudel also recounts how some slaves struggled to gain their liberty. He documents Canadian politicians, historians and ecclesiastics who deliberately falsified the record, glorifying their own colonial-era heroes, in order to remove any trace of the thousands of Aboriginal and Black slaves held in bondage for two centuries in Canada.”

An eye-opening history of slavery in Canada and the best place to start on the subject.


Murder City: The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1959-1984 by Michael Arntfield.

” … From the earliest documented case of homicidal copycatting in Canada, to the fact that at any given time up to six serial killers were operating at once in the deceivingly serene “Forest City,” London was once a place that on the surface presented a veneer of normality when beneath that surface dark things would whisper and stir. Through it all, a lone detective would go on to spend the rest of his life fighting against impossible odds to protect the city against a tidal wave of violence that few ever saw coming, and which to this day even fewer choose to remember… Murder City is an explosive book over fifty years in the making, and is the history of London, Ontario as never told before. Stranger than fiction, tragic, ironic, horrifying, yet also inspiring, this is the true story of one city under siege, and a book that marks a game changer for the true crime genre.”

There’s a lot of information here and it does jump around a bit. It’s a horrifying, disturbing look at serial killers and unsolved crime in Canada.


Loss of Faith: How The Air India Bombers Got Away With Murder by Kim Bolan.

“On June 23, 1985, Canada found itself on the international terrorism map when two bombs built in B.C. detonated within an hour of each other on opposite sides of the world, killing 329 men, women, and children… When charges were finally laid against three Sikh separatists, the families believed justice was almost theirs. But their faith was shaken when one suspect pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got a five-year sentence for more than three hundred deaths.”

A disturbing look at terrorism in Canada and the men who got away with mass murder. It’s difficult to read about the incompetence of Canadian law enforcement and its judicial system.


The Hanging of Angelique by Afua Cooper.

“Writer, historian and poet Afua Cooper tells the astonishing story of Marie-Joseph Angélique, a slave woman convicted of starting a fire that destroyed a large part of Montréal in April 1734 and condemned to die a brutal death. In a powerful retelling of Angélique’s story—now supported by archival illustrations—Cooper builds on 15 years of research to shed new light on a rebellious Portuguese-born black woman who refused to accept her indentured servitude. At the same time, Cooper completely demolishes the myth of a benign, slave-free Canada, revealing a damning 200- year-old record of legally and culturally endorsed slavery.”

This book is not just the story of one condemned slave, but a sweeping history of slavery and early Canada.


This list will be updated periodically.

Slavery timeline: USA & Canada

It’s important to note the countries we know today as the “United States” and “Canada” were both former colonies; historically they didn’t exist in the exact manner they do today: they were created piecemeal by various territories, states and provinces joining together; formerly owned by England, France, and Spain.

When we speak of the two countries we are talking about nations which have expanded and contracted at different stages in time. Most would argue that the United States existence began in 1776 (“thirteen colonies”) with the Declaration of Independence, while Canada’s began in 1791 with the formation of the colonies Lower (Quebec) and Upper (Ontario) Canada. [Technically speaking, Canada was formally created in 1867, almost one hundred years after the United States.] 


Or you could argue that anything north and south of the border (“Treaty of Paris 1783”) between the two nations after the American revolutionary war ended would suffice in drawing distinctions. 


If we go by the 1776 and 1791 dates – you’ll note that slavery was still legal and existed in “Canada” proper, as well as the United States. It should also be noted slavery was often practiced before it had an official term or was formalized into law – in both nations.


So how do the two nations compare? (Blue for USA / Red for Canada)



1619 – The first slaves arrive in Virginia


1632 – First known Black slave in New France; none would be documented for another 25 years


1641 – Massachusetts is the first colony to legalize slavery


1650 – Connecticut legalizes slavery


1652 – Rhode Island passes laws restricting slavery; forbidding enslavement more than 10 years


1663 – Maryland legalizes slavery


1664 – New York & New Jersey legalize slavery


1671 – French settlers begin to acquire Amerindian slaves


1688 – French governor and Intendant formally request Black slave shipments

1688 – Pennsylvania Quakers pass first anti-slavery resolution (first formal protest of slavery)

1689 – King Louis XIV authorizes importation of Black slaves; they are delayed 8 years due to war


1700 – Pennsylvania legalizes slavery


1701 – King Louis XIV grants a second royal sanction; slaves delayed by 11 years due to war again


1709 – Intendant Raudot makes slavery legal under formal law


1712 – Pennsylvania prohibits importation of slaves


1715 – Rhode Island legalizes slavery


1721 – Intendant Begon submits request for slave shipment; not ultimately fulfilled


1738 – Georgia permits the importation of black slaves


1752 – Black slaves are advertised for sale in Halifax


1760 – Conquest by British, under Articles of Capitulation slavery continues under the British


1774 – Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Georgia prohibit the importation of slaves.


1775 – Free Blacks allowed to join continental army; Blacks fighting for the British will be liberated


1776 – Declaration of Independence is signed (slavery still legal in the 13 colonies)


1777Vermont abolishes slavery


1778 – Virginia prohibits importation of slaves


1780 – Pennsylvania begins gradual emancipation. A freedom clause in the Massachusetts constitution is interpreted as an abolishment of slavery.


1781 – St John’s Island (now Prince Edward Island) passes an Act stating that baptized slaves will remain in slavery, as will any Black not freed by owners


1784
– Rhode Island and Connecticut begin gradual emancipation


1785 – New York passes a gradual emancipation law, prohibits the importation of slaves


1787 – The Northwest Ordinance forbids slavery, except as criminal punishment, in the Northwest Territory (later Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin).


1791 – Prince Edward Island [then St John’s Island] encourages white settlers by offering “forty shillings for every negro brought by such white person”


1793 – Pierre Louis Panet submits a bill for the abolition of slavery to the House of Assembly in Lower Canada; the bill is not passed


           Upper Canada passes law prohibiting introduction of new slaves into the province


1794 – Congress prohibits slave trade between the U.S. and foreign countries.


1799 – Montreal slave owners ask the House of Assembly in Lower Canada to rule on the status of slaves (abolition or continued enslavement); there is no ruling


1800 – Slave owners request again that the legality of slavery be clarified, there is no ruling … followed by more bill attempts the next year and until 1803; no rulings


1803 – Chief Justice William Osgoode begins court rulings in favor of runaway slaves


1804Underground Railroad is established in Pennsylvania


1819 – Attorney General John Beverley Robinson’s Pronouncement: Canada would not return fugitive slaves


1820-21 – Last known advertisements for slaves appeared in Halifax (20) and in Quebec (21).


1829 – Mexico abolishes slavery and becomes a refuge for fugitive slaves (within months, Texas is exempted from that order)


1832 – Kentucky forbids residents from buying and importing slaves


1834 – Britain abolishes slavery in all its colonies, effectively ending it in Canada


1836 – Texas wins independence from Mexico and legalizes slavery (it joins the Union 9 years later)


1844
– Oregon prohibits slavery


1848 – Connecticut prohibits slavery


1862 – Utah abolishes slavery


1863 – Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation (slaves in Confederate territory are freed)


1864 – Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Maryland abolish slavery


1865 – Tennessee abolishes slavery


           13th Amendment to the Constitution is passed – abolishing slavery



Of course this very basic time line still leaves much out. The topic is extensive and even just chronicling the numerous changes in law between states would triple the length of this short overview.


I wanted to post it simply to prove a point: Canadians self-congratulatory view on slavery is false. Canada had slaves and legalized slavery while other places were attempting to abolish it or at least prohibit its growth. It’s not so clear cut as saying “Americans had slavery, Canada didn’t” or that Canada was the “land of freedom”.


Lastly, as the post on Canada’s Forgotten Slaves makes clear: Canada can’t claim any moral superiority on the subject. Canada was prevented from having extensive slavery due to wars, being a poorer colony and other factors beyond its control; citizens did try to import slave shipments. Citizens also exported slaves to the Caribbean, including “troublesome” indigenous peoples.


Canada didn’t abolish slavery, Britain did. While Upper Canada prohibited new slaves from coming to the province, it still allowed slavery to continue. It did have a gradual emancipation plan, but was thirty years or more behind some American states! When confronted with the issue numerous times, Lower Canada failed to act in any meaningful way.


While not justifiable in any sense, the economic reasoning for Black slavery in the south at least has some logic, whereas in Canada it didn’t even merit that – having the more loathsome reasons of pride and social prestige. Most slaves in Canada were Aboriginal, corresponding with Canada’s economic imperative the fur trade, and declined in numbers once that industry waned (not through any sort of sympathetic morality).


Since Canada covered up its slavery and is only now beginning to be honest, it’s difficult to come by any great wealth of information. I will update this post periodically when I can add to it and try to learn more.

Royal Commission Report: Volume 1

I decided yesterday to begin tackling the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

The report was completed in 1996, after four years of drafting. Volume 1 is called “Looking Forward, Looking Back” and concerns the origins and history of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, as well as previous government policy concerning them.

It has been 20 years since this report was originally released, which is of interest because Volume 5 is called “Renewal: A Twenty Year Commitment”. It will be interesting to see what progress, if any, has been made regarding Aboriginal peoples and which recommendations have been implemented.

In Volume 1, I was expecting explicit details concerning treaty matters: the particulars of negotiations and agreements as originally made, and how policy making has either followed or diverged from them. I assumed that this was the crux of the issue regarding modern conflicts with Aboriginal communities and questions about their rights and independence.

However, the report begins with a broad overview of Aboriginal peoples and their cultures as they existed before Europeans arrived, followed by the military and political struggles that ensued. While it makes for interesting reading, the general history is broadly known. What is less known, is which agreements took place: the details, legality, legacy and relevance to modern times.

The treaties and agreement information doesn’t begin until a little over 100 pages in. This article will be a work in progress because it is still ongoing. Volume 1 is nearly 700 pages long, so I have attempted to pare down the information to the most relevant for a broad overview.

All comments in italics are mine, the rest are quotes from the report.

Volume 1: Looking Forward, Looking Back

It begins with an introduction which speaks of the importance of recognizing the past, the unique Aboriginal experience, reconciliation and the need to include Aboriginal people in policy making while respecting their rights. It also advises Aboriginal people to let go of anger over historical wrongs so that both parties can work together. It’s clear from the language that the authors of the report tried to be as fair and respectful as they could.

THIS REPORT of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples concerns government policy with respect to the original historical nations of this country.

… Aboriginal peoples anticipate and desire a process for continuing the historical work of Confederation. Their goal is not to undo the Canadian federation; their goal is to complete it. It is well known that the Aboriginal peoples in whose ancient homelands Canada was created have not had an opportunity to participate in creating Canada’s federal union; they seek now a just accommodation within it. (p 6)

History also shows how ancient societies in this part of North America were dispossessed of their homelands and made wards of a state that sought to obliterate their cultural and political institutions. History shows too attempts to explain away this dispossession by legally ignoring Aboriginal peoples, in effect declaring the land terra nullius — empty of people who mattered. This is not a history of which most Canadians are aware. It is not a history of democratic participation, nor is it a history that reflects well on Canada or its sense of justice. (p 7)

In 1982 the constitution was amended to recognize and affirm the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Those amendments contained a promise to amend the constitution further to determine the nature and scope of those rights. The constitutional promise was not fulfilled in the first ministers conferences conducted for that purpose, and the basic constitutional promise of 1982 is still outstanding. (pg 9)

There have been important changes in recent years in the nature of Aboriginal peoples’ participation in statecraft in Canada. Since the white paper proposal to eliminate the distinct status of ‘Indians’ and the prime minister’s refusal in 1969 to recognize the treaties, Canadian society has developed a greater willingness to include Aboriginal peoples as partners in the Canadian enterprise.” (p 10)


PART ONE – Getting Started

This Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was born in a time of ferment when the future of the Canadian federation was being debated passionately. It came to fruition in the troubled months following the demise of the Meech Lake Accord and the confrontation, in the summer of 1990, between Mohawks and the power of the Canadian state at Kanesatake (Oka), Quebec. (p 10)

The Mandate:

The Commission, established on 26 August 1991, was given a comprehensive mandate: The Commission of Inquiry should investigate the evolution of the relationship among aboriginal peoples (Indian, Inuit and Métis), the Canadian government, and Canadian society as a whole. It should propose specific solutions, rooted in domestic and international experience, to the problems which have plagued those relationships and which confront aboriginal peoples today. (p 11- 12)

In four years of consultations, research and reflection we have come to see clearly that the problems that plague the relationship cannot be addressed exclusively or primarily as Aboriginal issues. The questions we probed during our inquiry and the solutions that emerged from our deliberations led us back insistently to examine the premises on which Canadian law and government institutions are founded and the human values that Canadians see as the core of their identity. (p 12)

We maintain that Aboriginal nations have an inherent right to determine their own future within Canada and that the governments of Aboriginal nations should be recognized as a third order of government in the Canadian federation. (p 13)


A Demographic Profile

THE TERM ABORIGINAL obscures the distinctiveness of the First Peoples of Canada — Inuit, Métis and First Nations. With linguistic differences, for example, there are more than 50 distinct groupings among First Nations alone. Among Inuit, there are several dialects within Inuktitut, and the Métis people speak a variety of First Nations languages such as Cree, Ojibwa or Chipewyan, as well as Michif, which evolved out of their mixed ancestry. (p 20)

The figure of 500,000 for the indigenous population at the time of initial sustained contact with Europeans is perhaps the most widely accepted today, although many would regard it as a conservative estimate. (p 21)

This is followed by statistical information on Aboriginal birth rates and projected growth (90’s) as well as charts and demographic stats.


Conceptions of History (Overview)

Indeed, it is impossible to make sense of the issues that trouble the relationship today without a clear understanding of the past. This is true whether we speak of the nature of Aboriginal self-government in the Canadian federation, the renewal of treaty relationships, the challenge of revitalizing Aboriginal cultural identities, or the sharing of lands and resources. We simply cannot understand the depth of these issues or make sense of the current debate without a solid grasp of the shared history of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people on this continent. (p 36)

But Commissioners also concluded that most Canadians are simply unaware of the history of the Aboriginal presence in what is now Canada and that there is little understanding of the origins and evolution of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people that have led us to the present moment. (p 37)

In the Atlantic region, for instance, a sustained non-Aboriginal presence among the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet peoples has been a fact for nearly 500 years, but in most parts of the far north, Inuit have been in sustained contact with non-Aboriginal people only in recent times. In Quebec and southern and central Ontario, the relationship is of almost the same duration as that in the Atlantic region, while in northern Ontario and the prairies, sustained contact and the development of formal treaty relationships has occurred only within the last 150 years. In parts of the Pacific coast, the nature of the relationship has yet to be formalized in treaties, even though interaction between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal people has taken place for some 200 years. (p 41)


Overview: Contact & Cooperation

It was a period when Aboriginal people provided assistance to the newcomers to help them survive in the unfamiliar environment; this stage also saw the establishment of trading and military alliances, as well as intermarriage and mutual cultural adaptation. This stage was also marked by incidents of conflict, by growth in the number of non-Aboriginal immigrants, and by the steep decline in Aboriginal populations following the ravages of diseases to which they had no natural immunity.

Although there were exceptions, there were many instances of mutual tolerance and respect during this long period. In these cases, social distance was maintained — that is, the social, cultural and political differences between the two societies were respected by and large. Each was regarded as distinct and autonomous, left to govern its own internal affairs but co-operating in areas of mutual interest and, occasionally and increasingly, linked in various trading relationships and other forms of nation-to-nation alliances. (p 42)


Overview: Displacement & Assimilation:

Non-Aboriginal society made repeated attempts to recast Aboriginal people and their distinct forms of social organization so they would conform to the expectations of what had become the mainstream. In this period, interventions in Aboriginal societies reached their peak, taking the form of relocations, residential schools, the outlawing of Aboriginal cultural practices, and various other interventionist measures of the type found in the Indian Acts of the late 1800s and early 1900s. (p 42)

Non-Aboriginal society began to recognize the failure of these policies toward the end of this period, particularly after the federal government’s ill-fated 1969 white paper, which would have ended the special constitutional, legal and political status of Aboriginal peoples within Confederation. (p 43)


SEPARATE WORLDS

THE HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in North America begins, of necessity, with a description of the period before contact. Aboriginal nations were then fully independent; as described by the Supreme Court of Canada, they were “organized in societies and occupying the land as their forefathers had done for centuries.”

Europeans arriving in North America attempted to justify their assumption of political sovereignty over Aboriginal nations and title to their lands on the basis of a reinterpretation of prevailing norms in international law at the time, in particular the doctrine of discovery. This doctrine is based on the notion of terra nullius — a Latin term that refers to empty, essentially barren and uninhabited land. Under norms of international law at the time of contact, the discovery of such land gave the discovering nation immediate sovereignty and all rights and title to it.

Over the course of time, however, the concept of terra nullius was extended by European lawyers and philosophers to include lands that were not in the possession of ‘civilized’ peoples or were not being put to a proper ‘civilized’ use according to European definitions of the term. (p 47)

Upon the ‘discovery’ of the North American continent by Europeans, according to this doctrine, the newcomers were immediately vested with full sovereign ownership of the discovered lands and everything on them. When faced with the fact that the lands were inhabited by Aboriginal peoples, European commentators, such as the preacher Gray, popularized the notion that Aboriginal peoples were merely in possession of such lands, since they could not possibly have the civilized and Christian attributes that would enable them to assert sovereign ownership to them. Over time these ethnocentric notions gained currency and were given legitimacy by certain court decisions. (p 47-48)

These kinds of arguments, which distorted the reality of the situation and converted differences into inferiorities, have had surprising longevity in policy documents and in court proceedings up to the present day. As modified by the courts, they are at the heart of the modern doctrine of Aboriginal title, which holds that Aboriginal peoples in North America do not ‘own’ their lands, although they now have the legal right in Canada to demand compensation if they are dispossessed of them by the authorities. (p 48)

Followed by information on the M’ikmaq, Iroquois, Blackfoot, Northwest Coast tribes, Inuit: their hierarchies, self-governing, traditions, etc – a brief overview, p 48 – 83


The accounts often reveal elaborate social structures built around the nuclear and extended family. These are grouped into a band, clan, district or community all of which, in turn, may be part of a larger nation that may itself belong to a confederacy of many nations and to a larger language group. Governance is usually decentralized, with local units coming together or sending representatives to the councils of the nation or confederacy. In the councils of decision making, individuals are generally equal, and deliberations typically continue until consensus is reached. Leaders thus tend to guide, counsel and speak on behalf of the people; they typically do not exercise the authority to make unilateral decisions or to impose their will. Where conflict arises, an effort is made to bring the contending parties together and to find a middle ground. This is in keeping with an ethic that respects diversity and acknowledges that there are many different ways to accomplish a particular objective.

The accounts also reveal the ultimate importance to Aboriginal societies of their spiritual relationship to the land. This arises not only because of dependence on the natural world for life itself, but also out of the belief that human beings were placed on the earth at Creation and given special responsibilities to serve as stewards of the natural environment. Through a very long history of living in close harmony with the environment, adjusting as required to changing social and environmental conditions …

Aboriginal peoples accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge and wisdom and passed it on orally from generation to generation. (p 84)

Followed by a description of European nation-states: feudal societies becoming governed by monarchy; originally seeking natural resources and then driven on by economic interests and justified through Christian doctrine and papal decrees. p – 84-87.

The earliest Basque, Breton, French and English contacts in North America were aimed initially at extracting fish and other resources from the sea, rather than gold or silver from the ground, and involved considerably less use of force. This early pattern of relatively peaceful and incidental contact gave way by the early seventeenth century to a new system of relations based on treaties and trade with the indigenous inhabitants. In the next chapter, we describe the essential characteristics of this early, often co-operative, relationship. (p 87)


Contact and Cooperation:

Although a few Aboriginal persons were, willingly or unwillingly, taken to Europe over the years, contact occurred almost exclusively on North American soil as transplanted Europeans began to arrive in ever-increasing numbers after the late 1400s.

First contacts between Aboriginal peoples and Europeans were sporadic and apparently occurred about a thousand years ago when Norsemen proceeding from Iceland and Greenland are believed to have voyaged to the coast of North America. (p 94)

These early Norse voyages are believed to have continued until the 1340s, and to have included visits to Arctic areas such as Ellesmere and Baffin Island where the Norse would have encountered Inuit…


Conflict with Aboriginal people likely occurred relatively soon after the colony was established. Thus, within a few years of their arrival, the Norse appear to have abandoned the settlement and with it the first European colonial experiment in North America. 

Further intermittent commercial contacts ensued with other Europeans, as sailors of Basque, English, French and other nationalities came in search of natural resources such as timber, fish, furs, whale, walrus and polar bear. Little is known of this very early period of contact. By the late 1400s, explorers were commissioned to find a route to the Orient by sailing west from Europe, thus providing an additional motive for European contact with North American Aboriginal peoples. These subsequent explorations included the voyages of Christopher Columbus to several islands in the Caribbean sea and those of John Cabot, who was seeking a more northerly route. Cabot’s voyages began as early as 1494, and by 1497 he landed in a place he referred to as New Found Land. (p 94)

Relations were established in a context in which Aboriginal peoples initially had the upper hand in population and in terms of their knowledge of the land and how to survive in it. These factors contributed to early patterns of co-operation and helped to overcome the colonial attitudes and pretensions the first European arrivals may originally have possessed. The newcomers, far from their home ports and scattered in a vast land of which they had little practical knowledge, of necessity had to develop friendly relations with at least some original inhabitants. Political and economic accommodations soon followed. (p 95)

However, the existence of relatively strong, organized and politically active and astute Aboriginal nations caused the Europeans to recognize in practice, and later in law, the capacity of Aboriginal nations not only to govern their own affairs and to possess their own lands, but also to conclude treaties with them of a type similar to those the European nations were accustomed to making with each other. In the many ensuing struggles between France and Britain, as well as in the later ones between the American colonists and the British, Aboriginal nations were also greatly valued as military allies. Since victory or defeat in any particular military contest might hang in the balance, strenuous efforts were often made by the warring colonial powers either to enlist the support of Aboriginal nations or, at least, to assure their neutrality. Neither support nor neutrality could be demanded at this stage in the relationship, however; it could be achieved only by persuasion and diplomacy. (p 96)

With declining Aboriginal populations and ever-increasing European immigration to the New World, the numerical balance between the two groups gradually shifted during this first period of relations between them. By the latter part of the 1700s, in fact, it is estimated that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people were roughly equal in numbers. (p 97)

Outside the salons of Europe and the discourse of élites, ordinary people adopted each other’s foods, clothing, hunting or transport technologies as they proved useful. Those brought together by the fur trade often intermarried and, as a result, enriched both cultures. The offspring of these unions would eventually form a new people with a distinct identity, the Métis people. And at the same time as missionaries were seeking to convert Aboriginal peoples to Christianity, there is also evidence that Europeans, especially young men working on the frontiers of contact with Aboriginal peoples, found much not only to admire but also to emulate, especially their quiet determination and independent attitudes. Indeed, many Europeans were adopted and assimilated into Aboriginal nations. (p 99)


Although some European traders obtained Aboriginal clothing, canoes, snowshoes and other items for themselves, the most sought after goods were beaver pelts. They could be sold in Europe as the raw material for felt hats, then in vogue among the middle class and the nobility. The traders were especially interested in procuring pelts that had already been worn as clothing for fifteen to eighteen months. Wearing them during the winter wore off the long guard hairs, thereby rendering them most valuable for the manufacture of high-grade felt. For Aboriginal people, hunting the then-abundant beaver and selling used clothing was an economical means of obtaining European goods. (p 100)

By the first decade of the seventeenth century the French were granting trading monopolies to wealthy merchants in hopes of promoting year-round European settlement in the St. Lawrence region …To maintain cordial trade relations, the French offered to assist the Innu intheir hostilities with the Mohawk, a decision that was to lead to decades of enmity between the French and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. (p 102)

For many years, a flotilla of 60 canoes and 200 men from Huronia came to Quebec via the French, Mattawa, Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers. As many as 15,000 pelts were traded annually. (p 102)

During this period many Aboriginal people regarded the missionaries as shamans, interpreted their baptismal rites as curing rituals, and generally tolerated their presence for fear of jeopardizing trade and political alliances with the French. To the Jesuits their mission was akin to a war against satanic forces and was intended to reap a rich harvest of souls. (p 103)

It is also clear that the patterns of relationship varied significantly from one Aboriginal group to another. Since Algonquian and Iroquoian nations, for example, had different modes of subsistence and social organization and unique and well established patterns of political and trade relations before European contact, it is not surprising that they experienced the effects of contact differently. Pursuing different strategies of accommodation and compromise, the many diverse Aboriginal nations on the northern half of the continent that came into contact with non-Aboriginal peoples did not all experience the effects of that contact in the same way. (p 105)


THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION OF 1763

Evidently, the reality of relations between Aboriginal and European nations in these early periods was remarkably complex, fluid and ambiguous. Thus, while the French, for instance, clearly wanted to assert some form of sovereign control over neighbouring Aboriginal peoples, in practice they often had to settle for alliances or simple neutrality.

And while Aboriginal nations sometimes wished to assert their total independence of the French colony, in practice they often found themselves reliant on French trade and protection and increasingly overshadowed by European armed might.

The French policy of cultivating the friendship and alliance of Aboriginal peoples was replicated, with less success, by the burgeoning British colonies to the south. Like New France, these colonies would have preferred to be in a position to dominate and control their Aboriginal neighbours. However, they often had little alternative but to solicit Indigenous peoples as trading partners and as allies in the struggles with France. (p 106)

There was one important difference between British and French practice in this context that would have long-term effects on the overall relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this part of North America. The French colony, whose population remained small, was planted along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, in an area no longer inhabited by the Iroquoian peoples of Stadacona and Hochelaga. Thus, there was no need for the French to obtain lands from their Aboriginal neighbours. By contrast, from an early period the British colonists found their Aboriginal neighbours in possession of lands they wanted themselves for purposes of expanding their settlements and economic activities.

In the opening stages of British settlement in North America, this collision of interests resulted in warfare and led to the forcible dispossession of Aboriginal nations in Virginia and New England. Many Aboriginal nations allied themselves with the French or retreated before the advance of the British colonists. Over time, however, and to avoid further hostilities, a policy developed whereby lands required for settlement would ordinarily be secured from their Aboriginal owners by formal agreement. Thus, treaties specifically involving land cessions by Aboriginal nations soon became a common feature of the British-Aboriginal relationship. (p 107)

Nevertheless, by 1763, when New France was ceded to the British Crown in the Treaty of Paris, Aboriginal/English relations had stabilized to the point where they could be seen to be grounded in two fundamental principles. Under the first principle, Aboriginal peoples were generally recognized as autonomous political units capable of having treaty relations with the Crown. (p 107)

A second principle emerged from British practice. This acknowledged that Aboriginal nations were entitled to the territories in their possession unless, or until, they ceded them away. Although this proposition may seem self-evident, it was not always so from the colonists’ self-interested perspective, and it required periodic restatement. (p 108)

When New France fell to British forces and was ceded to the Crown in 1763, Great Britain was confronted with the twin problems of winning the friendship and trust of France’s former First Nations allies and dealing with the mounting dissatisfaction of some of its own indigenous allies over incursions by American colonists on their lands. (p 108)


Royal Proclamation

This document, issued on 7 October 1763, is a landmark in British/Indian relations (see Appendix D). It has been described by Mr. Justice Hall of the Supreme Court of Canada as the Indian Bill of Rights. “Its force as a statute”, he writes, “is analogous to the status of Magna Carta which has always been considered to be the law throughout the Empire. It was a law which followed the flag as England assumed jurisdiction over newly discovered or acquired lands or territories.” (p 109)

The basic viewpoint informing the Proclamation’s Indian provisions is summarized in the preamble as follows:

“And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to Our Interest and the Security of Our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians, with whom We are connected, and who live under Our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to, or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds… “(p 109)

In short, the Proclamation portrays Aboriginal nations as autonomous political units living under the Crown’s protection and on lands that are already part of the Crown’s dominions. Aboriginal nations hold inherent authority over their internal affairs and the power to deal with the Crown by way of treaty and agreement. In a word, it portrays the links between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown as broadly ‘confederal‘.

Relations between the Crown and Aboriginal peoples differed from those between the Crown and its settler colonies. This difference is reflected in the structure of the Proclamation, which deals in a separate part with the constitutions of Quebec and several other new colonies. (p 110)


There was a basic difference between the constitutions of Aboriginal nations protected by the Crown and the constitutions of the settler colonies. The latter stemmed largely, if not entirely, from explicit grants, in the form of royal charters, proclamations, commissions, instructions, or acts of Parliament, as supplemented by basic unwritten principles. By contrast, the constitutions of Aboriginal nations sprang from their own internal arrangements and philosophies and were nourished by their inherent powers as self governing nations. These powers were modified over time by relations with the Crown and by certain customary principles generated by Aboriginal/Crown practice.

Nevertheless, through all these changes, Aboriginal constitutions retained their original roots within the communities concerned. (p 111)



EARLY PATTERNS OF TREATY MAKING

The earliest treaty making between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada was undertaken in the context of small groups of settlers living on a small portion of the land mass of the continent and involved such matters as trade and commerce, law, peace, alliance and friendship, and the extradition and exchange of prisoners. It took place in a time of intense diplomatic and military competition among European powers to claim territory, trade and influence in North America. In this context, economic and strategic ties with Indian nations became important, for the Europeans needed treaties to justify their competing territorial claims and to garner allies for their struggle. As long as their colonies were small and vulnerable, they eagerly entered into treaties with due consideration to the terms, and according to such protocols, as Indian nations wished. (p 114-115)

The principal alliances of the French with the Innu (Montagnais), Algonquin and Wendat (Huron) were economic and military in nature …

The military aspect of the alliances originated with the French helping their allies in conflicts with the Haudenosaunee in return for commercial privileges. The French, however, soon came to rely heavily on their partners to counter British expansionism.

In this case, the interests of the French and their allies were common, because the expanding territorial aspirations of the burgeoning settler population of New England were also a threat to Aboriginal interests. (p 115)


Although these agreements addressed matters of economic and military alliance, the first written treaties were signed in the interests of making or renewing peace between nations at war. Thus the first written treaties between the French and the Haudenosaunee, in 1624, 1645 and 1653, were essentially non-aggression pacts that had little lasting success. (p 115)

The treaty-making tradition between representatives of the British Crown and the Mi’kmaq continued in the middle decades of the 1700s, following a pattern in which some matters addressed in earlier treaties were reaffirmed while changing conditions gave rise to agreement on new issues. Thus, after the British established themselves in Halifax in 1749, new treaty discussions began, and in 1752 an important treaty was signed by the influential Mi’kmaq chief, Jean Baptiste Cope. (p 117)


It appears that European and Aboriginal interpretations of their agreements, whether written or not, differed on some key issues. The two principal ones were possessory rights to the land and the authority of European monarchs or their representatives over Aboriginal peoples. In general, the European understanding — or at least the one that was committed to paper — was that the monarch had, or acquired through treaty or alliance, sovereignty over the land and the people on it. The Aboriginal understanding, however, recognized neither European title to the land nor Aboriginal submission to a European monarch. (p 118)


The European doctrine of discovery resulted in an impairment of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Although they continued to be regarded as “the rightful occupants of the soil”, with “a legal as well as a just claim to retain possession”, they ceased to be free to dispose of the soil to “whomsoever they pleased” and were compelled to deal with the European power that had, at least in European eyes, ‘discovered’ their land. Indigenous nations, however, did not regard the arrival of European traders, adventurers, diplomats or officials as altering in any way their sovereignty or their ownership of their territories. (p 118)

… the Aboriginal conception of land and its relationship with human beings was based on the concept of communal ownership of land and its collective use by the human beings, animals and trees put there by the Creator. While people could control and exercise stewardship over a territory, ultimately the land belonged to the Creator — who had given the land to the people, to care for in perpetuity — and was thus inalienable. French views, by contrast, were grounded in that country’s feudal history, in which the suzerain, or ruler, not only had a form of land ownership but also had political authority over his vassals. ( p 118)


There was also a considerable discrepancy between official communications and the dialogue with Aboriginal nations. According to Lajoie and Verville, the French claim to sovereignty over the land and its people

“was confined to their discourse, a discourse destined for their European competitors, recorded only in the accounts and petitions they sent to their principals in the mother country and that they took good care to withhold from the Aboriginal people. Nor was it revealed in their practices.” (p 119)

The European claim to sovereignty over the land and the people may have appeared in the written terms of the treaty, but it is not clear that this claim was communicated orally. To the contrary, it would appear that the Aboriginal signatories were unaware that such concepts were embodied in written treaties. Land use arrangements between European powers and Aboriginal nations in the early contact period were arrived at orally and, later, through written documents that the Aboriginal parties may not have comprehended fully at the time. (p 119)

As well, French-speakers in attendance at the treaty ratification indicated that the aspects of the treaty concerning political and legal submission were not articulated. Rather it was emphasized that the Aboriginal participants had “come to salute the English Governor to make peace with him and to renew the ancient friendship which had been between them before.” (p 119 – 120)


Canadians and their governments, however, are more likely to look on the treaties as ancient history. The treaties, to Canada, are often regarded as inconvenient and obsolete relics of the early days of this country. With respect to the early treaties in particular, which were made with the British or French Crown, Canadian governments dismiss them as having no relevance in the post-Confederation period. The fact remains, however, that Canada has inherited the treaties that were made and is the beneficiary of the lands and resources secured by those treaties and still enjoyed today by Canada’s citizens. ( p 120)

The apparent common ground was real, but under the surface the old differences in world view still existed, largely unarticulated. Fundamentally, the doctrine of discovery guided the European understanding of the treaties. They were to legitimize European possession of a land whose title was already vested in a European crown. The indigenous understanding was different. Indigenous territories were to be shared; peace was to be made and the separate but parallel paths of European and indigenous cultures were to be followed in a peaceful and mutually beneficial way. (p 122)


DISPLACEMENT AND ASSIMILATION

IN THE WANING DECADES of the 1700s and the early years of the 1800s, it became increasingly clear that a fundamental change was occurring in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples …

The first was the rapid and dramatic increase in the non-Aboriginal population, owing to the massive influx of Loyalists after the American Revolution and swelling immigration, especially from the British Isles. Beginning in the 1780s, thousands of Loyalists poured into the Maritimes …

Lower Canada, with its long-established reserve land policy, was not drastically affected by in-migration. It was different in Upper Canada, however, where reserves were fewer and population pressures proportionately greater. It is estimated that by 1812 the nonAboriginal population of that colony outnumbered the Aboriginal population by as much as 10 to 1, with the ratio increasing further in the ensuing decades.

Illegal squatting occurred on Indian lands, as in the Maritimes, but it was more common for purchases of Indian lands to be made through the negotiation of treaties. Purchased lands were then made available by the Crown for non-Aboriginal settlement. ( p 130)


The fur trade was already declining in eastern Canada by the latter part of the 1700s. The 1821 merger of the two major rivals, the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company, signalled the end of the Montreal-based fur trade and with it the relative prosperity of the Aboriginal nations dependent on it. The fur trade continued to be important in the north and west for many more decades — indeed, it did not begin in what became British Columbia until the late 1700s.

 But in eastern Canada, the fur trade — and the era of co-operative division of labour between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people it represented — were over. (p 130 – 131)


The normalization of relations between the United States and Great Britain following the War of 1812 was a third factor in the changed relationship that emerged at this time. No longer courted as military allies, a role they had enjoyed for two centuries, First Nations were forgotten for their major contributions … By 1830, in fact, responsibility for ‘Indian policy’ —formerly a quasi-diplomatic vocation — had been transferred from military to civil authorities. The preoccupation of policy makers turned to social rather than military concerns, and soon schemes were devised to begin the process of dismantling Aboriginal nations and integrating their populations into the burgeoning settler society around them. 

… To justify their actions, the non-Aboriginal settler society was well served by a belief system that judged Aboriginal people to be inferior. Based originally on religious and philosophical grounds, this sense of cultural and moral superiority would be buttressed by additional, pseudo-scientific theories, developed during the nineteenth century, that rested ultimately on ethnocentric and racist premises.(p 131)


In Canada, the period saw the end of most aspects of the formal nation-to-nation relationship of rough equality that had developed in the earlier stage of relations. Paradoxically, however, the negotiation of treaties continued, but side by side with legislated dispossession, through the Indian Act. Aboriginal peoples lost control and management of their own lands and resources, and their traditional customs and forms of organization were interfered with in the interest of remaking Aboriginal people in the image of the newcomers. This did not occur all at once across the country, but gradually even western and northern First Nations came under the influence of the new regime. (p 132)

Former enemies of the victorious British, the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet, were simply ignored, left to find their own way in the rapidly changing world. Dispossessed of much of their land, separated from resources and impoverished, they were also ravaged by disease, and in the early 1800s they seemed to be on the road to virtual extinction. (p 134)


In Upper Canada, however …  Aboriginal peoples were treated differently. Thus, the Indian affairs department consistently applied the principles of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, recognizing Aboriginal rights to land and self-government. This led to a series of treaties, signed between 1815 and 1825, that cleared the southern part of the colony for settlement. With the two Robinson Treaties in 1850, further territory north of the Great Lakes was opened for resource exploitation and, later, settlement. (p 134)

… Thus, the British imperial government, in association with protestant mission societies in the province of Upper Canada, embarked on the new policy of civilization with the willing assistance of many Aboriginal nations.

Communities in the southern part of Upper Canada were to be located on their reserves in serviced settlement sites, complete with houses, barns, churches and schools, and given training in agriculture and the other arts and crafts of settler life. (p 134)


Indian reserves were not a new factor in relations between the Aboriginal peoples and the newcomers to North America. The French had established the practice of setting aside lands for their Indian allies in New France, believing that a settled and secure environment would promote adoption of Christianity. The Jesuits established the first true reserve in this sense in New France, at Sillery, as early as 1637. Others soon followed. Thus, when the British embarked on their own program of attempting to convert and civilize the Indians of what is now southern Ontario, they had a precedent to draw upon. (p 134 – 135)

Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, first the British Crown and then the new dominion of Canada entered into treaties in Ontario, the prairie provinces and parts of the north, under which Indians agreed to the creation of reserves (along with other benefits) in exchange for their agreement to share their lands and resources with the newcomers. These treaties, described later in this volume, were modelled to a considerable extent on the Robinson treaties (also discussed later), were in written form, and were quite specific about the amount of land to be included in a reserve and the fact that traditional Indian hunting, fishing and trapping activities were not to be interfered with. (p 135)


RESERVES

Not all reserves in Canada were created by treaty, however. Those in Quebec were established by grants from the French Crown to missionary orders, on the theory that the Crown had all right and title to the lands in question. Some in Ontario were created by the purchase of lands outside the traditional territories of the Indian peoples for whom they were intended. The Six Nations reserve at Brantford falls into this category. Purchased originally from the Mississauga of the Credit in 1784, it was granted to the Six Nations by the Crown in 1788. Other reserves were created by order in council as circumstances required, and a few others were established by trust agreements with missionary societies, which were to hold the lands for the benefit of their Indian charges. There were even a few instances of Indian bands purchasing privately held lands using their own monies, with the reserves then being held by the Crown for their benefit.

In the Atlantic region there were no treaties under which reserves were created. On the cession of Acadia to Great Britain by France, the British view was that there was no requirement to treat with the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet nations for their lands. Never protected by imperial authorities to the same extent as the western First Nations, the relatively small remaining Aboriginal population in the Maritimes was scattered and isolated and, by the early 1800s, decimated by epidemics and considered to be headed for extinction. Indian administration was decentralized, and there was no imperial Indian department, so there was no regular allocation of imperial monies for Indian people and their needs.

Reserves were established by colonial authorities as a result of Indians’ petitions or their sorry circumstances, rather than the policy of a central authority. Accordingly, a few reserves were set aside in New Brunswick by licences of occupation granted to individual Indians on behalf of them and their families or the band they represented. These licences were then confirmed by order in council. In Nova Scotia, on the other hand, lands were set aside by order in council to be held in trust for Indians as if they were owned by them. In Prince Edward Island, a private benefactor allowed Indians to live on one reserve. Later, private land was purchased using government funds and other reserves were created.

No reserve was created in Newfoundland until 1984, because that province did not recognize the existence of status Indians within its boundaries following its entry into Confederation in 1949. (p 136)

Unlike the reserves in Ontario and western and northern Canada, however, imperial and colonial officials did not feel it necessary in Quebec and the Maritimes to follow the surrender requirements of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, so the local Indian commissioners appointed to protect and supervise Indian land transactions also had the power to dispose of reserve land without Indian consent. (136 – 137)

British Columbia presents an entirely different and still problematic situation. Between 1850 and 1854, William Douglas, governor of the Vancouver Island colony, entered into 14 treaties with the Indian peoples of southern Vancouver Island. Under these treaties, provision was made for the creation of reserves on terms similar to those in effect in Ontario and, later, western and northern Canada. A shortage of funds to compensate Indian peoples for their lands and a growing unwillingness among the settler population to recognize Indian rights to land hampered the reserve policy. Later, colonial authorities adopted a policy of allocating very small reserves to Indian bands. Pressured by the federal government to enlarge the reserves, after the province’s entry into Confederation in 1871, British Columbia refused … hearings led eventually to resolution of the issue in 1938. However, except for a portion of Vancouver Island (the Douglas treaties) and the northeastern corner of the province (Treaty 8), most of the land in British Columbia is not covered by treaties. (p 137)


Enfranchisement

In addition to creating reserves, in Upper Canada the policy to civilize the Indians was supplemented by legislation, the 1857 Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes in this Province. It provided for the voluntary enfranchisement — freedom from Indian status — of individuals of good character as determined by a board of examiners. (p 137)

The evident failure of the voluntary enfranchisement policy led the Indian affairs department to campaign throughout the remaining pre-Confederation period for an end to the independence of the Aboriginal governments that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 had apparently promised to protect. (p 138)


Metis

The first emergence of Métis people was not inadvertent. Intermarriage of newcomers with First Nations people was a deliberate strategy of seventeenth-century church and state officials in New France, as they intended to develop a powerful presence in North America to counter that of their European rivals, the Dutch and the English.  (p 138)

… Officially, France ceased to sanction intermarriage after the 1670s, but so long as a fur trade was promoted from Montreal, economic incentives encouraged the original dynamic. Because promotion of the fur trade continued until 1821, a large Métis population developed throughout the Great Lakes basin. (p 139)


Historians have not reached consensus on how much the two streams of migration — the French ‘Métis’ and the English ‘half-breeds’ — merged into one population over the next several decades. They do agree, however, that many paths led to Red River, and what developed there between 1820 and 1870 represented a florescence of distinct culture in which both streams participated. The new nation was not simply a population that happened to be of mixed European/Aboriginal ancestry; the Métis Nation was a population with its own language, Michif (though many dialects), a distinctive mode of dress, cuisine, vehicles of transport, modes of celebration in music and dance, and a completely democratic though quasi-military political organization, complete with national flag, bardic tradition and vibrant folklore of national history.  (p 141)


There was a compensatory promise of “fair and equitable” grants to people whose access to open prairie was expected to be restricted by future development. There was a positive affirmation of continuity, in the form of secure tenure of all occupied lands, and a promise of 1.4 million acres to benefit “the children of the half-breed heads of families”. Equally important, the negotiations leading to passage of the Manitoba Act and admission of the community to the Canadian federation as a province in its own right appeared to confirm the existence and importance of Métis self-government. The overall arrangement was so eminently satisfactory to the Métis provisional government that on 24 June 1870 its members ratified what many have since referred to as their ‘treaty’ without one dissenting voice. (p 142)

Further land was distributed, nominally at least, to Métis of the Northwest Territories, under a statute called the Dominion Lands Act, but the process was no more successful than the Manitoba process had been in terms of assuring satisfactory land-based Métis communities. In some areas, especially in the east, no attempt to recognize or deal with Métis Aboriginal rights was ever made. (p 143 – 144)

Both Métis and Plains Indians were deeply concerned by the relentless influx of newcomers to the prairies, the threat this posed to their lands and ways of life, and the sudden disappearance of the buffalo in the 1880s. While the federal government dithered in coming to grips with Métis and Indian grievances, Riel proceeded to form a provisional government. Under the leadership of Gabriel Dumont, a military force of plainsmen was also formed, but the federal government countered by sending a strong military expedition to the north-west in the spring of 1885. The Métis forces were crushed at Batoche, and Riel was hanged, after being convicted of treason, at Regina on 16 November 1885. Big Bear and Poundmaker, who had provided strong leadership to the Plains Indian forces, were arrested and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. (p 144)

Métis people of the same district would have the option as individuals to join treaties or receive ‘half-breed’ scrip redeemable in land or a cash gratuity — nothing more. All told there were 14 such commissions canvassing western Canada. The last operated in the Mackenzie River district in 1921.

.. Still, no other accommodation was contemplated. Canada did not recognize Métis communities as such. Canada defined Métis rights in purely individual terms, the one-time-only claim that certain ‘half-breeds’ might make for scrip. When they received that gratuity, any potential claim arising from their aboriginality was deemed to be ‘extinguished’. (p 144)


From 1815 to the 1850s, there were literally hundreds of land transactions, whereby First Nations, many of which had previously made treaties of alliance, peace and friendship with the Crown, transferred their land to the Crown.

In all these land transactions, the Crown’s purpose was to secure First Nations lands for settlement and development. In some, and perhaps many, of these transactions, the Indian nations thought they were conveying their land to the Crown for the limited purpose of authorizing the Crown to ‘protect’ their lands from incoming settlement … (p 145)

1836 Treaties

The treaty of 1836 made provision to set aside the Manitoulin Island area as a reserve, and some Indian people made the move … By the early 1860s, the demand for land from non-Aboriginal interests led to a further initiative to gain control of the Manitoulin Island lands. In the 1861-62 period, agents of the Crown and the government of the Province of Canada approached the Odawa and Ojibwa nations of Manitoulin, seeking to release the government from its 1836 promise to reserve the lands exclusively for Indian use. The agents of the Crown assumed that the 1836 agreement gave the Crown title to the island, a premise rejected by the Indian nations …

On the following Monday, he presented a revised proposal excluding from the negotiations and subsequent agreement the territory and inhabitants of the eastern portion of the island. Since a majority of the island’s Indian inhabitants resided in the east, the agreement to open the bulk of the island to non-Aboriginal settlement was struck with a minority of the Indian inhabitants. (p 146 – 147)


1850 Treaties

In 1841 Upper and Lower Canada joined together to become the Province of Canada and subsequently leases were issued to companies to explore and mine in Ojibwa territories…

In September 1850 negotiations for the Robinson Huron and Superior treaties were concluded . Ojibwa chiefs succeeded in obtaining reservations of land as well as a provision that would give them a share of revenues from the exploitation of resources in their territories. Annuities, or cash payments, were to increase as revenues increased. However, the provision for an increase in the extremely small annuities was adjusted only once in the 1870s. When the Ojibwa request a further increase to reflect the real profits, the federal government’s response is to rely on the English text of the treaty, which states that such further sums are limited to what “Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to order”. (p 147 – 148)


Numbered Treaties

In negotiating the numbered treaties that followed, the Crown followed the pattern of approaching First Nations to ‘surrender’ large tracts of land in return for annual cash payments and other ‘benefits’. These negotiations were conducted in the oral traditions of the Indian nations. Once agreement was reached, a text was produced that purported to represent the substance of the agreements. However, arrangements respecting land are one area where there was fundamental misunderstanding about what the parties thought or assumed they were doing when they made the treaties. The situation varied from one treaty to another, but in general the Indian nations, based on their cultural and oral traditions, understood they were sharing the land, not ‘surrendering’ it. While the surrender clauses of the early land sales in Ontario were included in the later written numbered treaties, it is questionable whether their implications were known to the Indian parties, since these legal and real estate concepts would have been incomprehensible to many Aboriginal people. Further, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to translate the legal language expressing these concepts into the Indian languages.

Aboriginal people often understood that they were being compensated for the use of their lands and that they were not being asked to give up or surrender them, but to allow settlers to move onto their lands peaceably. (p 148)


Although the extent to which these basic differences and assumptions were communicated effectively and understood depended on the historical circumstances of those events in particular locales, on the whole the First Nations did not agree to having their lands taken over by the Crown, nor did they agree to come under the control of the Crown. Their understanding was that they would share their lands and resources in a treaty relationship that would respect their agreement to co-exist as separate nations but linked in a partnership with the Crown.

Other aspects of the treaty negotiations were also significant. The numbered treaties provided for tracts of land to be set apart and protected as reserves for the Indian parties. In the Robinson treaties, for example, the reserve lands were retained or reserved from the general surrender of Indian title. In the later numbered treaties, the texts were drafted to indicate that all Indian title was surrendered to the Crown, and from those tracts the Crown was obliged to set apart ‘Crown land’ for reserves on a population-based formula.

As the Indian parties in possession of these huge tracts of land demanded a fair and equitable exchange, the Crown not only offered cash payments upon signing and annually thereafter, but agreed to provide agricultural and economic assistance, schools and teachers, and other goods and benefits depending on the particular group they were negotiating with … (p 149)


Treaties 1871 (onward)

Traditional historical interpretations have tended to portray the treaty-making process as a Crown initiative, with a benevolent Crown extending its largesse to the less fortunate nations. However, the numbered treaties came about because First Nations demanded that special arrangements be made through treaties before the Crown could expect to use Indian lands and resources. They were not prepared to give up their lands, on which they depended for their livelihood, without a formal arrangement that would protect adequate lands and resources for their own use. (p 151)

Following an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a treaty in the Fort Frances region in early 1871, treaty discussions were begun with the peoples of the Treaty 1 and 2 areas in the summer of the same year …

Archibald emphasized that they would not be compelled to settle on reserves and that they would be able to continue their traditional way of life and hunt as they always had.

… However, the written text did not include the guarantees that had been made respecting land, hunting and fishing, and the maintenance of their way of life, nor did it contain what were termed “outside” promises respecting agricultural implements, livestock, hunting equipment, and the other promises that had been extracted. In fact, the text was not that different from the Robinson Huron and Superior treaties, for it “surrendered” land in exchange for annuities, schools and reserves based on a formula of 160 acres per person.

In a subsequent inquiry into the matter, it was discovered that Commissioner Wemyss M.Simpson had neglected to include a record of the outside promises when he forwarded the text of the treaty to Ottawa… The matter of the outside promises was not settled until 1876. (p 151 – 152)


The negotiation of Treaty 3 was also long and difficult, but after two failed attempts a treaty was concluded in 1873. Throughout the negotiations the Ojibwa held fast to their terms, and Crown negotiators were forced to make concessions …

In the end, the Ojibwa succeeded in getting far more than the Crown had been willing to consider, including an increase in the size of reserves from a quarter-section to a full section. Provision was also made for domestic animals, farming equipment, annuities (compensation), clothing and education. Subsequent treaties generally included these provisions as a standard part of the agreement. In addition, those who were not present at treaty negotiations were asked to sign adhesions to the treaty for their traditional territories. (p 154)


Treaties with the First Nations of the plains, who were in possession of the western plains and who had to be dealt with if the new dominion was to extend its jurisdiction from east to west, were negotiated between 1874 and 1877 …

The rich agricultural plains were coveted by the Crown and had the greatest potential, aside from forest and mineral developments, to generate the economic prosperity that settlement would bring. This would not be easy, since the plains nations had military confederacies to guard their lands against encroachment…

In the end, and in part because of all the difficulties in negotiating the treaty, Morris offered and the chiefs present agreed to accept the terms of Treaty 3, the terms of which had already been communicated to them by the Ojibwa with whom they were in close communication. (154 – 155)


Treaty 5 was negotiated in September 1875 between the Swampy Cree and others and the Crown as represented by Commissioner Morris. A treaty in the vicinity of Lake Winnipeg was deemed necessary because of the requirements of navigation and the need to make arrangements for settlement and other developments so that “settlers and traders might have undisturbed access to its waters, shores, islands, inlets and tributary streams”. According to Morris’s report, the terms of Treaty 5 were similar to Treaties 3 and 4, except that reserved land would be provided on the basis of 160 acres for each family … The Cree were assured, however, that they would be able to retain lands in their traditional territories. (p 155-156)


A description of the unrest among Assiniboine and Cree: buffalo were disappearing, threat of starvation; fur-economy ruined by over hunting, settlers travelling west, etc. They demanded a treaty in order to establish their rights.

By the end of negotiations, the terms were similar to those of the other treaties, involving annuities, education, economic assistance and assistance with housing, but with added provisions for relief in the event of famine, help for the indigent, grain provisions for three years, and medical aid. (p 157)

In September 1877, Treaty 7 was made … between the Crown … and the Blood, Blackfoot, Peigan, Sarcee and Stoney nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy…

The Blackfoot Confederacy was feared because of its effectiveness in the defence of Blackfoot territory from outside encroachment. The Blackfoot were experiencing hardship as a result of the disappearance of the buffalo from their hunting grounds. Furthermore, up to 800 of their people had died from a smallpox epidemic in 1870…

Commissioner Laird offered inducements to get them to sign a treaty:

…But in a very few years the buffalo will probably be all destroyed, and for this reason the Queen wishes to help you to live in the future in some other way. She wishes you to allow her white children to come and live on your land and raise cattle, and should you agree to this she will assist you to raise cattle and grain… She will also pay you and your children money every year, which you can spend as you please. … The Queen wishes us to offer you the same as was accepted by the Crees.(p 157)

Negotiations consisted of the Crown offering annuities, goods and benefits, as they had in other treaties, in exchange for Blackfoot agreement to sign a treaty… In the record of treaty discussions prepared by the Crown, there appeared to be little discussion of the impending construction of the railroad or the surrender of Blackfoot territory. (p 158)


Treaties 8 and 11 were driven by economic pressures — gold was discovered in the Klondike in the spring of 1897, and prospectors, gold diggers and settlers flooded into Indian lands … in June 1898, nations in the Fort St. John area refused to allow police and miners to enter their territories until a treaty was made. (p 158)

As a result, in 1899 treaty commissioners travelled with a sense of urgency to meet the Cree and Dene nations in possession of a northern territory comprising 324,900 square miles, an area from northern Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and south of the Hay River and Great Slave Lake in the North West Territories. In Treaty 8, the Crown continued its policy of offering benefits if the Indian nations would allow settlers into their territories.

… The treaty also included the usual ‘cede, surrender and yield up’ clause, although this was not discussed by commissioners… It was only after the commissioners solemnly pledged their word, in the name of Queen Victoria, that the Indians agreed to sign the treaty. However, the full content of the discussion was not reflected in the written treaty. (p 158 – 159)


Treaty 11 was to follow the same path, since the Privy Council had noted in 1891 that immense quantities of petroleum and other valuable minerals existed in the Mackenzie River country and that “a treaty or treaties should be made with the Indians who claim these regions as their hunting grounds”. The economic implications were staggering to politicians in Ottawa. After oil was discovered at Norman Wells, treaty commissioners were again dispatched with urgency when the Dene threatened to refuse entry to their lands.

Commissioners were received with suspicion and mistrust, since the Dene had learned that guarantees negotiated in Treaty 8 were not being respected. Throughout the negotiations, the Dene repeated their conditions for making a treaty … 

Commissioner Conroy did not table the commitments and guarantees made to the Dene in the oral negotiations. All that was tabled was a written text almost identical to the predrafted treaty that had been proposed in the Treaty 8 negotiations.

Throughout the negotiation of the numbered treaties the commissioners did not clearly convey to First Nations the implications of the surrender and cession language in treaty documents. (p 159)



Differing Assumptions and Understandings

Early treaties were made for peace, trade, alliance, neutrality and military support. When settlement grew, treaties were made to establish relationships, as a way of living together in peaceful co-existence, and to acquire Aboriginal lands and resources. Canada continues to enter into treaty agreements with Aboriginal nations to acquire title to Aboriginal lands and resources.

Over time, treaties became more complex and difficult to negotiate … In many cases, it is questionable whether the Indian parties understood the legal and political implications of the land conveyance documents they were asked to sign. Many of these transactions are the subject of land claims today.

It is also doubtful in many cases that the First Nations participating in the numbered treaties knew that the written texts they signed differed from the oral agreements they concluded. In fact, it was not evident to them until some years after treaties were made that the Crown was not honouring its treaty commitments or was acting in a way that violated treaty agreements. Their reaction to the imposition of government laws and restrictions upon them was seen as a violation of the Queen’s promise to protect their way of life and not subject them to the Queen’s laws (the Indian Act) or the Queen’s servants (the Indian agent)…

The fact that in most cases the Indian parties were unable to verify the implications of the written text against the oral agreement … must be given consideration when interpreting their meaning. (p 160 – 161)


In most, if not all the treaties, the Crown promised not to interfere with their way of life, including their hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering practices.

… The Indian parties understood they would continue to maintain their traditional governments, their laws and their customs and to co-operate as necessary with the Crown. There was substantive agreement that the treaties established an economic partnership from which both parties would benefit … First Nations were promised compensation in the form of annual payments or annuities, social and economic benefits, and the continued use of their lands and resources. (p 161)

First Nations were assured orally that their way of life would not change unless they wished it to. They understood that their governing structures and authorities would continue undisturbed by the treaty relationship. They also assumed, and were assured, that the Crown would respect and honour the treaty agreements in perpetuity and that they would not suffer — but only benefit — from making treaties with the Crown. They were not asked, and they did not agree, to adopt non-Aboriginal ways and laws for themselves. (p 161)


Non-fulfillment of Treaties

One of the fundamental flaws in the treaty-making process was that only the Crown’s version of treaty negotiations and agreements was recorded in accounts of negotiations and in the written texts. Little or no attention was paid to how First Nations understood the treaties or consideration given to the fact that they might have had a completely different understanding of what had transpired.

Another fundamental problem was the Crown’s failure to establish the necessary laws to uphold the treaties it signed. Unlike the modern treaties of today, which have provisions for implementation, implementation of the historical treaties was virtually overlooked. Once treaties were negotiated, the texts were tabled in Ottawa and the commissioners who had negotiated them moved on to other activities. After 1867, the new dominion was occupied with immigration, settlement and nation building, and its treaties with the Indian nations were largely buried and forgotten in succeeding decades. Since the Indian department was located initially in the department of the interior, immigration and settlement took precedence in the corridors of power.

… The eclipse of treaties and the absenting of Indian people from decision making was pervasive, reinforced by Indian Act provisions that restricted Indian people to reserves and forbade them to pursue legitimate complaints about the non-fulfilment of treaties.

Additionally, no effective office in government was ever given responsibility for fulfilling Crown treaty commitments. Implementation was left to a small group of civil servants without the knowledge, power or authority to act for the Crown in meeting treaty obligations or to hold off other government departments and the private sector if they had conflicting agendas. For example, treaties promised that reserve lands would never be taken away without the consent of the Indian signatories, but statute law provided that reserve lands could be expropriated from 1850 on. Thus federal statutes overrode treaty promises that Indian nations would never lose their lands. (p 163-164)

Many of the rights and promises recognized and affirmed by the treaties could be upheld only by an act of the legislature. But treaties were not sanctioned by legislation; they were executive actions of the Crown…

In the absence of effective laws to implement treaties, the federal Indian administration fell back on the Indian Act. As time went on, basic treaty provisions such as annuities were provided for in the Indian Act to enable the federal government to deliver them. Although it does not recognize, affirm or otherwise acknowledge treaties, the Indian Act continues to be the only federal statute administering to Indians generally, including those with historical treaty agreements. This is despite the fact that, as of 1982, the constitution recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. (p 164)




Extending measures of Control and Assimilation

The nation of Canada was born on 1 July 1867. Within a federal political structure, a modern transcontinental society was to be fashioned and, as empire became nation, a new beginning was to be made…

The first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, soon informed Parliament that it would be Canada’s goal “to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the inhabitants of the Dominion.” …

Parliament was moved to action. Though rarely consulting Aboriginal communities, it translated that duty into federal legislation such as the Indian Act and periodic amendments to it. It crafted educational systems, social policies and economic development plans designed to extinguish Aboriginal rights and assimilate Aboriginal people.

The process began with the blueprint of Confederation, the British North America Act of 1867. It provided in section 91 that the “exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all matters within the class of subjects next herein-after enumerated” among which was section 24, “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians.”

Enfranchisement Act of 1869… the act was conditioned by the Indian department’s resolute insistence on enfranchisement. It brought forward the enfranchisement provisions of the act of 1857 and added … the goal of assimilation.

In the act, traditional governments were replaced by ‘municipal government’, giving minor and circumscribed powers to the band while extensive control of reserves was assigned to the federal government and its representative, the Indian affairs department.

In subsequent legislation — the Indian Acts of 1876 and 1880 and the Indian Advancement Act of 1884 — the federal government took for itself the power … every aspect of life on reserves and to create whatever infrastructure it deemed necessary to achieve the desired end — assimilation through enfranchisement and, as a consequence, the eventual disappearance of Indians as distinct peoples. It could, for example, and did in the ensuing years, control elections and the conduct of band councils, the management of reserve resources and the expenditure of revenues, impose individual land holding through a ‘ticket of location’ system, and determine the education of Indian children.

For Aboriginal people, however, there was even further division — yet more separate paths. Federal legislative responsibility was restricted to Indians. The Métis people were disavowed, and Inuit were not recognized as a federal constitutional responsibility until 1939 and then were exempted explicitly from the Indian Act in 1951. (p 165 – 167)



While ‘status’ Indian men could not lose their status except by enfranchisement, the act of 1869 added the proviso that “any Indian woman marrying any other than an Indian shall cease to be an Indian…nor shall the children issue of such a marriage be considered as Indians”. Over the course of Canada’s first century, therefore, an ever growing number of Indian women and their children were lost to their communities and saw their existence as Aboriginal persons simply denied by the federal government. (p 167)

In 1884 and 1885, the potlatch and the sundance, two of the most visible and spiritually significant aspects of coastal and plains culture respectively, were outlawed … Participation in the potlatch was made a criminal offence, and it was also illegal to appear in traditional costume or dance at festivals. (p 169)

The pass system allowed the department to regulate all economic activity among communities, including adjacent non-Aboriginal ones. No one who had not obtained an agent’s leave would be allowed, on an Indian reserve, to barter, directly or indirectly, with any Indian, or sell to him any goods or supplies, cattle or other animals, without the special licence in writing. (p 169)

… That was changed in 1930, however, with passage of the natural resources transfer agreements with the three prairie provinces. In these the federal government failed to take “any precaution, apparently, to safeguard the sacred trusts which had been guaranteed to the Indians by treaty.” Thereafter, Aboriginal access to off-reserve resources was controlled across the country by provinces — which, of course, had no responsibility for First Nations. (p 170)

Those who failed to comply with any of the myriad social and economic regulations faced fines or imprisonment …Indian agents were made justices of the peace. The department then had the power to make and to enforce regulations, which had the force of law, with regard to the full spectrum of public and private life in communities. (p 171)


Residential Schools

By far the most ambitious and tragic initiative, however, was the joint government and church residential school program. Introduced originally for Indian children, the system would eventually draw children from almost every Aboriginal community — Indian, Métis and Inuit — across the country. Beginning in 1849, the program developed to include boarding schools, built close to the reserves for children between the ages of 8 and 14, and industrial schools, placed near non-Aboriginal urban centres to train older children in a range of trades. The schools — 80 of them at the high point — were the centrepiece of the assimilation strategy…

Bad management, unsanitary conditions and abuse of the children were more than occasional exceptions to the rule. Parents, and indeed many local agents, were reluctant to send children to the schools … The department, unable to get adequate funding from Parliament or contributions from the churches, abandoned the ambitious industrial school model by 1920. Thereafter, the emphasis was placed on the boarding schools which, while less expensive, were judged by accepted standards of child care and education to be a dismal failure, leaving deep scars across communities and the conscience of a nation. 

The removal of children from their homes and the denial of their identity through attacks on their language and spiritual beliefs were cruel. But these practices were compounded by the too frequent lack of basic care — the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, medical services and a healthful environment, and the failure to ensure that the children were safe from teachers and staff who abused them physically, sexually and emotionally (p 172)


As early as 1918, F.O. Loft declared, when organizing the League of Indians, the
first attempt at a national organization:

… The first aim of the League then is to claim and protect the rights of all Indians in Canada by legitimate and just means; second, absolute control in retaining possession or disposition of our lands; that all questions and matters relative to individual and national wellbeing of Indians shall rest with the people and the dealings with the Government shall be by and through their respective band Councils. (p 173)

Thus, the Indian Act of 1927 contained stronger measures to intervene in and control the affairs of Aboriginal societies, including further efforts to develop an agricultural economy in the expectation that social and cultural change would follow in its wake. That act was also notable for its response to Aboriginal political organizations pursuing land issues, especially in British Columbia. An amendment was added making “raising a fund or providing money for the prosecution of any claim” a crime unless permission was obtained. (p 176)


The “Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, 1969” ignored the consultations that accompanied the policy review and proceeded to recommend measures designed to achieve integration and equality: Indian people were to be allowed to retain their cultures, much as other Canadians do in a multicultural society, but they were to give up the other features that make them distinct — elements such as treaties, Aboriginal rights, exclusive federal responsibility, and the department of Indian affairs. The overwhelmingly hostile response to this policy initiative on the part of Aboriginal people, and subsequent court decisions that recognize the validity of Aboriginal and treaty rights, marked an important turning point in the relationship. (p 176)

***


To be continued … this summary will be updated periodically, when I have the time.

Indigenous Survivors: “Our people were experimented on”

From the CBC:

“Florence Genaille was just a little girl in a Brandon, Man., sanatorium when she says doctors bound her to a gurney, pumped her body with electric currents and then took notes as her fingers curled, her arms shook and her neck strained backwards.

It was 1953. The Ojibway girl from Rolling River First Nation was at the sanatorium to be treated for tuberculosis.

Today, she believes it was no treatment. It was, she says, a medical experiment and she was their “guinea pig” — an assessment that Genaille shares with hundreds of survivors of the sanatoriums, which have been closed for decades.

They’re allegations that historians are now investigating.

“I’m telling you, my fingers were beginning to twist sideways, it was so incredibly painful,” said Genaille, now 72. “And now to come to the conclusion our people were experimented on — it’s an awful thing to think about.”

No evidence of tuberculosis

Genaille still does not know why doctors performed the electroconvulsive therapy. She still does not know why she was sent to the Brandon sanatorium.

At the time, she was attending residential school outside Brandon. She had bad leg pain with no known cause. Finally, the nuns decided to send her to the sanatorium, saying she might have tuberculosis in her bones.

She didn’t. In fact, years later, a doctor told her she had no evidence of tuberculosis at all.

But that didn’t stop doctors from ordering extreme bed rest for six months, so strict that she was not allowed to get off the mattress, even when they changed the bedding.

That didn’t stop doctors from slicing open the back of her thigh to explore her bone, only to sew it back up, scarring her for life and leaving her with a permanent limp. 

She had been, in the doctor’s opinion, experimented on — maybe in good faith, but without merit and without consent.

‘A lot of power in the hands of doctors’

Mary Jane McCallum is studying this theory.

McCallum, an associate professor with the University of Winnipeg, is researching what went on in Indian hospitals, as some were called then, and sanatoriums.

She has heard stories similar to Genaille’s from other sanatorium survivors and does know this: Indian hospitals were long the training ground for medical students.

Parents of young patients were often hundreds of kilometres away in remote reserves, unaware of the procedures and therefore unable to give consent.

“That meant that there were a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of power in the hands of doctors,” McCallum wrote in an email to the CBC.

Gerald McIvor agrees. Back in 1952, his brother Michael was just a child when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to the sanatorium in Ninette, Man.

Decades later, he bore the scars — disabling, disfiguring markers where doctors surgically removed a back rib and the lung behind it as a theoretical treatment for the tuberculosis.


“He always wondered, ‘Why? Why did they do that?'” McIvor said, adding his brother, who died in 2000, remembered the searing pain and little else.


Years later, Dr. A.L. Paine, a pre-eminent physician who was previously the medical superintendent of the Ninette sanatorium, explained he performed these surgeries with just a local anesthetic.

In a January 1979 paper published in the journal Canadian Family Physician titled Tuberculosis: Past, present and future, he wrote local anesthetic was used “to avoid spread of the disease during general anesthesia,” and that patients willingly agreed to it.

“Looking back, one must regret the frequent use of chest surgery attended at times by some deformity or reduced respiratory function,” Dr. Paine wrote, while arguing “many patients would have died without surgical aid.”


Taken from residential schools to sanatoriums


Today, there are other answers, though some are hidden in the history books.


In the first half of the 20th century, tuberculosis on reserves was a significant problem. The thinking at the time was that it was because Indigenous people lived in the wild.


According to an article in the August 1939 Canadian Medical Association Journal, “the Indian is still a wandering wigwam dweller at heart and adapts himself poorly to living in houses” and has “a native stubbornness and intolerance to interference that makes clinic work difficult.”


But under the Indian Act, it was legal to seize kids suspected of having tuberculosis and send them to sanatoriums — sometimes directly from their residential school, as in Genaille’s case.


It was also seen at the time as a financial win-win, medical historians say. The practice kept numbers up in both residential schools and sanatoriums where funding was tied, in part, to quotas.


So by the 1950s, even though there were better therapies available for tuberculosis patients and therapies that could let them heal at home, Indigenous patients continued to be detained longer — sometimes years longer — than the rest of the population.


McIvor, Genaille and historians don’t yet know the full extent or intentions behind what went on in Canada’s Indian hospitals and sanatoriums.


But they want to get some answers.


“I think a lot of these doctors learned from experimenting on us,” Genaille said. “Why else would just my kind of people be in there and exposed to this?”

See also:

Former sanatorium patient searches for answers, validation

B.C. author tells the horrific story of so-called ‘Indian hospitals’

Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says

Canadian government withheld food from hungry aboriginal kids in 1940s nutritional experiments, researcher finds


Researcher calls for public inquiry into medical experimentation on students not compensated in settlement agreement


Comment:

We know they performed experiments on Aboriginal children with nutrition and vaccines, now it seems only a matter of time until the rest of the accusations of medical experiments come spilling out. (Some already have!)

Unless of course the government can cover it up. One successful avenue has been the “reconciliation process” – giving abuse victims payoffs and then essentially shutting them up. One would think if you want “reconciliation” and “healing” you’d have massive investigations into things, clear up the truth and make everything public – enabling the country to move on. They appear to want to pay people to shut up and stifle anything from becoming public. We can’t change the past but we could learn from it. But why would cakers do that? Have to focus on the number one priority: making Canada look “good” to the world and feeling superior to Americans!


See post: Canadians aren’t sorry for genocide: ‘Intentions were good’



Canada’s Forgotten Slaves: Two Hundred Years of Bondage

To help elaborate on the topic of slavery in Canada, I am quoting some excerpts from Marcel Trudel’s book ‘Canada’s Forgotten Slaves: Two Hundred Years of Bondage’. It’s an interesting book and worth reading. (The topic has been virtually ignored and suppressed in Canada.)

Points to note:

Between 1632 and 1834 there were over 4000 slaves in New France/Canada. They were both black and aboriginal. A black was worth 900 livres, and an Amerindian slave worth 400 livres. There were more Amerindian slaves than blacks: this tended to be because they were cheaper, which was in part a result of the fact they were nearby and easier to obtain. (Amerindian slaves were known as ‘Panis’ – a generic term to describe a slave of any tribe.)

Slavery here never reached the heights of the southern colonies or Caribbean – but not through lack of effort. Citizens attempted to import shipments of slaves but were prevented by wars, transportation costs, company changes and a lack of interest from slavers.

While slavery was an economic imperative for southern colonies, slavery here had no real economic basis and was merely a status symbol, conveying wealth and prestige. While attempts to ship slaves were requested for “cost effective” measures, and assistance in “working the land” (agriculture), in fact very few slaves were rural and most existed in the city, purchased by the upper classes.

Timeline:

The slavery timeline begins in ‘New France’ (a colony of France), and continues under the British military regime (after the conquest of 1760). It carries on in the province of Quebec (1774-1791) and Lower Canada (1791 – 1834).


Introduction

“Canadians have long seen slavery in terms, above all, of the Underground Railway, that clandestine network of forest and waterside paths by which Quakers, black freedmen and other human rights advocates smuggled runaway American slaves northwards to liberty in the early nineteenth century. As many as a hundred thousand slaves escaped to Canada. But for some strange reason, while congratulating Canadians for offering refuge to these fugitives, generations of historians maintained a virtual conspiracy of silence about slaves owned and exploited, bought and sold, by Canadians themselves.”

p 7

“… when did slavery begin here? The first slaves were few and far between, and the practice of slave-holding only became a common practice starting in the 1680s. A few individual slaves appeared first of all. Gradually servitude became a recognized institution in the society of New France, and it remained so up to the first quarter of the nineteenth century.”

p 15

“The first slave we can positively identify in New France was a Negro boy brought here by David Kirke in 1629 … ” 

p 15, 16

 “When the Negro Olivier Le Jeune died in 1654, we believe he was the only one of his kind in Canada, and the next black slave only turned up a quarter of a century later. Elsewhere in the Americas, however, slave traders preyed on native Amerindians…”

p 18

This was ‘justified’ by the fact that Native American tribes practiced slavery themselves, by taking war captives.

“But starting in 1671, the French settlers of Canada began to acquire Amerindian slaves. It is true that once the French acquired these Amerindians, they do not always seem to have formally regarded them as slaves. What matters is that these slaves were given to the French as slaves, and that the French accepted them as such, at least for a time.”

p 21

The first two Amerindian slaves to come to Quebec were Pottawatomie girls in 1671,  who were later given to nuns and raised. Some would come from as far as Mississippi. (p 22, 23)

“Trafficking of Amerindian slaves truly began in earnest in 1687: it was on a modest scale at first, but then became more and more generalized and continued until the early nineteenth century.   

… How long had these slaves been living among the French? It is impossible to say. It is clear however that they only appeared in the civil registry after arriving in the colony. The Panis Louis, for example, must have been living in French society for a fairly long time because he could not be confirmed before learning adequate French as well as the catechism.   

By the end of the seventeenth century, Amerindian slaves turn up almost each year in historical records.”

p 23, 24

“If we bring together a list of the Amerindian slaves who lived among the French population at the end of the seventeenth century, we find twenty-nine Amerindian slaves over a twenty-nine year period …

Our list of seventeenth-century slave owners in Canada thus includes colonial officials, military officers, explorers and fur traders: indeed, these are the key groups that defined the heyday of slave-owning, and they were also the groups most intimately involved with Native Amerindian nations.  

We are talking about slaves. Aside from men, women, and children explicitly identified as slaves or said to belong to an owner, it is not certain that the other Amerindians who entered New France as slaves actually appear as such in historical documents.”

p 26

“For example, before 1790, when Intendant Raudot intervened to provide a legal basis for slavery, civil registries rarely used the word “slave”; in the fifteen civil acts of this period relating to slaves, only one directly used the word “slave” … This was the first time prior to 1700 that civil registries used the word slave; up till then, those maintaining records had usually written “savage belonging to …” a specific free person.”

p 27, 28


“Give Us Negroes!”  (Chapter One)

“Blacks were needed to harvest sugar cane in the Carribbean, and the labour supply argument was also put forward in Canada. In 1688, the governor of New France Brisay de Denonville and Intendant Bochart de Champigny wrote to the king that workers and servants were so hard to find in the colony, and so expensive, that they ruined anyone engaged in any enterprise: the best way to remedy this situation would be to introduce black slaves.”

p 29

In 1689 the king would grant authorization for slave shipments, but wrote of his concerns about blacks and their sustainability in the “climate” of Canada.

On May 17, 1689 war broke out between France and England. Under the League of Augsburg, [a coalition of countries and colonies against France and Louis XIV] slaves could only be sent to Quebec from trading posts in Guinea when the war was over. (p 33)

The war would last eight years, preventing black slaves from coming to Canada; only four are confirmed during that period.

“With the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, the war came to an end after eight long years. Did this mean prospective slave owners could finally take advantage of the royal authorization granted in 1689? The next mention in the royal mail of the problem of sending blacks to Canada was in 1701 … “His Majesty has no objection to granting the people of Canada permission to own Blacks, but as the only way to effect this is to bring in a ship laden with Blacks, they must give assurances they will pay the costs of transportation…”

p 34

“To minimize any losses, it had to be made clear first of all whether Canadians were actually in a position to pay for goods from abroad, and the authorities of New France had to ensure “that precautions are taken to make this happen.” There was no question of a ship bearing Negroes to Quebec for the time being. In any case, war broke out again … This incurred further delays, and it would be eleven years before a new peace treaty was signed.”

p 34

“Given the uncertain supply of black slaves, prospective owners naturally turned to Amerindians, who continued arriving in the country as slaves, slowly at first, but then at an even greater pace from 1700 …  

Amerindian slavery stood at a relatively high level from 1710 onwards, largely because of an ordinance issued by Intendant Raudot in 1709, to the effect that people who bought Panis and blacks as slaves owned them outright. Given the proximity to the Amerindian slave market, this ordinance was likely to encourage people who needed slaves, but it could do nothing for the prospective owners who preferred blacks. Canadians who preferred ebony slaves had to wait till the war was over: added delays came when metropolitan authorities in France had to figure out how to ship slaves to Quebec.” 

p 35, 36

Generally speaking, most average citizens couldn’t afford slaves personally, or the colony as a whole to pay for shipments outright. 

“Taking up the same arguments that had worked in the past, he wrote: “There are few inhabitants in Canada, and many enterprises suffer from the difficulty of finding workers and day laborers whose wages are excessively high.” Importing blacks would “lead to an increase in the colony and its trade.” Why not use this resource profitably, the way the English colonies did? …  

Word from the French government came back: “it does not seem appropriate at present to send Negroes to Canada.” … it is worth noting that the government refused to send a shipment of blacks to Canada, while continuing to allow Canadians to own slaves.”

p 38

The Regent demanded full payment from Canadians before any slaves were sent. Intendant Begon then compiled a list of proposed purchasers and their requests. He continued to urge for black slaves citing many reasons, including: working the land, as well as caring for widows and the elderly.

Begon submitted his arguments in January 1721, and a shipment of black slaves was agreed to. The shipment was postponed for a year, and then never fulfilled (due to the company’s loss of its monopoly among other factors). (p 38 – 41)

Despite receiving authorizations in 1689, 1701, and 1721, no slave shipment could be bothered to make the longer and more expensive trip to Quebec, so the wholesale buying of black slaves was avoided. (p 42)


Legalization  (Chapter Two)

Prior to 1709, there was no document outlining the legality of slavery.

“However, starting in 1689, owners of blacks could rest easy: Louis XIV had authorized Canadians to import blacks for the purposes of working and clearing the land. This royal authorization served as a guarantee of ownership of blacks, but could not be applied to Amerindians held in bondage, even though most slaves in New France were actually Amerindians.”

p 44

On April 13, 1709 – Intendant Raudot issued an ordinance, which included in part:

“We, at His Majesty’s pleasure, order that all Panis and Negroes who have been bought and who shall be bought hereafter shall belong in full ownership to those who bought them as their slaves; and we hereby forbid the said Panis and Negroes to leave their masters, and anyone else to tempt them away, under a penalty of a fine of fifty livres.”

p 46

The tribes allied with the French (Algonquins, Montagnais, Abenakis, Iroquois) were left alone and for the most part not seized as slaves.

In 1733 a civil lawsuit brought up a dispute: a slave had been obtained as ‘payment’ for owed debts; the first owner argued that as his slave had been baptized the seizure of a “Christian” was unlawful, but the judge ruled against him and upheld the sale. (p 48, 49)

The King was petitioned to clarify statutes on Amerindian slaves, but refused to do so, simply recommending that colonists follow “customary practice”. This seems to have been a way to sidestep delicate issues regarding alliances with certain Amerindian tribes; and France’s hopes for further expansion and cooperation.  (p 50, 51)

When contacted regarding the sale of Amerindian slaves outside the colony (to the Carribean for example), Intendant Raudot decided they could not be transported elsewhere, since their slavery was to “benefit” the colony itself. (p 52)

However this ordinance was ignored, and slaves that proved troublesome or were needed for cash were in fact sent to the Caribbean. Amerindians particularly were noted for running away and being disobedient.

“This practice of sending slaves of unhappy masters to the Carribbean became so popular that… proposed to the king that it be done systemically.   

… In 1747, Canadian authorities therefore proposed to the king that owners should not keep these Amerindians beyond the age of sixteen or seventeen years, after which they should be sold in the Caribbean, where they obviously had no means of escape.”

p 54

There is no further record regarding the matter; no formal dictates, it was simply done in practice. Some slaves were transported to France, where they could legally be brought over on certain conditions, despite slavery being “illegal” in the country itself (while legal in its colonies).

According to English and French custom: “A black is a slave wherever he may be found.” Black slaves could not be “free” in France or its colonies, nor having fled from another nation, unless they had been formally emancipated. (p 56, 57)

So while slavery was illegal in France, slaves could be sent there or could travel there with their masters, provided they were from the colonies. Slaves which escaped to France hoping for emancipation by reaching it, were not entitled to their freedom by virtue of living in the country proper. 

After the British takeover:

“When the Articles of Capitulation were signed in Montreal in September 1760, they reasserted the legal character of Amerindian and black slavery, and extended it under British rule. Governor Vaudreuil-Cavagnial made a special request relating to slavery which became Article 47:   

The Negroes and Panis of both sexes shall remain in their qualify of slaves in the possession of the French and Canadians to whom they belong; they shall be at liberty to keep them in their service in the colony or to sell them; and they may also continue to bring them up in the Roman Religion.  

… And so the institution of slavery in Canada was first recognized and amply protected by French law, and was then extended under the British regime by another statute, the Articles of Capitulation of 1760.”

p 57

Nearly 4200 Slaves in Quebec  (Chapter Three)

The author had issues with finding full records and documentation. His slave sourcing came from Catholic and Protestant records: civil registries, patient and death records, census roles, notarial records, wills, inventories, etc. They counted only the slaves they could formally confirm, 2700 of which were Amerindians, and 1443 blacks.

“But of 4200 slaves, we found that only 456 Amerindians and 228 blacks were either indicated as slaves or were subject to a commercial transaction. In Quebec, people were reluctant to use the term “slavery” although the reality was there for all to see. The priest making entries in the civil registry hesitated to use the word “slave” or could not be bothered to use it. We repeatedly found cases where an Amerindian or black was baptized and had been acquired by purchase, but was nonetheless still not specifically referred to as a slave. In most cases, the record-keeper merely noted that a given Amerindian or black belonged to a given owner.”

p 61

“There had been petitions in New France calling for shiploads of black slaves, but nothing of the sort ever took place. Instead, black slaves were obtained in the Thirteen Colonies as war booty or through smuggling.”   

p 73

“The number of new slaves appearing in the historical record only begins to be significant after 1709, the year in which Intendant Raudot legalized slavery. Then, in the last two decades of French rule, the total number of slaves reached 400 and 500, due to the importance of the fur trade, which made it easier to acquire Amerindian slaves. With the decline of the fur trade, the number of Amerindian slaves then quickly fell off, whereas the number of blacks rose suddenly to well over 600 as Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution brought their black slaves up to Canada.”

p 76

“Of this grand total of 4185 slaves, 2683 Amerindians make up 65.1% or two-thirds of the 4124 slaves whose origins are known, whereas 1443 blacks account for 34.9% or just over a third.  

We are convinced that our seventeenth-and eighteenth-century Canadian ancestors had more slaves than the 4185 identified in the Dictionnaire. We say this because, from the eighteenth-century onwards, owners complained how hard it was to hold onto their Amerindian slaves; moreover, given that Amerindian slaves were often baptized later in life … it follows that many of these slaves died before being baptized and therefore do not appear in the civil registry.”

p 77


The Slave Market  (Chapter Four)

“There was practically an equal number of male and female slaves: males represented 1973 slaves (47.8%), while females represented 2151 slaves (52.2%). However, if we break down each of these two groups separately, the result is not so evenly matched. There were more women than men among Amerindian slaves (1543 or 57.7% were women), whereas there were fewer women than men among black slaves (608 or 42.2% were women).”

p 84

“Was there a public slave market in Canada the way there was in the Thirteen Colonies and Caribbean? And if there was such a market, was it in continuous operation, or only occasionally? The historical record does not enable us to provide a satisfactory answer to these questions …  

Public sales of slaves at auction definitely occurred in Canada. We only know of one such case under the French regime, when in 1733 the merchant … bought a Paducah on the market square … Several more public slave sales took place under the British regime. In Quebec City in 1778, Captain Thomas VEnture offered his mulatto slave Isabella at auction …”

p 90, 91

“Moreover, these public sales and auctions were regularly advertised in newspapers. Between 1767, when the first slave sale ad appeared, and 1798, when the last such ad came out, there were at least 137 advertisements for thirty different slaves…”

p 91

“It is clear that slaves were indeed put up for auction in Quebec and Montreal, and sold to the highest bidder. Slavery was legal in Canada, so why would slaves not have been sold at auction here, as they were in other colonies?  

We know of an oral tradition concerning the slave market. In his memoirs … Dandurand wrote: “I can state quite definitely that in my early childhood, a full-fledged slave market existed in Montreal…”

p 92

“The average Amerindian cost only 400 livres, whereas the average black cost 900. Another way of putting this is to say a black slave was worth twice as much as an Amerindian slave. This should come as no surprise, since New France was close to the market in “savages”, but far from the market in black ebony, and the additional cost of acquiring black slaves was passed on to the purchaser.”

p 97

While most owners were wealthy or relatively well off, some citizens went into debt to purchase slaves. 


Owners at All Levels of Society  (Chapter Five)

“Our history of slavery can conveniently be divided into two traditional periods, the French regime and the British regime.   

… Our study of Quebec slavery … has enabled us to establish that owners of French origin were the leading slave owners, given that they accounted for 2858 or 86.6% of all known owners. Even more significant is the fact that these slave owners of French origin owned 79.1% of all Amerindian slaves. Evidently, once the British settled in Quebec following the Conquest, it was much harder for them to acquire Amerindian slaves than it had been for the French prior to 1760, given the rapid decline of the fur trade.  

During the colonial period, French-speaking owners held almost all the Amerindian slaves we have identified in official records, and they even held 596 black slaves, far outnumbering the 301 black slaves held by English-speaking owners.” 

p 103, 104)

Slaves were held by the highest authorities of the French regime, and senior British officials. Generally speaking however, French Canadians had more slaves than British Canadians.

“It cost an average of 900 livres to buy a black slave, and 400 livres to buy an Amerindian one…” Merchants were leading slave owners, then military officers; other owners included physicians, surgeons, followed by notaries and then tradesmen.

“Printers also owned slaves. The first printers operating in Quebec were William Brown and Thomas Gilmore, who printed the Quebec Gazette: they owned black slaves, at least from 1767.  

… Fleury Mesplet had at least one black slave when he published the Gazette de Montreal (now the Montreal Gazette).”

p 110

Other owners included: bishops, priests, religious orders (including nuns) and the State itself.

“In fact, slavery in Quebec was not some economic imperative, but rather a form of public extravagance which conferred prestige on to members of high society but also on to all other levels of society indulging in it.”

p 118

The Living Conditions of Slaves  (Chapter Six)

In March 1685, Louis XIV issued an edict of sixty articles, the Code Noir, instructing on issues dealing with ‘the condition and quality’ of slaves. These included stipulations on marriage, religion, cohabitation, slave children, penalties and punishments, etc. One example:

“… the slave who has drawn the blood of his master, mistress or their children, shall be punished by death; slaves who assault free persons, and also some cases of robbery, shall be subject to severe penalties or even the death penalty. The fugitive slave shall have his ears cut off, and shall be branded with the fleur de lys on the shoulder; if he commits the same infraction a second time, he shall have his hamstring cut; the third time, he shall be put to death.”

p 121


The Code did have some “humane provisions” such as: demanding minimum living conditions, instruction in religion, families could not be separated by sale, and old slaves could not be abandoned.

The Code Noir was specifically written for the Caribbean, and later amended slightly to apply to Louisiana. No specific code was ever written for, or legally binding in Canada, although colonists followed the Code generally in most matters.

“As a result, we do not need to ask whether a slave owner was complying with a law of Canada, in granting a particular privilege to his slave, or in imposing a condition: in fact, no such law existed in Canada. It is interesting to note however that slave owners generally complied with provisions of the Code Noir of the Caribbean or Louisiana, even when not required to do so.”

p 122


Punishments in the colony appear to have been ‘lighter’ than suggested (by the Code) in most cases. Main punishments (confirmed) included: flogging, imprisonment, hanging, branding with fleur de lys, deportation to the galleys, and in the case of Marie-Joseph-Angelique – torture. This can be attributed to the relatively small percentage of slaves: limiting fear of an uprising or reprisals, which could take place in areas such as the Caribbean. (Chapter 8: p 161 – 178)

Some slaves were able to take part in civil cases and legal proceedings, since the Code Noir  was not followed to the letter or formally implemented. (Chapter 9: p 179-200)

Canadian men slept with both Amerindian and black female slaves, having many illegitimate children out of wedlock. Children of female slaves were automatically considered slaves, even when the father was a free man.

Slaves were allowed to marry, on the condition they had the permission of their owners. (Chapter 10: p 201 – 219)


Marriages (Chapter Eleven)

“Charlevoix noted that many white Canadian men had a pronounced liking for “savage women”, and while many such men were quite content to have sexual relations with “savage women”, some nonetheless felt the need to marry such women before God; some Amerindian men also formed permanent unions with white Canadian women.”

p 220

 In 1648, Jesuit Pierre de Semaisons recommended to the Pope that the men of New France be allowed to marry ‘savage women’:

“This will diminish the number of savages while increasing the number of Christians… These marriages will greatly promote the peopling of this great country where God is not [currently] well served, since French men will marry here, and will no longer return to France in order to take wives, which in turn hinders them shortly afterwards from coming back to the colony … These reasons seem pressing enough to incite His Holiness to allow the French who live in New France to marry savage girls …” 

p 220, 221


 The minister Colbert advocated a policy of mixing. In a letter to Intendant Talon in 1667:

“You have started to address this long-standing neglect, and you must try to attract these [Amerindian] people to those who have embraced Christianity in the vicinity of our homes, and if possible to mix them together so that over time, living under only one master and one system of law, they will form only one people and one blood.”

p 221

“But these marriages were not without serious drawbacks … French men were likelier to become “savage” than “savage” women to become French. Husbands had to be prevented from giving themselves up to the savage lifestyle …”

p 222


In 1706 Governor Vaudreuil ordered that French men be prevented from marrying Amerindian women:

“as he is convinced that bad blood should never be mixed with good, given the experience we have in this country, where all French men who married savage women have become lazy libertines, and unbearably independent, and the resulting children have proved just as lazy as the Amerindians themselves, and we must not allow these kinds of marriages to take place.”

p 223


Slaves Disappeared One by One  (Chapter Twelve)

“Already by 1787, it was clear owners feared the more or less imminent abolition of slavery. Was the Legislative Council of Quebec serious about abolishing slavery or was it only rumored to be concerned about the matter? We found no documentary evidence either in or before 1787 that would help answer this question… By 1787, there had been no public campaign in Quebec against slavery: newspapers were silent on the issue.”

p 233


In April 1791 a debate was held in the British House of Commons, but the majority of MPs voted against abolition. The next year on April 2, 1792 MPs in the House of Commons voted for gradual abolition of the slave trade.

“… but the Canadian press campaign was of an episodic character. Coverage depended on events taking place in Europe: the subject of slavery could disappear from the press for months, then suddenly regain importance before retreating from public view once again. We should note there was nothing original about the anti-slavery press campaign, nothing relating explicitly to slavery in Canada: newspapers reprinted the text of debates taking place in London as foreign news, without any accompanying comment relating these debates to the practice of slavery in Canada itself.”

p 235


On January 28, 1793  Pierre-Louis Panet asked to bring in a bill to abolish slavery in Lower Canada, which was approved, but later killed off by Debonne and McBeath.

“The vote on April 19, 1793 showed that a large majority of members of the House of Assembly favored maintaining slavery. Of these proponents of slavery, we know that at least twelve were then, or were about to become, slave owners …”

p 237

“The Consitutional Act of 1791 divided Canada into two distinct provinces: Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Upper Canada, which eventually became Ontario, was the first of these provinces to adopt legislation specifically on slavery…”

p 238


Upper Canada adopted The Act Against Slavery bill in 1793 ‘to prevent the importation of slaves to the province, and to determine the conditions needed to bring an end to slavery‘. Slaves already in the province would continue to be enslaved, and children of slave mothers would continue in enslavement until the age of twenty-five. Those born before the Act had passed would continue to be slaves indefinitely. (p 239)

“But the Act also had the longer-term effect of turning Upper Canada into a “land of liberty” for runaway slaves. Indeed, the Act of 1793 prohibited that any black or Indian slave entering the province of Upper Canada should be treated as a slave: as a result, any fugitive slave seeking asylum in the province would be released from bondage….  

Fugitive slaves reaching the province saw Upper Canada as an international place of refuge, but slaves already established before 1793 continued to toil in servitude.”

p 239, 240


Meanwhile in Lower Canada, the status quo continued. By 1794, a Court Justice in Montreal would set precedent by allowing runaway slaves seeking refuge to not be prosecuted or returned. “Still no law in Lower Canada explicitly prohibited slavery: existing legislation remained in force.” (p 244)


In April 1799, a group of Montrealers had Joseph Papineau (House Assembly member) put forth a petition on their behalf extolling the legality of slavery as according to French and British laws previously established. Since opinions varied by judge and citizen, they asked that a clear decision be applied: either the continuation of slavery, or formal abolition so that the legal limbo many found themselves in would be halted.

A second petition was put forth on April 18, 1800 which quoted the Raudot Ordinance of 1709 which was “never altered or repealed”. This resulted in the creation of a five member committee to oversee the matter. Yet nothing was accomplished and decisions were deferred several times.

“Indeed, after all these unsuccessful attempts to get the House of Assembly of Lower Canada to enact legislation on slavery, nothing further was done: after 1803 the question of slavery never appeared in the agenda of the House of Assembly. Ultimately, no Act specifically addressing the condition of slaves was ever adopted in Lower Canada.”

p 250

“Historical records indicate the presence of a few slaves every year until 1808, but then there is a gap of thirteen years until 1821, when the last historical document mentions an individual slave.”

p 251

“It is hard to say exactly how slavery ended in French Canada … Did the history of slavery in Lower Canada end because of a law enacted in Britain? On August 28, 1833, the British government voted to put an end to slavery throughout the British Empire. The Slavery Abolition Act came into force in 1834 …   

Were there any remaining slaves in Lower Canada to take advantage of this legal emancipation?”… 

It appears there were no Amerindian slaves left to be emancipated by this time, and very few blacks, many of whom were aged. And so:

“Suffice it to say that in Quebec, slavery withered away on its own, and no date can be assigned to its final disappearance.”

p 252, 253


Conclusion

“Throughout this work we have been dealing with a historical territory which does not quite occupy the same space as present-day Canada. Our study establishes that slavery had an official, legal existence over two centuries, that is between 1632 and 1834…  

However, slavery here remained on a relatively small scale… it was not until the last years of the seventeenth century that slave ownership in New France, whether Amerindians or blacks, became a regular feature of society …   

The original colonists of Quebec wanted to import massive numbers of black slaves into the colony…. No massive importation of black slaves took place, but Canadians were able to draw off a few black slaves while warring against the Thirteen Colonies, and to exploit increasing numbers of Amerindian slaves who were brought back from the Midwest to Montreal as a result of the fur trade.” 

p 254, 255

“Slavery was an economic imperative in colonies where sugar and tobacco were grown, whereas in French Canada no economic activity required the presence of slave labour..”

p 257

“How can slavery in Canada have been virtually forgotten? Historians are surely to blame, whether because they did not examine slavery or because they failed to even notice it. Despite the fact the historian Francois-Xavier Garneau was born in 1809, when slavery still existed in Lower Canada, he completely misinformed his readers about slavery … Garneau dug himself deeper into a hole by claiming that “the government and Canadian clergy should be honored for consistently opposing the introduction of Blacks into Canada.”

p 268, 269

Writing about slavery was nearly non-existent, aside from a handful of authors over a century. As a result:

“And yet, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the phenomenon of Quebec slavery seems still relatively unknown … Although we have put a lot of energy into establishing rigorous historical facts about slavery, we are still met with surprise and especially disbelief: “What! Do you mean slavery actually existed in Quebec?” … in point of fact, our colonial past can be likened to the Thirteen Colonies of America.

p 270, 271


There you have it folks … the hidden history of slavery in Canada. This issue is so little known, that I have angry Canadians writing in to me claiming that there WAS NO SLAVERY in Canada!

The day Mackenzie King met the Fuhrer

Article by National Post:

“Prime Minister Mackenzie King kept seeing lions.

While on the train from Paris to Berlin in 1937, he saw a lion-shaped cloud facing towards Germany. During a visit to the Berlin Zoo, a zookeeper allowed him to pat a lion cub on the head. While reading the bible aloud, he kept stumbling onto passages that mentioned lions.

“The lion has appeared over and over again,” he wrote in his diary.

For the 62-year-old King, it was as clear a sign as any that his visit with Adolf Hitler was to be the pinnacle of a divine mission to bring peace to an unsettled Europe.

The awkward Canadian leader had long believed that he had been elevated to the prime minister’s office for a higher purpose. And as a holy feeling seemed to enshroud King as he entered the Third Reich, he determined that this meeting with the Fuhrer was it; the pinnacle of his spiritual journey — “the day for which I was born.”

“I imagine, Mr. King, this is the greatest day of your life,” King’s secretary, Edward Pickering, told his visibly enthralled boss.

In reality, he was striding into one of the darkest hours in Canadian diplomatic history. 

Hitler would fool many on his path to orchestrating the Second World War, but few more thoroughly than the envoy of Canada.

“As I talked with him, I could not but think of Joan of Arc,” wrote King in his diary that night.

The entry overflowed with pages of near-infatuation for Hitler. The German leader was “eminently wise,” a “mystic,” a “deliverer of his people from tyranny.”

King went into obsessive detail about Hitler’s background, his vegetarianism, his love of nature, his alleged religiousness. He remembered every detail from the meeting: How Hitler positioned his hands, what he was wearing, his “knowing smile” and his “smooth” skin.

“He is particularly strong on beauty, loves flowers and will spend more of the money of the State on gardens and flowers than on most other things,” said King.

The meeting had opened rather oddly.

King had strode into Hitler’s office and plunked a biography of himself on the Fuhrer’s desk. The prime minister then cracked it open to show Hitler pictures of his childhood home of Berlin, Ontario.

The city was renamed Kitchener during the First World War, but the symbol-obsessed Canadian was trying to prove his fated links to this meeting.

“I said I thought I understood the German people very well,” he wrote later.

The prime minister had been repeatedly doing this with Nazi officials — although all it seemed to do was inspire polite silence.

King would also try to ingratiate himself to German officials by cheerfully mentioning that he represented the riding of North Waterloo — the apparent significance being that it shared the same name as the Belgian battlefield where a combined Anglo-German force had defeated Napoleon.

As the encounter with Hitler had drawn closer, everything around King had seemed to abound with symbolic resonance.

In his diary, King began underlining words such as “pillow” and “links”, contending that they seemed “significant.”

Every bible passage he read seemed to be speaking directly to him.

“For he shall gives his angels charge over thee, and keep thee in all thy ways,” in particular, echoed in his head as he entered the grounds of the Reich Chancellery.

The night before the encounter, he had made sure to sleep under a Mackenzie tartan blanket, and said he felt that “the whole Mackenzie clan were communicating in my diplomatic mission and telling me what to do.”

The racist extremism of the Nazis was no secret when King arrived in the Third Reich. Public book burnings had been staged as early as 1933 and German Jews were being progressively stripped of their property, employment and rights.

Only two months before King’s arrival in Berlin, in fact, the city’s mayor had effectively banned Jewish children from attending public school.

Meanwhile, Germany was rearming. Troops had already marched into the demilitarized Rhineland, openly violating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

In his own meeting with King, top Nazi Hermann Goering had even openly discussed the Anshcluss, the coming annexation of Austria into the Reich — and the first of many Nazi land grabs.

One of Germany’s bestselling book at the time was Hitler’s autobiographical Mein Kampf, a wildly anti-Semitic tome that was quite explicit in stating Germany’s need to turn east and seize “new land and soil.”

But aside from the rearmament (which Hitler brushed off as a necessary evil that Germany “did not like”), none of this was mentioned in the meeting.

King opened by praising the “constructive work” of Nazi Germany and said he hoped that “nothing would be permitted to destroy that work.”

“It was bound to be followed in other countries to the great advantage of mankind,” King added, according to his diary…

Ultimately, King and Hitler only met for slightly more than an hour. For the Nazi leader, the meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister had been just one appointment among many; a diplomatic nicety shoehorned into a day jammed with briefings and strategy sessions.

But to King, it was a triumph.

The next morning, the prime minister had a “vision” of standing in a beautiful summer field tinged with red roses. At the field’s edge rose the buildings of Parliament Hill, all of which seemed fresher and newer than before.

“The improvement in the buildings was clear — it was a work of reconstruction for which I was responsible,” he wrote.

King had travelled to Berlin just as Canada had begun beefing up its defence budget for fear that they would once again have to fight an increasingly militaristic Germany.

“We have no desire for war; our people don’t want war and we don’t want war,” Hitler told King upon hearing this.

It would be a common Nazi refrain right up until the moment that German troops would begin sweeping through Europe. Everyone from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to U.K. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain would at some point accept the word of Hitler that the German dictator had no dreams of conquest.

But King didn’t just believe Hitler; he called the statement a “real note of humility.”

The German leader then looked the Canadian in the eyes and gave a chilling prediction of what another world war would do to Europe.

“Let us assume a war came. What would it mean?” he said.

Regardless of who won, both sides would lose a generation of men — only to then conquer an enemy whose territory had been completely reduced to ashes.

“We would have obliterated civilization of both countries, indeed of greater part of Europe; all that would be left, would be anarchy,” said Hitler.

As King travelled home to Ottawa via France, he was roughly following the same route that nearly 300,000 Canadian soldiers would soon have to take going the other direction. Of those, more than 40,000 would never return.

When war began to break out in Europe only two years after King’s visit, the prime minister had no illusions about what it would mean.

He envisioned France and the U.K. being turned to rubble, and had a particularly strong mental image of St. Paul’s Cathedral collapsing to the ground. (The London landmark survived World War II).

Meanwhile, he had “no doubt” that Canada wouldn’t escape this world war unscathed. He predicted that Canada’s coasts, harbours and even some of its inland cities would be bombed.

And yet, it would take time for King to understand the Second World War as being the tailor-made creation of the “calm, passive” man he had met in Berlin that summer’s day in 1937.

Even as King ramped up his country for another European war, he wondered whether Poland was to blame for provoking this new war, or whether France and the U.K. had simply been too inflexible with the Third Reich.

“One hardly knows whether to think he was sincere at the time of speaking or not,” wrote King of Hitler on September 6, 1939, the eve of Canada’s declaration of war against Germany.

“He evidently has turned in a completely opposite direction.”

The Pass System (Canadian segregation)

From the CBC regarding the documentary ‘The Pass System’:

“Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of residential schools and their impacts on First Nations people. But many have not yet heard about another system of segregation — one that often kept First Nations confined to their communities


The pass system was in effect for 60 years on reserves across western Canada. Any First Nations person who wanted to leave their community, for any reason, had to have a pass approved by the reserve’s Indian agent that they would carry with them, stipulating the leave’s purpose and duration.   


… Williams said the pass system came into effect after the North-West Rebellion in 1885. 


“It was an illegal… system that was put in place as a temporary ‘security measure’ after the events of 1885 that stuck around for over 60 years,” he said. 

Williams said although the pass system is believed to have ended around 1941, it may have continued in different ways after that. 

“Indian agents were judges, and First Nations weren’t citizens until 1960 so official means of resistance were very difficult.” 


As Williams dug deeper into the topic, he discovered why so few people have heard of the pass system. He found a letter from 1941, “in which the director of Indian Affairs at that time said, ‘Send us all your passbooks and they may be destroyed.'” 


While doing research for the film, Williams spent time in the National Archives looking for documentation, but only found two passes. 


“So there’s enormous questions about the record-keeping process,” he said. “Also, I think we have to take into account, that many people were not interested to understand the emotional impact of these and other systems on First Nations people.”



“Passes” to come and go is disturbingly reminiscent of slave passes for leaving plantations. It’s not surprising that the corrupt Canadian government tried to destroy all evidence. No doubt if it weren’t for a few pieces which slipped through the cracks, cakers today would try and claim that it ‘never happened’ and is an ‘urban myth’.

Further information:

“No rebel Indians should be allowed off the Reserves without a pass signed by an I.D. official.The dangers of complications with white men will thus be lessened & by preserving a knowledge of individual movements any inclination to petty depredations may be checked by the facility of apprehending those who commit such offences.”

(Public Archives of Canada, RG 10, Vol. 37 10, file 19,550-3) The “justification” for the system.

“In 1885, the Department of Indian Affairs instituted a pass system. No outsider could come onto a reserve to do business with an Aboriginal resident without permission from the Indian agent. In many places, the directives were interpreted to mean that no Aboriginal person could leave the reserve without permission from the Indian agent. Reserves were beginning to resemble prisons.” 

(Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples)

According to the Royal Commission a few people “interpreted” the pass system incorrectly and it was all just a “misunderstanding”, eh?

“Parents required passes to visit their children interned at residential schools. Controlling parents’ access to their children aided and abetted the government’s policy of removing “the Indian from the child”. Agents were encouraged to only provide a pass to visit children in school no more frequently than four times a year; if a child were ill, and that information shared with the parents, additional passes might be issued.”

“Study of Passes” by B. Bennett

More from the CBC:

“Very little is known about the pass system. It was a troubling piece of Canadian policy, put in place in 1885 to control the movements of First Nation people, and enforced until the 1940s.  

It required all First Nation people living on reserve to get written permission from an Indian agent when they needed to leave their community If caught without a pass, they were either incarcerated or returned to the reserve.  

Introduced on the cusp of the North West Rebellion, led by Louis Riel, the policy was supposed to be temporary, used to prevent another uprising. In fact, the policy remained in effect for nearly 60 years. 

… Williams was researching the mistreatment of First Nation people when he stumbled upon information about the policy, with roots in his home province of Saskatchewan.  

He told CBC he was shocked to find out that the policy stood in direct conflict with the promises made under the treaties, and decided to take it upon himself to piece together as much information as he could.”

In 1893 the North-West Mounted Police protested the pass system, likely because they were partly responsible for enforcing it when it had no legal basis in law. Indian Affairs commissioner Hayter Reed overruled the police, even after admitting the policy was not legal.

For the most part Natives didn’t resist, because the Indian Agents essentially controlled their lives and to make trouble was to risk their business, livelihood and even freedom.

“One of the biggest hurdles Williams faced when making the documentary was finding proof that the pass system actually happened.  

According to Williams, in the 1950s there was an attempt to destroy all records of the pass system, held at the Battleford, Sask. Indian Affairs office. The few remaining documents were suppose to be sent to the dump, but were saved by brothers Don and Doug Light.  

“It’s plausible that this sort of thing was widespread, so when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission talks about missing documents, that’s in part what they’re talking about — where are these records?” 

…  And because little is being done to uncover these policies, and prove their existence, their damage to people and communities has yet to be uncovered. “To me the economic impacts are incalculable … the impact to people’s dignity is of course the most important thing” said Williams.”

It sure makes you wonder what other evidence the Canadian government has hidden or destroyed, and what myriad of sins go unknown.


From the Leader Post:

“According to Statistics Canada, in 1941, 67 per cent of Saskatchewan residents lived in rural areas. The Second World War was raging and although First Nations could volunteer to serve they were not allowed to leave the reserve without a pass issued by the local Indian agent. 


“It was segregation,” said Alex Williams a documentary filmmaker and a former Saskatoon resident. “Reserves were open-air prisons.“ 


He spent five years researching and compiling information for his film, The Pass System. 


… The pass system was implemented shortly after the North West Rebellion of 1885 and remained in place until 1941 when it was replaced by the permit system which remained in place until the 1960s. 


“It came about in a package of recommendations that were made for the — and I am quoting here — ‘the future management of Indians,’ ” said Williams. “It was proposed by Hayter Reed and then signed off by Edgar Dewdney and went up to his boss and went all the way up to (the prime minister John A.) MacDonald. I mention MacDonald because he says, ‘It’s in the highest degree desirable to adopt it’ even though he knows the system is not legal and has no basis in law.”


 Those caught off-reserve without a pass could be jailed up to 60 days, said Williams. 


He said people may wonder why First Nations would adhere to the restriction, but it must be all put into context. 


“They had their children,” said Williams. 


During this time period, the Indian residential school system was in full swing and there were no social programs so many were dependent on rations to survive, which were controlled by the Indian agent. 


Shauneen, said it’s important to tell this story because it sheds light on an entire system that was designed to exclude First Nations people from participating in Canadian society and that oppressive system is the root of today’s social issues that plague First Nations and First Nations people.”


Underneath the article is a comment by Barry Lester Ryder:

“I remember as a child living on the Reserve during this time period. We were totally dependant on the Indian Agent who lived on our Reserve. He controlled every aspect of our lives and we became wards of the govt. A simple journey into town was difficult and was viewed as a highlight. I grew to admire the the outside world and what they had. Things have sure changed today but the past is still ingrained in my mind and affects the way I look at life. Reconciliation is needed by everyone and that provides hope to the lingering difficulties facing First Nations.”

Website for the documentary: The Pass System

I tip my hat to you, sir – and to all others than expose the rot, hypocrisy and corruption of Canada, past and present!

Remember When? … #serialkillercapital

Remember When is a new series of posts where we take a look back at some of the funny, bizarre and downright disturbing incidents in Canada’s past.

Since cakers like to judge everyone else (particularly Americans) and point out their historic wrong-doings, it’s time to take a mirror to these incompetent hypocrites. Enjoy!


London, Ontario: Serial Killer Capital of the World

From the CBC:

“At first glance, London, Ont., doesn’t seem like the type of place that would harbour a serial killer, but a new book has revealed it may have been a more dangerous place than meets the eye.   

Only 192 kilometres southwest of Toronto, the city became the “serial killer capital of the world” from 1959 to 1984, according to Michael Arntfield, a criminology professor at the University of Western Ontario. With only a population of roughly 200,000 people at the time, the city may have had as many as six serial killers, more per capita than everywhere else on the planet.”

Yeah, that sounds about right for Ontario!

 “Arntfield, who also served as a London police officer for 15 years, analyzed 32 homicides, all the victims being women and children, over a 15-year period…   

Monsters such as the Mad Slasher, Chambermaid Slayer and Balcony Killer are suspected of having roamed the city’s streets. Some of the murderers were never captured, Arntfield says, but he suspects they escaped to Toronto, where they continued to harm the innocent.”

More incompetence:

“While these lives are being taken in Toronto, Alsop is trying to sound the alarm to his superiors that this is the work of a serial killer and it started in London and has moved to Toronto.  

In the book, there is a very chilling document that was found in his codex … and it is the first of several teletype transmissions he sent, like an early version of a fax, and it is sent to the higher ups in Toronto saying, listen, London is under siege by [what he refers to as] sexual psychopaths, which is not a common term certainly for a police officer to be using at the time. He is saying there are at least two or more sexual psychopaths preying on this city. We need reinforcements. He was effectively alone in the hinterland. And there is no evidence there was any response. It fell on deaf ears and really the city was left to its own devices with him as the sole person chasing these killers.”


From the Guardian:

In regards to the book Murder City:

“Dennis Alsop, a detective sergeant with the Ontario provincial police, was based in the London area between 1950 and 1979. He kept all of his notes and research on the murders hidden until he died in 2012.  

“Through [Alsop’s] diary entries, he knew who did it and he was basically stonewalled from making arrests, because they felt he didn’t have enough, they wanted a slam dunk,” said Arntfield. “So he kept tabs on these people on his own time until they moved from London, and it seems that at least in one case there are other victims in Toronto connected to the same killer.”  

But even if all of the remaining cases were found to be the work of a single killer, London would retain the record for having the largest verified concentration of serial killers operating in one place at one time.  

“New York and Los Angeles at any given time have had four or five, but London at the time had a mean population of 170,000,” said Arntfield, adding that in megacities like New York and Los Angeles the per-capita equivalent would be about 80 or 90 per city.”


What’s amazing to me (but also unsurprising) is the fact not only did London have more serial killers per capita at the time, but it had roughly the equivalent of a major American city, which you’d expect to still have attracted more (per capita) on the basis of anonymity and choice of victims.

Of course back then Canada was even more of a hillbilly backwater than it is today.

What’s also sad to me is the fact this dedicated officer Dennis Alsop tried to solve these crimes, received no support and was left struggling on his own. In fact, he was so dedicated: “He kept all of his notes and research on the murders hidden until he died in 2012.” He didn’t even get to see a final resolution.

His work became the basis for the book: “Murder City: The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1954-1984″. I’ll add it to my reading list, because I’m actually quite touched by Alsop’s efforts.


From Amazon:

“Like the mythic cities of Gotham or Gomorrah, London, Ontario was for many years an unrivalled breeding ground of depravity and villainy, the difference being that its monsters were all too real. In its coming to inherit the unwanted distinction of being the serial killer capital of not just Canada-but apparently also the world during this dark age in the city’s sordid history- the crimes seen in London over this quarter-century period remain unparalleled and for the most part unsolved. From the earliest documented case of homicidal copycatting in Canada, to the fact that at any given time up to six serial killers were operating at once in the deceivingly serene “Forest City,” London was once a place that on the surface presented a veneer of normality when beneath that surface dark things would whisper and stir.


Through it all, a lone detective would go on to spend the rest of his life fighting against impossible odds to protect the city against a tidal wave of violence that few ever saw coming, and which to this day even fewer choose to remember. With his death in 2011, he took these demons to his grave with him but with a twist-a time capsule hidden in his basement, and which he intended to one day be opened. Contained inside: a secret cache of his diaries, reports, photographs, and hunches that might allow a new generation of sleuths to pick up where he left off, carry on his fight, and ultimately bring the killers to justice-killers that in many cases are still out there.”


Yeah, Ontario is truly a creepy place, so is the north. This post is even more ironic in light of reading some comments online where a Canadian bashed Americans for their ‘serial killer filled nation’. Yes, there are all kinds of crazy in a nation of 300 million people … but Canada creeps me out infinitely more.


Post script

I finally got around to reading this book. Let me warn you, it is disturbing. And it comes with everything you’d expect from Canada: incompetence, bumbling; indifference that beggars belief.

Which includes: serious sexual offenders and killers sentenced to 5-10 years in prison; using techniques, technologies and systems 15+ years after they became available in the U.S.; even brushing off serial murder as an “American problem”, which apparently couldn’t exist in the magical land of Canada.

All this and more! Of the few cases which were solved, it was generally down to sheer luck or the help of witnesses. A couple more through DNA in recent years, after the offenders died. In addition to being disturbed, be prepared for healthy doses of outrage.

Sad and depressing: a gallery of letters from Canadian pioneers

This is a copy of a National Post article: ‘Indescribably sad and depressing’: A gallery of letters from Canadian pioneers and immigrants who absolutely hated it here.


“If you were born in Canada, chances are good that your family tree contains at least one person who spent much of their life absolutely hating this place.

Despite our treasured national mythos as a promised land of wealth and opportunity, our history is littered with tales of people crying or screaming with anguish after taking their first steps in the True North.

A gallery of examples are included below. While many would learn to thrive in the new country, history books usually leave out the part where the mere sight of Canada sparked utter horror in new immigrants.

“As we sped across Ontario with its rocks, hills and tunnels, we were afraid we were coming to the end of the world. The heart of many a man sank to his heels and the women and children raised such lamentations as defies description.”

Ukrainian immigrant Maria Adamowska, describing her train journey west in 1899.

“I became anxious when I wondered what kind of a person would be here to greet me. He had a good physique like I had seen in his photo, but he was simple-minded. I was so sad — I despaired.”

Excerpted from Good Wives and Wise Mothers: Japanese Picture Brides in Early Twentieth Century British Columbia

Japanese immigrant Ishikawa Yasu, who came to Victoria in the early 20th century as a “picture bride”; a woman paired with a husband in Canada purely through photographs.

“She and the children left her husband. She said: ‘You can keep your Saskatchewan, I’ve had enough!’ She was a beautiful woman. She came from around Montreal. She often came over. She ranted and raved about her husband. ‘Isn’t it appalling of him to bring us to country like this! Freeze … did we freeze!’”

Excerpted from “Other” Voices: Historical Essays on Saskatchewan Women

Saskatchewan pioneer Rachel Périgny-Desmarais, describing the departure of a neighbour.

“The Canadian prairie with its long winters and impermanent rectangular houses conveys something indescribably sad and depressing.”

Excerpted from A History of Migration from Germany to Canada, 1850-1939.

Montreal-based German consul Karl Lang in a 1913 report warning fellow Germans against further immigration to Canada.

“I came because my daughter is here and I wanted to be close to here … but I am not happy here … I keep hoping that once I learn the language it will be better for me here. But the language is very hard. Sometimes I just cry because it seems I will never get it into my head.”

Excerpted from The Immigrants, by Gloria Montero

 A mid-1970s interview with a Polish immigrant identified as Ludwiga.

“I don’t look lonely, do I? And I’ve been on the land all my life.”

Canadian Minister of Immigration Robert Forke attempting to reassure British journalists in 1927. At the time, many British households were receiving troubling letters from recently immigrated family decrying the loneliness of life in Canada.

“There are all kinds in this army of the disappointed; the thin, peaked-faced, unhealthy-looking east-end Londoner; the brawny man from Battersea; the sallow mechanic; the city tradesman; the clerk.”

From a 1908 report by The Globe describing unemployed British immigrants who had come to Canada with visions of “easy wealth.”

“When it was difficult to find work he would be cross with the children, even with me. I tried to understand the changes in him. I knew he was worried. But one night I couldn’t stand it anymore and I started to scream at him, to scream and to hit him. And you know what he did? He cried. My husband cried like a child.”

Excerpted from The Immigrants, by Gloria Montero

A mid-1970s interview with an Ecuadorian immigrant identified as Angelina.

“He will find at first that the travel and change of life will raise his spirits; then will come a period of depression, under the rough task of beginning in a new country, to be followed by the feeling of security of home and subsistence, which is the most solid blessing to a man.”

From an 1873 immigrant guide to British Columbia. That same guide warned women and “men not accustomed to rough work with their hands” to stay away.

“If the people knew what poor emigrants have to go through, there would not be many come to Canada. Though, thank God, I have known none, yet I have seen plenty of their miseries.”

An 1837 letter by an unknown author published in Great Britain to warn away future emigrants to Canada.

“After they landed, Mrs. Patterson used to tell that she leaned her head against a tree, which stood for many a year after, and thought if there was a broken-hearted creature on the face of the earth, she was the one.”

From an 1877 history of Pictou, Nova Scotia describing one of the area’s earliest settlers.

“Three months ago a Hollander committed suicide due to despondency and poverty and there’ll be more … There are a lot here who would very much like to return to Holland.”

A 1928 letter written to a Arnhem, Netherlands newspaper in which Dutch immigrants to Canada attempt to warn others from going to Canada.

“The central government, the provinces, and the railroads are all trying as hard as possible to win immigrants. They distribute brochures that praise Canada to the heavens. Care, particularly with regard to these publications, is strongly urged.”

Excerpted from A History of Migration from Germany to Canada, 1850-1939.

Another early 20th century German government pamphlet warning its citizens to stay away. This one warned that “the greatest part of Canada is uninhabitable for Europeans.”

“Our host … had written to us to boast of the prosperity he had attained in such a short time. He said that he had a home like a mansion, a large cultivated field, and that his wife was dressed like a lady … How great was our disenchantment when we approached that mansion of his … it was actually just a small log cabin.”

Another entry by 1899 Ukrainian immigrant Maria Adamowska.


Comment:

It’s not surprising to read about how Immigration Canada lied and conned people into coming here, how they hated it and warned others away – as this continues even 100 years later.

I actually felt emotional reading these quotes. Think of how awful Canada is now when we have TV, internet and modern travel! Can you imagine the hell these people endured? I have some idea. I’ve lived all over Canada: I’ve lived in its hinterlands; I’ve grown my own food, gutted animals for food, lived in arctic temperatures requiring snowshoeing; seen old trapper fur cabins, you name it. I know Canada intimately.

Those poor people, there was no escape for them. Thankfully for us in this modern age – escape is possible!

MUST ESCAPE CANADA ………… !

Canadians aren’t sorry for genocide: ‘Intentions were good’

When reading the book ‘Hidden from History‘ I came across one of its most salient points: although Canadians acknowledge “mistakes” were made in the process of dealing with Aboriginals, they don’t apologize for the acts of colonization, internment, and cultural destruction themselves.

“… what Indian Affairs Superintendent Duncan Scott referred to as “The Final Solution of our Indian Problem” in 1910 –the legal eradication of Aboriginals and their culture– had to occur under a mask of legitimacy; namely, the so-called “educating and civilizing” of a “lesser people”. Surprisingly few Canadians, including critics of the residential school system, have been able to penetrate this fog of apparent “benevolent concern” that hid a murderous system.” (p 15) 

Canadians are “sorry” for the “excesses and abuses” of the institutions which harmed and killed Aboriginals, but not once have they apologized for their very existence in the first place.

“Accordingly, within the mindset and legal regime of this dominant culture there exists no basis to expose or prosecute the system who killed and tortured native children in the residential schools, since that murder originated precisely within these present-day institutions …  

… As in post-war Europe, therefore, any justice for aboriginal victims of the residential schools must ultimately originate from outside Canada, and be based on international legal principles. For no institution is capable of condemning and prosecuting itself, let alone its leaders.” (p 16)

Here’s an example: Ottawa spent a million and a half dollars locating over 5,000 abusers of children (identified by Aboriginals) but did nothing. From CBC:

“Investigators hired by the federal government have located thousands of people accused of physically and sexually abusing students at Canada’s Indian residential schools — though they may never face criminal charges.  

As part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement agreement, the government located 5,315 alleged abusers, both former employees and students. Seventeen private investigation firms were contracted, at a cost of $1,576,380, beginning in 2005, according to information provided by Indigenous and North Affairs Canada (INAC).  

The alleged perpetrators, however, weren’t tracked down to face criminal charges — it was to see if they would be willing to participate in hearings to determine compensation for residential school survivors. The Independent Assessment Process (IAP), not involving the courts, was set up to resolve the most severe abuse claims.”

So the government has evidence of over 5,000 abusers, yet sits on it and does nothing. Why? Because to take action would open a can of worms for the caker government and they can’t have that in the middle of the ‘settlement process’!

Instead, the government politely asked for the abusers to come forward and participate in the hearings, which of course 4,450 so far have declined to do.

Furthermore:

“The identity and names of alleged perpetrators who want to participate in the IAP are kept on a secure server with other data related to IAP claims. They are not disclosed to anyone, other than the adjudicator in each specific claim, and to the Department of Indigenous Affairs. 

… Through the history of residential schools — which lasted over a century, with tens of thousands having suffered abuse — fewer than 50 people have been convicted for crimes related to the schools.”

Let’s take another look, this from the Toronto Star:

“…St. Anne’s is probably most infamous, however, for having a homemade electric chair that was used to punish children. Edmund Metatawabin, today an author, unfortunately experienced the chair. In a 2013 affidavit to Ontario Superior Court, he wrote, “I cannot describe how intense the pain was. I could not scream. At St. Anne’s, if you were being beaten, you could not scream or cry or the punishment would keep up.”  

These were not isolated incidents: Children of the Broken Treaty reports that an OPP investigation nearly a half-century after the abuses took place collected 860 complaints of children being raped, sexually assaulted, tortured, beaten, and otherwise physically abused by 180 identified perpetrators. What took place at St. Anne’s could only be described as a crime against humanity. What kind of people would defend that? 

The answer, painfully enough, is the Canadian Department of Justice — in the present day. Under the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) that was created as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the Department of Justice is in the strange position of having to defend Canada against these accusations while also having to prepare evidence for the hearings on behalf of the survivors in order to determine their settlements.

More government cover-ups:

When asked about these allegations, however, what the lawyers did was to claim that there were “no known incidents found in documents regarding sexual abuse at Fort Albany [Indian Residential School].” Yet they were holding back documents including all the information about the 180 named perpetrators, and the 860 complaints. Angus writes that Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt wrote to him that “of course” the government was aware of the evidence. But instead of handing it over, as it was mandated to do, it appears it simply lied to survivors of child rape because it allowed the government to save money paid out to compensate for ruined lives.  

So survivors sued, and the Ontario Superior Court compelled government lawyers to release the documents that proved the crimes had been committed. Sault Star commentator Tom Mills noted at the time that though the court did not conclude the lawyers had acted in bad faith, they were nonetheless employing “highly adversarial civil law procedures to residential school compensation hearings, which are supposed to be non-adversarial.” …”

These are just two examples. The government has withheld evidence and acted in both an investigative and defensive role – a complete conflict of interest. And not just in these examples, but in virtually the whole process of so-called “reconciliation”. After a century of crimes and tens of thousands of victims, less than fifty people have faced prosecution when the government itself holds thousands of names, depositions, statements, accusations and records!

This is a cover up: an informal one to be sure; one done in plain sight. But cakers aren’t able to distinguish that because again, in their eyes these institutions are ‘legitimate‘ and what they did was legitimate even though they “made mistakes along the way”.

To actively prosecute criminals who were sanctioned by church leaders and the government itself, could potentially lead to questions regarding the prosecution of government entities. Thus we see that the caker kingdom wants “reconciliation” and a financial “settlement” without actually doing anything to effectively de-legitimize its past conduct.

The press can shed a few crocodile tears over ‘bad apples’ and ‘bad conduct’ and sweep the whole issue under the rug. Once official settlements have happened, it’s likely Aboriginal people won’t be able to legally prosecute officials or the government in any real capacity later on.

Conflicting the matter are Aboriginal leaders; many former students have made accusations against leaders in the Aboriginal community and government. None of these have been properly investigated (they have been dismissed as ‘absurd’), and as such, there is no incentive for these “leaders” to actively pursue justice, nor can their downtrodden victims who have been threatened, harassed and worse.

More from Hidden from History:

“Sadly, the two-tiered system of collaborators and victims created among native students at the schools continues to the present, as some of the state-funded band council officials –themselves former collaborators– appear to have an interest in helping suppress evidence and silence witnesses who would incriminate not only the murderers but themselves, as agents of the white administration.” (p 20)

And so it can all be summed up in this:

“Christian European culture in Canada still sees nothing fundamentally wrong with its invasion and occupation of the New World and its destruction of aboriginal societies; it simply regrets the “excesses” of that process. No wing within any of the mainline Canadian churches is challenging the Christian missionary effort per se, merely aspects of it, such as the sadism of particular school staff, or the “cultural insensitivity” of missionaries to First Nations.

… And these attitudes are still defended today by leading church officials, like former United Church moderator Bruce McLeod, who stated on a CBC interview in the spring of 2000, “The residential schools as a whole were well-intentioned experiments.” (p 26)

No, cakers are not sorry about conquering, subjugating and mass murdering aboriginal peoples, nor for taking their land; they’re sorry about ‘mistakes’ made by ‘well-intentioned’ institutions.

A caker today is likely to say “it was a long time ago! I wasn’t around when that happened, so it’s time to get over it.” And yet, if he’s a French Canadian he’s likely to moan to Ottawa about the injustices Quebec has experienced and demand ‘nationhood’ and ‘special recognition’, without even noticing his own hypocrisy. Or if an Anglo, complain about his “hardship” in having to be sensitive and allot federal funding money for Aboriginals. 

Destroying aboriginal culture was ‘an unfortunate event’ of the past, yet the government will spend billions forcing the French language on the population of Canada: including the indigenous, mentally disabled children and remote Inuit villages (previously).

Cakers complain about the “Asian invasion” in Western Canada: bitter Asian immigrants have brought over their language, hire ‘their own people’ and drive up real estate prices. Apparently this is some kind of outrage, yet aboriginal people need to ‘get over it’ when it comes to mass murder and genocide.

I for one, openly welcome the Chinese to come and invade Canada. Feel free to force white Canadians to live on small patches of land; make Mandarin the official language, Cantonese the second; take their children away to live in Chinese-run state schools and murder tens of thousands of them.*

Thirty years from now I will smugly remind cakers that “it’s in the past and we all need to move on.”

*I’m being facetious, don’t email me.