City council wants to know more about the Indian Act - to support the Indigenous people?

By Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2022



There was an agenda for a Council Workshop scheduled for this afternoon.  That it was cancelled is just short of a small mercy.

It was to be about Indigenous Education – at city council, no less – not Board of Education meeting!

We appreciate fully how badly we white people have treated Indigenous people.  We took their land, we took their children and did everything we could to drive the spirit out of them.  Our debt to them is one that cannot be cleared in a generation.

These are First Nations people who, despite what we have done to them, have held their ground and are in the process of regaining what was theirs all along.

In the political hierarchy they are superior to a city council. It is certainly an interesting agenda and one that should have been put before everyone in the city.

There was next to nothing in the way of promotion about the meeting.  Perhaps the members of Council will now earn the reputation they have for being leaders in community engagement.

The Agenda had Angela Morgan, Strategic Lead – Customer Experience doing the introductions.

Land Acknowledgement
Angela Bellegarde, Indigenous Lead Reconciliation at Halton Our Kids Network

Mississauga of the Credit First Nation – We are Still Here
Darin Wybenga, Acting Director and Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Coordinator, Mississauga of the Credit First Nation

The land was taken from them little by little – now they are squeezed into small reserves with not much more than a proud heritage to sustain them.

The legislation is something to be ashamed of – it should have been rescinded decades ago. It is no longer necessary – if it ever was.

Indian Act – What Can We Do?
Bryant Peters, College Instructor at Fleming College and Executive Consultant from the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation

All great items – what can a city do?

Did municipalities even exist when the Indian Act was first declared ?

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.





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4 comments to City council wants to know more about the Indian Act – to support the Indigenous people?

  • Stephen Paquette

    Miigwetch to the City Council for embracing the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action. Murray Sinclair stated the Calls to Action were the obligation of all Canadians if we truly want reconciliation. Yes, it was to be about Indigenous Education, which the Board of Education does very well but if we limit the education of the history of colonization to students I believe we are missing an opportunity. I would humbly suggest that it is not a debt so much as healing and that as part of the healing there is an obligation to learn. To acknowledge that what we as adults were taught was from Eurocentric perspective and we were not taught about the fact that Canada was born out of colonization. It’ is the past, it is history yet the failure to acknowledge it is a detriment to to the journey of healing. There are those who still view the residential schools as a good thing “at least they got an education”, or have never heard of the Sixties Scoop etc.
    As a proud member of the Burlington Indigenous community I want say Miigwitch to the members of Council for engaging our community in a good way and to let them know they have had good relations with us prior to this missed opportunity.

  • This should have been high on Council agenda long before now and certainly long before Rainbow Cross Walks and Black Lives Matter symbolism. What we have done (and still do) to the Indigenous people can never be forgotten or compensated . We don`t think you would have seen a single objection to crosswalks that displayed Indigenous symbols to remind us of this. We are also sure Indigenous artists would have been pleased to sign their work on Indigenous Art Crosswalks and the Catholic School Board would not have objected to having one outside their headquarters. Why are they doing this almost at the end of this council`s reign. Oh yes we forgot an election is looming……..

  • Mitch

    There are many books available. Read at least one and weep.

  • Joe Gaetan

    The education of Council and many residents could benefit from a good read of, Sir John A MacDonald – Nation Maker, Volume 2 1867 to 1891, by Journalist and Historian Richard Gwyn: a few snippets of which follow,

    ”McDonald knew more about Indian policy and the Indians themselves than any of his predecessors, or any of his successors Jean Chretien and Paul Martin a century later. He was Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (It’s minister) for almost a decade, from 1879. Two 1887; for much of that time he was also Minister of the Interior. Throughout his entire second term, he was responsible for the Mounted Police. In May 1881, MacDonald wrote Edgar Dewdney, top official in the West: “Indian matters and the land granting system form so great a portion of the general policy of the Government that I think it necessary for the First Minister, whoever he may be, to have this in his own hands.”.

    “On one occasion, Macdonald developed a policy initiative that, had it lasted, might have made a measurable difference to the evolution of relations between Canada’s Aboriginals and its European population. His proposal was built on the premise that the two peoples had to trust each other. This small ephiphany is a rare shaft of light in a long and bleak chronicle.”

    “In February 1885, a month before the rebellion broke out, MacDonald put a Franchise Bill before parliament. As one reform of the electoral system, he suggested a way both to “protect” Indians and to ”civilize” them. Indians, he declared, should be granted the right to become enfranchised – to gain the vote and so become full citizens -but without, as in the past, having to give up in exchange any of their special rights as Aboriginals, either those gained by treaty or by the Indian Act. Opposition criticism was ferocious, one Liberal MP saying it would “bring a scalping party to the polls.” Another called it Macdonald’s “crowning act of rascality”, claiming he was doing it only to win Indian votes. Macdonald’s motives may not have been pure, but any votes he gained would have been more than cancelled by those of outraged Western settlers”

    Note: The Electoral Franchise Act, 1885, was a federal statute that regulated elections in Canada for a brief period in the late 19th century. The act was in force from 1885, when it was passed by John A. Macdonald’s Conservative majority; to 1898, when Wilfrid Laurier’s Liberals repealed it.