DISCUSSION NOTES ON THB INDIAN ACT |

watt

ee ee

' F ,

ara x SAT AS ere At “pyr tae DISCUSSION NOTES ON THE INDIAN ACT

introduction

We are now ready to proceed with an important review of the Indian Act. Perhaps the first step should be to examine together some of the main features of the Act which appear to require amendment, and to consider what changes in the underlying principles are necessary in order to reflect the needs, objectives, and desires of the Indian people.

The purpose of this paper is to focus attention on some of the present provisions and objections or suggestions that have been made with respect to them. The comments herein are intended to facilitate and promote discussion. They do not necessarily repre- seni the Government’s view, for the Government does not wish to come to any firm views

in n regard to changes in tne Act until it has the benefits of your advice. However, we have taken into account submissions by indian bands and associations, as wel] as interested non-Indian groups to the Joint Committee on Indian Affairs, along with subsequent representations made dy Indian groups and individuals and our own experience with the probiems and needs of Indians.

Background of the Indian Act

The Indian Act, c. 149, R.S.C. 1952, provides the legal framework within which the affairs of the Indians are administered by the Government of Canada in accordance with the exclusive legislative jurisdiction vested in it by the British North America Act. It does mot embody all the laws applicable to Indians, for generally speaking they are subject to the same laws as non-Indians, Rather, the Indian Act represents special legislation taking precedence over pmee legisistion which the Parliament of Canada considers is essen- tis] to the needs of the Indian people not only as a safeguard to protect their treaty and property rights, but as a means of promoting their advancement. It does not include, however, many of the programs operated by the indian Affairs Branch which are author- ized each year by Parliament through the Estimates and Appropriation Acts.

Prior to 1951 the last complete revision of the Indian Act was in 1889. That Act has been amended from time to time but it had become increasingly apparent that many of @ provisions of the old Act were outmoded and did not provide a sufficient framework within which the needs and aspirations of the Indian population could best be met During the years 1946, 1947 and 1948 a NG Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons considered the Indian Act and the administration of Indian affairs in veneral, As a result of the work of this Committee and the representations made to it by ladian organizations, Indian bands, and groups and individuals interestéd in the welfare of Indians, a new Indian Act was passed by Parliament in 1951. .

la considering the whole question of Indian legislation, it must be realized that there fe a great many Indian bands widely scattered throughout Canada, speaking different ba ey differing in racial and cultural background, and in various stages of economic, ‘political, and social development. In view of these varied and diverse Indian interests, a comprehensive Indian Act must be broad enough to accommodate the different Indian

groups and communities. The 1951 Act modemized and improved exisiing legislation in

PE

B403—1

16445

1? a 9 ¢ oan

y pe) ; .% t where, f " Si Sh? i! SclAchee te ey : a ' vor y en oa ; VR ne Pea ies rs 1 yee } a a 57 as haute iam + Nati ia | N eit A ee eb

OO Oe reas

u ‘7 ve aes Saal tel

i. yn iW el é fax {i 6} ths » * 4 " la i ejucep FC it gee

eer rsalun i

rc ewe ie. - orn

Nahe ae Nino h ap ell, oh. lh ch ie | : srry 4 i ei pital tot

et it aia oaetivicat

ty pat bas an faa

Ve palit Ancemiban ds Rey,

ww Alin Say iay 99

' 46 oe) (USE Why it

edi da hs raul.

bot eaag) 4 ate ty

| | . yong cans phe ok

ULES 9 Gar ebay ey ny | Te + tT ae eae eet ue SF rete aig, V6 at hi Wn .

fi . Bes , Sexe

Vie PORRR 9h3 18 23.014» ony ae wal Sis Gi gs ai ir

abate nays: ‘A bs tyce tna pe ERM ad Fit

a

a Bye

pin

Lm A a4 nwroacten bhsd auwlaiAng. * ii xf a day lr nas aise bain SUX EES Aa that provision be rnade far Y automatic wsthdrawal from

mere g2ySn'p In Cases wheis. oe Ort of an illegitimate chila of aq indian woman 15 ree ou hen ao so ee tary levitir trnized by the su psequen:. Marnage o ¥* 8 Indian x vother and non-ladian fathe ar oe es © 6 dr % -? Distributions on Withdray ai The present Act recognizes that a band member tas an interest in the assets of his

) S Sand. Upon enfranchisement, he is entitled to receive a share of band funds and annuity moneys, where these are payable. [t has been suggested, therefore, that the existing entitlements following enfranchisemeni jnignt also apply in the case of 2 withdrawal from inembership. Exceptions to tnis might * made as in the case of iJlegtimate children who are struck off a band list because their birtns have been legitimized. It has been suggested, however, that an adopted child who ceases to be a member of the band by reason of

adoption should receive the usual Re Sele

32 has also been suggested that no person who withdraws or was previously enfran

“565

hised or commuted should be paid the entitlements more than once.

Withdrawal of Bands

In the present Act provision is made for bands to become enfranchised. If the enfranchisement provisions are removed. this would no longer be possible. Some provi- sion could be made which would enable a band to withdraw from the operation of the indian Act, if it so desires. For example, a band might wish to incorporate and receive title to all its assets and be free to administer them in accordance with provincial laws in he same manner as any company or partnership or it might wis’ to acquire the status of a

separate municipality. Presumably, some provision could be worked out to meet this.

Schools Sections 113 to 122

The importance of education was stressed by. the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Affairs, which stated in its finai report in 1961 that education is the key to the full realization by Indians of self-determination and self-government. Indians pola and parents in particular, are recognizing more and more the need for a good education as 3 L

basis for economic and social devel:

Sections 113 and 122 of the Indian Act provide authority and set out principles governing Indian educational services. For instance, the federal government may itself operate schools, or may enter into agreements for the education of Indian children with provincial govemments. school boards or religous or charitable organizations: it may make regulations covering various phases of the educational program, provide for trans- pioesisae to and from school, rest arrange for the maintenance of children at schools

peraied by religious organizations. These sections also cover such matters as school-age Na rules remancine the school to be attended, truancy, and the religious denomination af the teachers at Indian Gay schools.

=

More than 40% of Indian students now attend provincial schoals with non-Indians, and attendance at day schools on reserves is ee higher, relative to residential schools, | Experience has shown that Sections |13 to 122 do not provide sutficient authority to meet some of the current problems: tor example, it has been pointed out that more elastic provisions are needed to meet the various aspects of joint agreements with local and provincial schoo! authorities. and to facilitate agreements with private schools and the education of non-Indians in [ndian schools. Also the provisions covering the support and maintenance of Indian pupils might be Droadened to ensure that there is adequate authority to deal with this impormant matter

cos Te

In non-[ndian schools, there are variations between provinces in the rules and pro- dures covering schoo! attendance and truancy. On the other hand. at present Indian pupils are governed by relevant sections of the Indian Act. However, it has been suggested that in these matters Indian pupils in each province might.be made subject of the same rules and procedures as non-Indian pupils. It has also been pointed out that the choice of the school to be attended should rest with parents to a greater extent than it does at

present.

Kindergarten classes for children under six years of age, and educational assistance for Indians over 16, including university courses and technical training and adult educa tion, are already provided. It has been pointed out, however, that specific authority , should be provided in the Indian Act for educational services to Indians under and over the school-age group. :

School committees are operating on a number of reserves, where they are carrying y out valuable functions, and it has been suggested that such committees be recognized - formaily by including a provision in the Indian Act.

Local Self-Government

There is a quickening desire on the part of many Indian leaders for local control. -

One of the basic problems, therefore, is to meet in the Indian Act the varied condi- tions and needs of Indian people across Canada. One way by which this might be met is to provide for a broadened system of local or municipal self-government, which might be adopted to the needs of various Indian bands. The exact manner by which this could be accomplished would have to be worked out. In broad terms any Indian band residing ona reserve might, with the approval of the Governor in Council, have the night to organize for their common welfare and advancement and may adopt an appropriate constitution and by-laws by a majority vote of the members of the band of the full age of twenty-one years, at a special meeting or referendum held for the purpose. Such constitution and dy-laws could become effective upon approval by the Governor in Council and may be revoxed or amended by a majority vote of the members of the band with the approval of the Govermor in Council.

The Governor in Council upon appiication by the council of a band could issue a charter of incorporation to such band provided that such charter would not have force or effect until ratified by a majority vote of the members of the band, of the full age of twenty-one years, voting at the meeting or referendum held for the purpose.

A charter, when granted by the Governor in Council, might convey to the incor- porated band the power to purchase. take by gift. or bequest or otherwise own, hold, manage, Operate and dispose of property, real and personal, including power to purchase the interest of indian owners in reserve lands and such further powers as may be neces gary in the conduct of corporate business not inconsistent with the provisions of the- indian Act or any other act of the Parliament of Canada. A proviso could be included that no reserve land would be sold or granted Without the consent of the maionity of the” voting members and approval of the Governor in Council. *

15

ae eo .

= 6 b Pam: | A 10445 ‘3572 (*47) > | i CDIAN | SE. AU ANA aya . De . > =, a s i ie A = } and Northern Development. TITS ndian A 3 S Bran s 1scussion notes on the Indian > 4 Venues BORROWER'S NAME } DUE oH aS be | “atte 44 | as FF Bi : 1

Pam: 351:(*41) CDIAND

Canada. Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Discussion notes on the Indian NC. #16445

E URKEAL LNDILLU R

Boreal Institute for Northern Studies Library

CW 401 Bio Sci Bldg

The University of Alberta

Edmonton, AB Canada T6G 2E9

von