In 1969’s Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy (The White Paper, full text), Pierre Trudeau’s government (Specifically Jean Chrétien, who was Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development at the time), argued that the Canadian government should cease all treaty negotiations with First Nations peoples of Canada and argued for assimilation of First Nations peoples in to the fold of other Canadian “ethnic minorities.” First Nations issues would become provincial items rather than federal. Ironicially, the White Paper stated that this was ultimately a non-discriminatory policy. In 1970, the National Indian Brotherhood issued a rejoinder titled Citizens Plus, more commonly referred to as the Red Paper, and was ultimately successful in shifting governmental policy. The Red Paper laid foundations for directed efforts for First Nations policy and self-governance in a variety of arenas including land claims, educational rights, cultural and language retention, and more. Reverberations of the Red Paper have echoed through the past three decades, as evidenced in the increasingly recognized and support Aboriginal initiatives throughout Canada today.
Aboriginal Policy: The White Paper and Citizens Plus
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