Overview: From mercantilism to capitalism, via the process of primitive accumulation or accumulation by dispossession The colonization of Aboriginal land The development of a (racialized) labour market
The Early Staples John Cabot, 1497 led to the European fishery off Newfoundland but did little to encourage European settlement Jacques Cartier, 1534, led to the fur trade of the 1600s to 1850 but population growth in New France was slow.
New France 1534 Jacques Cartier explores the east coast. 1604 first French colony established in Acadia 1608 Samuel de Champlain establishes colony at Quebec City
New France The economy was focused on two activities, agriculture and the fur trade. The fur trade led to the exploration of much of North America and the French claimed not only New France, but also the Ohio Valley and down to Louisiana. Immigration to New France was limited. By the time of the Conquest, the population of New France was approximately 70 000.
Timber, Agriculture and Settlers Canada experienced a boom of timber exports to Europe in the early 1800s. Quebec was divided into Upper and Lower Canada in 1791, due to the influx of Loyalists. By the 1830s, Upper Canada was exporting wheat.
The State and Infrastructure Development The first half of the 1800s was the era of canal building. The second half of the 1800s was the era of railway building. The costs were significant. Even if carried out by private corporations, state assistance was significant. Often, however, they were either carried out by, or taken over by, the state. The cost of canal building was one factor in unification of UC and LC into Province of Canada in 1841. The cost of railway building was one reason for Confederation in 1867.
From Mercantilism to Capitalism Mercantilism involved the buying and selling of goods (fish, furs). Capitalist relations of production did not exist. That is, the development of a wage labour force, or emergence of labour as a commodity, had not occurred. The transition to capitalism in Canada involved the development of private property and a capitalist labour market.
Wehave no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them, Canada is big enough to make a difference but not big enough to threaten anybody. And that is a huge asset if it's properly used. - Stephen Harper, Sept 2009 at G20 meeting
The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, to kill the Indian in the child. - Stephen Harper, June 11, 2008, in the House of Commons, issuing an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for the history of Indian residential schools
An oversimplification, though not much of one, would be to say that the historical difference between American and Canadian handling of native populations was that the United States decimated theirs by wars, Canada theirs by starvation and disease. - C.E.S. Franks, Indian Policy: Canada and the United States Compared
The Colonization of Aboriginal Land Introduction: Inequality and Resistance Four historical periods of Aboriginal-Settler Relations Constitutional Issues Toward Aboriginal Self-Government
Who are the Aboriginal People? As section 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 suggests: the Aboriginal people include the Indian, Inuit and Mtis people of Canada.
Diversity of Aboriginal Peoples According to the Assembly of First Nations: There are over 630 First Nation's communities in Canada. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples suggests that there are between 60 and 80 historically based [Aboriginal] nations in Canada, compared with a thousand or so local Aboriginal communities. There are 11 major Aboriginal linguistic families and over 50 Aboriginal linguistic/cultural groups.
Inequality Compared to the general population: Aboriginal people in Canada face much higher levels of unemployment and poverty. Life expectancy of Aboriginal people in Canada is about seven years shorter. Aboriginal people face much higher levels of incarceration.
Roots of Inequality Aboriginal people do not want pity or handouts. They want recognition that these problems are largely the result of loss of their lands and resources, destruction of their economies and social institutions, and denial of their nationhood. They seek a range of remedies for these injustices, but most of all, they seek control of their lives. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
The Legacy of Colonialism Canada developed as a colonial project. Europeans and the Aboriginal people developed the fur trade in partnership. As agricultural settlement replaced the fur trade in importance, the Aboriginal people were increasingly pushed off the land. Governments then sought to assimilate the Natives. Today, Canada is being pushed to address the legacy of colonialism, cultural genocide, and the displacement of Aboriginal people from their Native land.
Native Resistance and Protest To cite just three recent examples of disputes over on-going Native rights and land claims: From Dec. 2002 until June 2008, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation blockaded a logging road near Slant Lake, ON. http://freegrassy.org/ http://www.amnesty.ca/grassy_narrows/ Since Feb. 2006, Natives have been occupying a proposed building site in Caledonia, ON near Hamilton. From 2007 until Dec. 2009, the Native community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) struggled to prevent mining activity near Big Trout Lake. http://www.miningwatch.ca/en/victory-ki-expensive-lesson-ontario
Dudley George: Ipperwash Inquiry Dudley George, an unarmed Anishinabek Native, was shot and killed on Sept. 6, 1995 during a police raid to remove native protesters from Ipperwash Provincial Park. The protesters wanted Camp Ipperwash, formerly the Stony Point reserve, to be returned to Stony Point descendants. The land had been taken by the government in 1942 and converted into a military training camp.
Dudley George: Ipperwash Inquiry A judge ruled that the officer knew George was unarmed when he shot him. The officer was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death, was given 180 hours of community service (no house arrest or jail time). The Ipperwash Inquiry concluded that the Premier, the Attorney General and OPP officers made racist comments about the Native protesters during the occupation. Furthermore, The premiers desire to seek a quick resolution closed off other options endorsed by civil servants... thereby creating a barrier to peaceful resolution. http://www.ipperwashinquiry.ca/
Ipperwash Inquiry Commissioner: Justice Sidney Linden The single biggest source of frustration, distrust, and ill-feeling among Aboriginal People in Ontario is our failure to deal in a just and expeditious way with breaches of treaty and other legal obligations to First Nations. If the governments of Ontario and Canada want to avoid future confrontations they will have to deal with land and treaty claims effectively and fairly.
Ipperwash Inquiry Commissioner: Justice Sidney Linden The term land claims is the source of considerable misunderstanding among members of the public. It seems to suggest to many people, that first nations are asking governments to give them more land, but that is not the case. These claims ask governments to fulfill the promises they made to first nations about land and resources in the past and to compensate them for their failure to do so.
Ipperwash Inquiry Commissioner: Justice Sidney Linden Every Ontarian should understand that this province and our country were built upon the treaties negotiated with our first nations, and that everyone shares the benefits and obligations of those treaties. Every Ontarian should also realize that treaties are not historical artifacts from some distant time. They remain vitally important and relevant today.
Four historical periods Stage 1: Separate Worlds Stage 2: Contact and Cooperation Stage 3: Displacement and Assimilation Stage 4: Negotiation and Renewal
Stage 1: Separate Worlds This land now called Canada was not empty before the Europeans came. The Americas were not, as the Europeans told themselves when they arrived, terra nullius - empty land. - RCAP A variety of complex societies existed, developed and thrived on this continent.
Stage 2: Contact Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have had sustained contact in the Northern half of North America for some 5
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