The right to vote, often confused with "enfranchisement" in the technical sense discussed here, was only one of the supposed advantages of loss of status before native people acquired the federal vote in 1960. From its first enactment in 1857 up to at least the 1960s, voluntary enfranchisement was the cornerstone of Canadian Indian policy (see NATIVE PEOPLE, GOVERNMENT POLICY).
By enfranchising, a person was supposed to be consenting to abandon native identity and communal society (with its artificial legal disabilities) in order to merge with the "free," individualistic and non-native majority. There were in fact relatively few such enfranchisements over the years; a law to force enfranchisement of natives whom the government thought should be removed from band lists (in force 1920-22, 1933-51) was unpopular and a failure.
A 1985 amendment to the Indian Act eliminated the idea of enfranchisement as used here: as well as eliminating the Act's discriminatory section, the government gave individual bands the right to decide their own conditions for membership.
Author BENNETT MCCARDLE
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration
Explore an interactive timeline that chronicles the multidimensional history of Chinese immigration to Canada. View archival documents, photographs, and videos that focus on the legal and societal obstacles encountered by migrating Chinese, as well as the substantial achievements of Chinese-Canadians through the generations. From Simon Fraser University and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (a Vancouver multicultural organization).
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...