Europeans Vs. Aboriginals : The contact that changes everything
Throughout the 1600s to 1900s Native people’s culture has been greatly harmed due to the fact of European contact. Taking over land by killing off food supply thus forcing Aboriginals to sign treaties to destroying their culture by enforcing assimilation. Ever since the Europeans came to Canada they have been nothing good for the First Nations living on the Land.
In the 19th Century, government policy changed from government-to-government relations with Aboriginal Nations to attempts to integrate and assimilate. This change was due to a number of factors: the decline of the fur trade; an end to most of the armed conflict between the various new arrivals; and, the desire for more land and resources for the settlers. Assimilation became the goal of the new Dominion of Canada in their dealings with Aboriginal peoples. John A. Macdonald himself spoke of the goal ‘to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the inhabitants of the Dominion.’ ( ). A number of pieces of legislation and government policy were created to achieve assimilation. They often involved the outlawing of traditional social systems, values and spiritual beliefs. Whether these policies were misguided humanitarianism or malicious attempts to wipe out the Indian way of life, the effects of these policies were devastating. The undermining of beliefs and ceremonies meant that Aboriginal people could not practice many of the healing methods that had been so important to their well-being. Being Indian was often times illegal, frowned upon, but worst of all, something to be ashamed of. Being part of mainstream Canadian society was something to aspire to.
In its attempt to integrate Aboriginal people, the Government of Canada attempted to strip Indians of their self-respect. Many practices defiantly survived these laws, due to the efforts of many brave people. But the damage to the...