Transcript: The Indian Act Explained | May 07, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped gray tie.

A caption on screen reads "The Indian Act explained. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says SINCE 1876, THE INDIAN
ACT HAS STRUCTURED THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CANADA AND
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, WITH
PROFOUND REPERCUSSIONS.
AND THOUGH YOU'VE NO DOUBT HEARD
OF THAT ACT, YOU MAY NOT KNOW
MUCH ABOUT WHAT'S ACTUALLY IN IT.
THAT'S WHERE BOB JOSEPH'S NEW
BOOK COMES IN.
IT'S CALLED "21 THINGS YOU MAY
NOT KNOW ABOUT THE INDIAN ACT:
HELPING CANADIANS MAKE
RECONCILIATION WITH INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES A REALITY."

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is white, with red and black type.

Steve continues HE IS FOUNDER OF INDIGENOUS
CORPORATE TRAINING, A FIRM
SPECIALIZING IN CULTURAL
RELATIONS INSTRUCTION, AND HE
JOINS US NOW FOR MORE.

Bob is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven, with short, mid-parted salt-and-pepper hair. He's wearing a lilac shirt.

Steve continues BOB, GREAT TO MEET YOU.
THANKS FOR COMING IN TONIGHT.

Bob says THANK YOU.

Steve says THIS BOOK IS A
RESULT, I GATHER, OF AN ARTICLE
YOU ORIGINALLY WROTE AND
EXPANDED ON AND THAT ARTICLE
PRETTY MUCH WENT VIRAL, RIGHT?
HOW MANY PEOPLE LOOKED AT THAT?

The caption changes to "Bob Joseph. Author, '21 things you may not know about the Indian Act.'"
Then, it changes again to "Getting to know the Act."

Bob says 55,000 IN THE FIRST MONTH,
YOU KNOW?
IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS
WHERE WE THOUGHT ARE WE READING
THE NUMBERS RIGHT?
PEOPLE WERE JUST, YOU KNOW,
SHARING AND IT WAS JUST GOING
CRAZY.

Steve says WHAT DID THAT TELL YOU?

Bob says I THOUGHT THIS HIT A NERVE,
RIGHT?
THEY'RE INTERESTED IN THE
SUBJECT.
I SHOULD REALLY EXPAND ON THE
BULLET POINTS IS WHAT I SHOULD
DO BECAUSE IT WAS JUST SORT
OF... KEEP IT AT A HIGH LEVEL
AND SORT OF A QUICK DESCRIPTION
AND, YEAH.
SO THAT WAS SORT OF THE GENESIS,
IF YOU WILL.

Steve says LET'S GO THROUGH,
BECAUSE WE LIKE TO GO INDEPTH
HERE, LET'S GO THROUGH THE 21
THINGS.
WE WANT TO GO THROUGH THEM ALL.
SOME WE'LL SPEND MORE TIME ON
OTHERS.
THE FIRST ONE DENIED WOMEN
STATUS.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

The caption changes to "Denied Women Status."

Bob says THE INDIAN ACT WAS DESIGNED
TO ASSIMILATE PEOPLE INTO THE
ECONOMIC MAINSTREAM OF THE
COUNTRY.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE THOUGHT WE
WOULD DO IT WAS BY CREATING A
STATUS INDIAN SYSTEM.
AND THE STATUS INDIAN SYSTEM
BASICALLY SAID THAT INDIAN WOMEN
WHO MARRIED NON-INDIAN MEN WOULD
LOSE THEIR STATUS AND SO WOULD
THEIR CHILDREN.
IF YOU LOST YOUR STATUS, THAT
MEANT YOU HAD TO LEAVE THE
RESERVE.
YOU COULDN'T LIVE THERE.
YOU COULDN'T BE THERE WITH YOUR
WHOLE EXTENDED FAMILY.
WHEREAS IN

Steve says CLEARLY A DOUBLE
STANDARD THERE.
DOES THAT STILL EXIST TO THIS DAY?

Bob says IT'S STILL THERE.
YOU KNOW WHAT?
YOU KNOW, WE FIXED IT IN ABOUT
1985, THERE WAS AN AMENDMENT
CALLED BILL C-31.
AND BILL C-31 REALLY WAS A HUMAN
RIGHTS COMPLAINT BY INDIAN WOMEN
WHO SAID THIS REALLY
DISCRIMINATES AGAINST US AND NOT
THE MEN, AND SO IT SAID THAT
THEY COULD... THEY WOULDN'T LOSE
THEIR STATUS ANYMORE UPON
MARRYING NON-INDIAN MEN.
THEIR CHILDREN WOULD GAIN IT.
AND IT WOULD WORK THE SAME FOR
THE MEN.
IT ALLOWED FOR A REINSTATEMENT
OF INDIAN WOMEN IF THEY HAD LOST
WITHIN A GENERATION OF THE BILL,
THEY COULD GO BACK AND BE
REINSTATED.

Steve says IS THAT HAPPENING?

Bob says SOME BANDS ARE PRETTY GOOD
ABOUT IT.
YOU'RE ONE OF OUR PEOPLE.
WE'LL PUT YOU BACK ON THE LIST.
OTHER BANDS SAID WE'RE NOT
GETTING ANY NEW MONEY FROM
INDIGENOUS AND NORTHERN AFFAIRS
TO LOOK AFTER MORE PEOPLE.
WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR THAT TO
HAPPEN.
SOME BANDS HAVE FOUGHT BITTER
LEGAL BANDS TO NOT REINSTATE.
MANY THEY'RE GETTING OIL AND GAS
REVENUES.
IF YOU BECOME A MEMBER, YOU ARE
ACTUALLY ENTITLED TO A BAND
ANNUITY FOR OIL AND GAS REVENUE.
THERE'S A WHOLE RANGE.

Steve says THE INDIAN ACT OF
COURSE INTRODUCED RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOLS.
DO YOU THINK FINALLY
NON-INDIGENOUS CANADIANS ARE
STARTING TO GET A BETTER
UNDERSTANDING OF THE
REPERCUSSIONS OF THAT DECISION?

The caption changes to "Introduced Residential Schools."

Bob says YEAH.
YOU KNOW... SO I'VE BEEN DOING
THE TRAINING NOW FOR 20-PLUS
YEARS, AND IN THE EARLY DAYS, I
CAN REMEMBER ONE OF THE FIRST
WORKSHOPS I EVER DID, A LADY
CAME UP TO ME ON THE BREAK, SHE
WAS CRYING.
IT WAS A BREAK.
I GO, WHAT'S WRONG?
HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
SHE SAID, I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT
YOU'RE TELLING ME, YOU KNOW?
I DON'T BELIEVE MY CHURCH WOULD
BE INVOLVED IN THAT.
IT JUST SOUNDED SO SURREAL TO
HER THAT IT REALLY UPSET HER.
SHE WAS ACTUALLY CRYING.
AND I SAID TO HER, I KNOW IT'S
HARD TO BELIEVE BUT I'M TELLING
YOU THE TRUTH HERE.
I'M NOT MAKING THIS STUFF UP.
YOU CAN'T.
AND AS TIME GOES ON, YOU'RE
REALLY GOING TO START TO SEE IT
MORE AND MORE AS THINGS WILL
START TO COME OUT, THE TRUTH AND
RECONCILIATION COMMISSION AND
SURVIVORS AND CERTAINLY SINCE
THE '94 RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
COMMISSION, I SEE ACADEMIA, K
THROUGH 12, UNIVERSITIES,
GOVERNMENTS, BUSINESSES, THEY'VE
COMMITTED TO RECONCILIATION AND
IT TELLS YOU HOW TO DO THAT, GET
MORE INFORMATION ON THE HISTORY
AND CULTURE.

Steve says THE INDIAN ACT
CREATED RESERVES.
WHY?

The caption changes to "Created reserves."

Bob says WE NEEDED TO PUT THEM
SOMEWHERE UNTIL THEY ASSIMILATED.
SO A RESERVE IS LIKE IT SOUNDS.
IT'S RESERVED FOR THEIR USE AND
BENEFIT.
THEY DON'T ACTUALLY OWN THE LAND
THEY'VE BEEN USING AND
OCCUPYING.
IT WAS JUST A PLACE WE WERE
GOING TO PUT UNTIL THEY WERE
ASSIMILATED.
SOMETIMES PEOPLE CONFUSE IT WITH
RESERVATIONS.
WE DON'T REALLY HAVE ANY EXCEPT
HOTELS, AIRLINES, RESTAURANTS.

Steve says RESERVATION IS AN
AMERICAN TERM.

Bob says IF WE WERE IN THE UNITED
STATES IT'S TRIBES AND
RESERVATIONS BUT IN CANADA IT'S
BANDS AND RESERVES.
SO IN THE CONTEXT OF
ASSIMILATION, IT'S A HOLDING
PEN.
IT'S A PLACE THEY WERE GOING TO
GO UNTIL THEY ASSIMILATED.
THEY STILL DON'T OWN THE LANDS
THEY LIVE ON OR THE HOUSE... IF
YOU ASK IS THAT YOUR HOUSE?
OH, YEAH.
I'VE BEEN LIVING THERE FOREVER.
IT'S REALLY PROPERTY OF
INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS.

Steve says THE INDIAN ACT
RENAMED INDIVIDUALS WITH
EUROPEAN NAMES.

Bob says YEAH.

Steve says IS YOUR NAME BOB JOSEPH?

The caption changes to "Renamed individuals with European names."

Bob says MY ACTUAL NAME IS
K'ACK-SUM NAKWALA.

Steve says WHAT LANGUAGE IS THAT.

Bob says IT'S QWAKWALA.
IN OUR TRADITIONAL LANGUAGE,
K'ACK-SUM NAKWALA MEANS A POINT
IN TIME WHERE A KILLER WHALE
BREACHES THE SURFACE.
IN OUR LANGUAGE IT MEANS
RETURNING CHIEF SO MY DAD STOOD
ME UP ON A POTLATCH WAY BACK IN
1982 AND MY DAD IS A HEREDITARY
CHIEF, WHICH MEANS HE INHERITED
HIS CHIEFTAINSHIP, WE BELIEVE
THAT TO BE THE CREATOR.
I'LL EVENTUALLY INHERIT IT.
HE GAVE ME THIS TRADITIONAL NAME
THAT WOULD LET PEOPLE KNOW THIS
IS A RETURNING CHIEF COMING
BACK.
WHEN WE SEE A KILLER WHALE IN
FRONT OF THE VILLAGE, WE BELIEVE
IT'S A RETURNING CHIEF.

Steve says WHY ARE YOU NAMED
BOB JOSEPH?

Bob says THE INDIAN AGENTS... SO THE
WHOLE ASSIMILATION PROCESS, HOW
DO YOU KNOW WHEN THAT EXACTLY
HAPPENED?
WE SET UP THIS SORT OF KEY
PERFORMANCE INDICATOR, IF I CAN
CALL IT THAT.
THE IDEA WAS WE NEED TO SOMEHOW
TRACK WHEN ASSIMILATION HAS
OCCURRED.
SO TO START OFF WITH, WE DECIDE,
WE'LL LEGALLY RACIALLY DEFINE
THEM AND WE'LL LOOK FOR WAYS TO
UNLEGALLY RACIALLY DEFINE THEM.
SO THAT WAS THE KICKOFF.
AND SO AN INDIAN AGENT WOULD
COME AROUND TO YOUR COMMUNITY
AND THEY'D SAY NAME AND YOU'D
SAY K'ACK-SUM NAKWALA AND THEY'D
SAY, OKAY, BOB JOSEPH IT IS.

Steve says THAT'S HOW IT HAPPENED?

Bob says I GET ASKED ALL THE TIME ARE
YOU THE JOSEPH IN SQUAMISH OR
THE JOSEPH OVER HERE?
I HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE I'M PRETTY
SURE WE HAD THE SAME INDIAN
AGENT OR A LITTLE BIT OF INDIAN
AFFAIRS HUMOUR FOR YOU.

Steve says I WAS GOING TO SAY,
IT'S OKAY FOR ME TO LAUGH AT THIS?

Bob says I WANT THIS TO BE A SAFE SPACE.
THAT'S HOW I DO OPERATE.

Steve says YOU TALK ABOUT THE
POWER OF THE INDIAN AGENTS.
THE INDIAN ACT RESTRICTED FIRST
NATIONS FROM LEAVING THE RESERVE
WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE
INDIAN AGENT.
WHAT'S THAT ABOUT?

The caption changes to "Restricted First Nations from leaving without permission."

Bob says TOTALLY.
SO CANADA... AGAIN, PART OF THIS
ASSIMILATION POLICY, WE'RE GOING
TO PUT THEM THERE AND WE'RE
GOING TO TRY TO KEEP THEM THERE
AS LONG AS WE CAN AND THEY WOULD
SEE THIS LAND OF OPPORTUNITY OUT
THERE AND WANT TO BECOME PART OF
IT.
THE IDEA WAS WE WOULD MAKE THEM
GET PERMISSION SLIPS SO WE COULD
SHOW YOU COPIES OF PASSES THAT
WERE SUBMITTED.
IF YOU LEFT FOR MORE THAN 30
DAYS AT A TIME, YOU COULD BE
AUTOMATICALLY ENFRANCHISED.

Steve says THAT'S ONE OF THEM THERE.

Bob says YES.
YOU LOST YOUR STATUS, BECAME
NON-STATUS, YOU HAD TO LEAVE THE
RESERVE BECAUSE THOSE ARE SET
ASIDE FOR THE USE OF STATUS
INDIANS, NOT NON-STATUS INDIANS.
WE THINK ABOUT WORLD WAR II
VETERANS.
THEY WENT TO FIGHT FOR GOD AND
COUNTRY, AS IT WERE.
THEY CAME BACK, THE INDIAN AGENT
SAID YOU LEFT FOR TOO LONG,
YOU'RE NO LONGER A STATUS
INDIAN, THEY WOULD GO TO THE WAR
VETERANS BENEFITS PROCESS AND
THEY WOULD SAY YOU'RE AN INDIAN,
YOU'RE DEALT WITH DIFFERENTLY
AND THEY WOULD END UP IN THE
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE VACUUM.

A picture shows a crumpled and dated handwritten form. A letterhead reads "Department of Indian Affairs."

Steve says DOUBLE HUMILIATION.

Bob says THEY HAD WE HAD THIS TREATY
WITH THE COUNTRY.
WE ARE PRETTY SURE THEY WILL
LIVE UP TO IT.
WE FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO DO
THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS
PROBABLY A CONSEQUENCE.

Steve says AND YOU'RE 150 YEARS
LATER STILL WAITING FOR THE
COUNTRY TO LIVE UP TO ITS TREATY
OBLIGATIONS.

Bob says YEAH.
IT'S STARTING TO HAPPEN.
A LOT OF THE MODERN TREATIES ARE
VERY POSITIVE.
THINK ABOUT THE NISGA'A TREATY.
TO ME IT'S WORKING.
THEY'RE DOING A GOOD JOB.

Steve says THE INDIAN ACT ALSO
ENFORCED ENFRANCHISEMENT, THE
LOSS OF STATUS OF ANY FIRST
NATION ADMITTED TO UNIVERSITY.
WHY WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN THE CASE?

The caption changes to "Enforced enfranchisement of any First Nation admitted to university."

Bob says AGAIN THEY'RE THINKING
THEY'RE PROBABLY FITTING IN A
LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN THE OTHER ONES.
IF THEY GET A UNIVERSITY DEGREE,
THAT SHOULD BE GROUNDS FOR
TAKING THEM OFF OF THE LIST.

Steve says THE INDIAN ACT COULD
EXPROPRIATE PORTIONS OF RESERVES
FOR ROADS, RAILWAYS AND OTHER
PUBLIC WORKS, AS WELL AS TO MOVE
AN ENTIRE RESERVE AWAY FROM A
MUNICIPALITY IF IT WAS DEEMED
EXPEDIENT.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT ONE?

The caption changes to "Could expropriate portions of reserves."

Bob says PRETTY CRAZY.
THEY DID DO A LOT OF
RELOCATIONS.
PEOPLE WERE MOVED SOMETIMES
HUNDREDS OF KILOMETRES AWAY FROM
WHERE THEY ORIGINALLY WERE FROM.
YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT A LOT OF
RESERVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, A
LOT OF THEM ARE TAKEN UP BY
UTILITIES AND RIGHT-OF-WAY
CORRIDORS AND ROADS AND SO I
THINK THAT'S, YOU KNOW, SORT OF
WHERE THINGS HAVE SHAKEN OUT.
THERE WERE STUFF IN THE INDIAN
ACT... I DON'T WANT TO TAKE AWAY
FROM SOME OF THE ONES COMING
UP... WE DIDN'T WANT THEM TO
FARM.
THEY WEREN'T ALLOWED TO SELL
STUFF OFF OF THE RESERVE SO WE
STOPPED THEM FROM... YOU KNOW,
PROHIBITED THEM FROM
PARTICIPATING IN THE ECONOMY AND
THEN SAID, "BY THE WAY, YOU'RE
NOT USING THE LANDS TO THE
HIGHEST AND BEST USE.
WE'RE GOING TO LEASE THOSE TO
OTHER ENTERPRISING
ENTREPRENEURS."

Steve says I THINK I SAW A
QUOTE FROM FORMER PRIME MINISTER
ARTHUR MEEHAN, THEY'RE NOT
CULTIVATING THE LAND THE WAY WE
WANT TO SO WE'LL TAKE IT FROM THEM.

Bob says IT WAS QUITE A SYSTEM
DESIGNED TO ASSIMILATE...
INITIALLY IT STARTS OFF NICELY.
A DYING RACE OF PEOPLE.
THEY'RE NOT FITTING IN
MILITARILY AND ECONOMICALLY.
BUT AS THEY ARE NOT
ASSIMILATING, WE GET MORE AND
MORE AGGRESSIVE JUST IN TERMS OF
INDIAN ACT LEGISLATION.

The caption changes to "Could lease out uncultivated reserve lands to non-first nations."

Steve says YOU ANSWERED THIS
NEXT QUESTION BUT I'LL PUT IT ON
THE RECORD.
THE ACT COULD LEASE OUT...
YOU JUST SPOKE TO THAT.
HERE'S THE NEXT ONE.
THE INDIAN ACT BANNED FIRST
NATIONS FROM FORMING POLITICAL
ORGANIZATIONS.
HOW DO YOU GET AWAY WITH THAT?

The caption changes to "Forbade First Nations from forming political organizations."

Bob says YOU CANNOT MEET IN GROUPS OF
THREE.
THE INDIAN AGENT, IT WAS THEIR
JOB, IF THEY KNEW OF GATHERINGS
OF THREE OR MORE WOULD BE IN
ATTENDANCE AND WOULD DEFINITELY
LET YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE
GAME.
THERE'S A TRIBAL POLITICAL
ORGANIZATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
TODAY WHO STILL SAYS ONWARD
CHRISTIAN SOLDIER AT THE START
OF THE MEETING BECAUSE THEY
COULD MEET FOR RELIGIOUS
PURPOSES, APPROVED RELIGIOUS PURPOSES.

Steve says SOME OF THESE WE
SHOULD SAY HAVE OBVIOUSLY BEEN
CHANGED OVER TIME.

Bob says YEAH.

Steve says SOME OF THEM, I
THINK 1951 IS A DATE WHEN MANY
OF THEM WERE NOT GIVEN THE FORCE
OF LAW ANYMORE.
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OFF THE TOP
OF YOUR HEAD WHEN FIRST NATIONS
WERE ALLOWED TO CONVENE FOR
POLITICAL PURPOSES?

Bob says I THINK THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN
RIGHT IN THE ERA.

Steve says '51.

Bob says IT'S ON THE HEELS OF WORLD
WAR II.
THEY WERE FIGHTING ALONGSIDE.
THERE WAS A SOFTENING OF
ATTITUDES FROM PEOPLE WHO WERE
REALLY FIGHTING ALONGSIDE.

Steve says LET'S GO THROUGH A
FEW OF THEM.
SOME ARE SELF EXPLANATORY.
THE INDIAN ACT PROHIBITED
ANYONE, FIRST NATION OR
NON-FIRST NATION, FROM
SOLICITING FUNDS FOR FIRST
NATION LEGAL CLAIMS WITHOUT A
SPECIAL LICENCE FROM THE
SUPERINTENDENT GENERAL,
OBVIOUSLY A PROHIBITION AGAINST
FIRST NATION PURSUING THEIR
RIGHTS.
IT PROHIBITED THE SALE OF
ALCOHOL TO FIRST NATIONS.
PROHIBITED THE SALE OF
AMMUNITION TO FIRST NATIONS.
HERE'S ONE: IT PROHIBITED POOL
HALL OWNERS FROM ALLOWING FIRST
NATIONS ENTRANCE.

The caption changes to "Prohibited anyone from soliciting funds for legal claims without special licence."
Then, it changes again to "Prohibited the sale of alcohol to First Nations."
Then, it changes again to "Prohibited the sale of ammunition to First Nations."
Then, it changes again to "Prohibited pool halls from allowing First Nations entrance."

Bob says YEAH.

Steve says WHAT WOULD BE THE
POINT BEHIND THAT?

Bob says YOU KNOW, HONESTLY, SOME OF
IT I STRUGGLE WITH JUST IN TERMS
OF WHY... I MEAN, A LOT OF
PEOPLE THAT COME TO OUR
WORKSHOPS DO TOO.
WHY THE HECK DO THIS AND DO SOME
OF THAT STUFF?
THE SHORT ANSWER IS: IT DOESN'T
MAKE SENSE UNLESS WE JUST LOOK
AT IT, WE'RE TRYING TO
ASSIMILATE THEM.
I THINK POOL HALLS HAD A BAD REP
AT ONE TIME.
THEY WERE JUST PLACES WHERE NOT
GOOD PEOPLE WENT.

Steve says YOU'D BE UP TO NO
GOOD IF YOU WENT TO A POOL HALL.

Bob says PRETTY MUCH.

Steve says GOTCHA.
HERE'S ONE THAT HAS HAD PROFOUND
REPERCUSSIONS FOR DECADES AND
DECADES.
THE INDIAN ACT IMPOSED THE BAND
COUNCIL SYSTEM.

The caption changes to "Imposed the 'Band Council' system."

Bob says YEAH.

Steve says TELL US ABOUT THAT.

Bob says SO WHEN WE THINK ABOUT
INDIGENOUS CULTURES AT THE TIME
OF CONTACT, AND CONTACT HAPPENS
AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN DIFFERENT
PLACES, ON THE EAST COAST
THERE'S 500 YEARS OF CONTACT.
ON THE WEST COAST, MAYBE 130
YEARS OF CONTACT.
SO IT JUST HAPPENS AT DIFFERENT
TIMES.
BUT AT THE TIME OF CONTACT THERE
WERE ALREADY GOVERNING
INSTITUTIONS.
YOU THINK ABOUT ONTARIO HERE,
YOU'VE GOT THE SIX NATIONS AS
THEY'RE COMMONLY CALLED, QUITE A
SOPHISTICATED POLITICAL
INSTITUTION IN ITS OWN RIGHT.

Steve says JUST AN HOUR AND A
HALF WEST OF HERE.

Bob says AND IT'S MADE POSSIBLE BY
AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES.
THEY GREW CROPS THAT SUPPORTED
HUGE POPULATIONS OF PEOPLE,
REALLY SMALL AREA.
WHENEVER YOU HAVE A LOT OF
PEOPLE IN A SMALL AREA, YOU NEED
MECHANISMS TO WORK OUT DISPUTES.
BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAID
WE CAN'T LET THEM KEEP GOVERNING
THEMSELVES THE WAY THEY'RE
GOVERNING THEMSELVES.
THEY HAVE TO ELECT A CHIEF AND
COUNCIL.
NOT ONLY THAT, BECAUSE IT'S PART
OF AN ASSIMILATION PROCESS, THEY
SAY, OH, AND WE'RE ONLY GOING TO
GIVE YOU TWO YEARS.
A CHIEF AND COUNCIL FOR EVERY
100 MEMBERS, YOU HAVE 321
MEMBERS, ONE CHIEF AND TWO
COUNCIL MEMBERS, WE'RE GOING TO
GIVE YOU TWO-YEAR ELECTION
CYCLES BECAUSE WE WANT YOU TO
BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE
ASSIMILATION PROCESSES.
THEY ELECT THEIR OWN PEOPLE BUT
ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO INDIAN
AFFAIRS.
THAT DRIVES THEM CRAZY.
WE NEED TO MOVE INTO THE INDIAN
ACT AND SELF GOVERNMENT AND THAT
CAN MEAN GOING BACK TO THE
TRADITIONAL WAYS OR ADOPTING AN
ELECTORAL FORMAT THAT'S MORE IN
LINE OF HOW THEY'RE DOING THINGS
AT THAT PARTICULAR COMMUNITY
LEVEL.
I'VE SEEN BLENDS OF BOTH.
WE HAVE THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
NISGA'A NATION AND THEY ELECT A
PRESIDENT SO WE SEE DIFFERENT
WAYS THAT COMMUNITY ARE TACKLING
THAT PIECE.

Steve says I'M GOING TO READ
THE NEXT FOUR TOGETHER BECAUSE
THEY ALL DEAL WITH CULTURE IN A
HUGE WAY.
THE INDIAN ACT FORBADE FIRST
NATIONS FROM SPEAKING THEIR
LANGUAGE.
FROM PRACTISING THEIR
TRADITIONAL LEGAL.
IT FORBADE WESTERN FIRST NATIONS
FROM APPEARING IN A DANCE, SHOW,
EXHIBITION OR PAGEANT WEARING
TRADITIONAL REGALIA AND MADE
POTLATCHES ILLEGAL.
WHAT IS THAT TANTAMOUNT TO?

The caption changes to "Forbade First Nations from speaking their native language."
Then, it changes again to "Forbade First Nations from practicing their tradition religion."
Then, it changes again to "Forbade Western First Nations from appearing in any public event wearing traditional regalia."
Then, it changes again to "Declared potlatch and other cultural ceremonies illegal."

Bob says THEY'RE GETTING AGGRESSIVE NOW.
THEY'RE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY THE
CULTURE.
THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
COMMISSION I THINK CAME UP WITH
THE BEST WORDS, THAT GOVERNMENT
COMMISSION SAID, JUST LOOK AT
THE EXPERIENCE OF RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOLS.
IT'S REALLY A CULTURAL GENOCIDE.
WE'RE TRYING TO KILL THE INDIAN
WITHIN THE CHILD WAS SORT OF THE
THOUGHT PROCESS.
SO IT REALLY WAS AN ATTEMPT TO
TAKE AWAY THE CULTURE.
I DON'T KNOW... YOU KNOW, I'M
NOT AN EXPERT, BUT AS SOON AS
YOU TELL PEOPLE THEY CAN'T BE
WHO THEY ARE, THAT'S A PRETTY
TOUGH ROAD TO PLOW EVEN WITH
GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION.

Steve says THE OTHER THING IS,
OFTEN WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE YOU
CAN'T BE THIS, THEY'RE GOING TO
REDOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS TO ENSURE
THAT THEY ARE THIS.

Bob says DOUBLE DOWN.
DOUBLE DOWN.
AND SO THE INDIAN ACT WAS I
THINK... YOU LOOK AT IT OVER ITS
HISTORY, WAS STARTING TO DOUBLE
DOWN MORE AND MORE AND THEY WERE
RESPONDING IN KIND.
WE WOULD HAVE OUR POTLATCHES IN
THE MIDDLE OF WINTER.
WE HAD A POTLATCH IN 2014.
MY DAD'S BASICALLY COACHING,
MENTORING AND TEACHING ME HOW TO
TAKE OVER HIS RESPONSIBILITIES
AND WE'RE SITTING WITH A BUNCH
OF CHIEFS AT A HOUSE IN ALERT
BAY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
OVERLOOKING THE OCEAN.
AND ONE OF THE CHIEFS SAID TO MY
DAD, A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A POT
LASH, BOBBY JOE.
LOOK AT HOW WINDY IT IS.
THE INDIAN AGENT CAN'T GET HERE.
WE ALL HAD A GOOD CHUCKLE ABOUT
SOME OF THE BANNING OF
POTLATCHES AND CULTURES AND
REGALIA AND SPEAKING THE
LANGUAGE.
WE'RE DEFINITELY GETTING
AGGRESSIVE AT THAT POINT AS A
COUNTRY IN THE 1920s.
AND YOU CAN GO INTO VERY
PROMINENT MUSEUMS AND SEE STUFF
THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU GO INTO
THE NORTHWEST COAST DISPLAY
SECTION, COLLECTED IN 1921, AND
IT WASN'T COLLECTED, IT WAS
CONFISCATED AND THERE'S PROBABLY
SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO BELIEVES
THEY OWN IT AND WANTS TO
REPATRIATE.
THERE IS A BIG PROCESS.
MUSEUMS HAVE BEEN COOPERATING
WITH COMMUNITIES TO RETURN THINGS.

Steve says HERE'S ANOTHER ON
POLITICAL RIGHTS: THE INDIAN ACT
DENIED FIRST NATIONS THE RIGHT
TO VOTE.

The caption changes to "Denied First Nations the right to vote."

Bob says YES.

Steve says WE KNOW MOST
CANADIANS COULD VOTE AS OF 1867.
MALES.
WOMEN AS OF A HUNDRED YEARS AGO,
NON-INDIGENOUS.
THERE ARE FIRST NATIONS IN THIS
COUNTRY THAT GOT THE RIGHT TO
VOTE IN 1961.

Bob says YES.

Steve says THAT'S IN THE
LIFETIME OF, I SUSPECT, MOST OF
THE PEOPLE WATCHING US RIGHT NOW.
IS THAT WHY THERE IS SO MUCH
MISTRUST AMONG FIRST NATIONS FOR
SETTLER ELECTIONS?

Bob says I THINK THERE'S MISTRUST AND
MAYBE SOME APATHY.
YOU KNOW, THE REASON THEY
COULDN'T VOTE... I THINK THAT'S
THE INTERESTING PART.
IT'S LIKE WOMEN AND SUFFRAGE.
AN INDIAN WAS ANYBODY OTHER THAN
A PERSON.
THAT'S WHAT THE INDIAN ACT WOULD
HAVE SAID.
SOMEBODY LOOKED AT IT, NO,
THEY'RE PERSONS.
THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE.
YOU THINK ABOUT THE AMALGAMATES
MISSISSAUGAS.
IT'S HARD TO GET POLITICAL POWER
AT THE POLLS WHEN YOU'RE A SMALL
GROUP OF PEOPLE.
SOME OF THAT MIGHT BE SORT OF
APATHY.
SOME OF IT IS DEFINITELY
INSTRUMENT OF THE MAN.
WE DON'T WANT TO DO WHAT THE MAN
IS TELLING US TO DO.
BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT THIS LAST
FEDERAL ELECTION, JUST A FEW
YEARS AGO, CHIEF OF THE ASSEMBLY
OF FIRST NATIONS, PERRY
BELLEGARDE, PUBLISHED A PAPER
AND HE IDENTIFIED 42 RIDINGS
WHERE FIRST NATIONS BANDS COULD
SWING THE ELECTION FROM ONE
POLITICAL PARTY TO ANOTHER,
ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE GOING TO
BE CLOSE.
SO WE DID SEE REAL UPTAKE FROM
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN THE LAST
FEDERAL ELECTION, THERE ARE NINE
INDIGENOUS MEMBERS OF
PARLIAMENT.
IT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST ENGAGED
THAT THEY'VE EVER BEEN.
A LOT OF IT HAD TO DO WITH
GOVERNMENT CUTBACKS.
THEY WERE TRYING TO FIND SOME
WAY TO NOT BE CUT BACK SO
HEAVILY AND A BUNCH OF POLITICAL
OBJECTIVES THERE.
I SHOULD SAY THE INUIT, WHO ARE
68,000 OF THE 1.4 MILLION
SELF-IDENTIFIED ABORIGINAL
PEOPLES ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE
IN ELECTIONS.
IF WE LOOK AT THE PREVIOUS...
THE HARPER GOVERNMENT, THEY HAD
AN INUK GAL WHO WAS THE
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER.
THEY RUN PEOPLE FROM ALL PARTIES
AND THEY CAN PUT PEOPLE ON THE
FRONT BENCH, SORT OF A POLITICAL
POWER LEVER.
THEY'RE THE MOST ORGANIZED BUT
THE SMALLEST GROUP OF INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES IN THE COUNTRY.
THE MOST RECENT FEDERAL
FISHERIES MINISTER TOO.
AND THE METIS WERE ALWAYS
CONSIDERED CITIZENS AND THEY
WERE ABLE TO VOTE IN FEDERAL,
PROVINCIAL, AND LOCAL ELECTIONS.

Steve says SINCE YOU MENTION IT.
BEFORE I GET TO THE LAST TWO.
BEFORE I GO ON WITH THAT.
STEPHEN HARPER GAVE AN HISTORIC
APOLOGY FOR THE RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOL SYSTEM FOISTED UPON
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE GOING BACK
MANY, MANY YEARS, AND THE
APOLOGY IS IN THE BOOK AND I
READ IT AND THEY SOUND LIKE VERY
SINCERE, HEARTFELT, MEANINGFUL,
IMPORTANT HISTORIC WORDS.

Bob says YEAH.

Steve says DO YOU TAKE THEM THAT WAY?

The caption changes to "Bob Joseph, @wewap."

Bob says TOTALLY, TOTALLY.
I SHOULD CONFESS, MY DAD IS VERY
INVOLVED IN RECONCILIATION AND
BRINGING THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
STORY TO LIGHT.
HE ACTUALLY WAS ONE OF MAYBE
FOUR PEOPLE THAT HAD A HAND IN
HELPING WRITE THE SPEECH THAT
WENT INTO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
SORT OF THE NEXT DAY AND HE'S
TOLD ME PERSONALLY QUITE A FEW
OF THE WORDS THAT I PUT IN THERE
MANAGED TO GET THROUGH TO THE
PRIME MINISTER AND ACTUALLY BE
READ OUT, WHICH HE THOUGHT WAS
GREAT.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S A REAL
COMMITMENT THERE BY PRIME
MINISTER HARPER.
IT WAS KIND OF A SURPRISE.
WE ALWAYS THOUGHT MAYBE IT WOULD
HAPPEN WITH A DIFFERENT
POLITICAL STRIPE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org. Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says YOU FOUND THAT IMPRESSIVE.

Bob says YEAH.

Steve says YET A FEW PAGES
LATER IN THE BOOK YOU GO ON TO
SAY, WELL, HE DID SAY THIS OTHER
THING ONCE AND I WONDER WHETHER
THE APOLOGY THEREFORE IS AS
SINCERE AS WE THOUGHT.
WHAT WAS THE OTHER THING HE SAID?

Bob says I DON'T REMEMBER WHAT HE
SAID.
YOU'LL HAVE TO REMIND ME.

Steve says IT WAS ABOUT THE
G-20 WHEN HE SAID CANADA IS
IDEALLY POSITIONED TO DEAL WITH
A LOT OF THE ISSUES FORCING THE
WORLD TODAY BECAUSE WE HAVE NO
HISTORY OF COLONIALISM HERE.

Bob says OH, YES.
WE HAVE A LOT OF HISTORY.
THAT'S THE INTERESTING THING.
I DO THESE WORKSHOPS ALL THE
TIME, ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT
AND SOMETIMES EVEN POLITICIANS.
AND ONE OF THE EXERCISES I GIVE
TO PEOPLE IS I SAY, COME UP WITH
A DATE IN HISTORY AND A SENTENCE
TO DESCRIBE IT THAT'S SPECIFIC
TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.
AND OUT OF A CLASS OF 30 PEOPLE,
THEY'LL COME UP WITH 20, 30
DATES.
AND I'LL START A FLIP CHART.
AND WHAT YOU'LL FIND IS, THERE
ARE A LOT OF DATES EARLY, LOUIS
RIEL AND, YOU KNOW, DATES LIKE
THAT.
THERE'S A LOT OF RECENT DATES,
THE PATRIATED EXECUTION AND OKA
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
EVERY TIME, IN A TIME LINE
EXERCISE, THERE'S A BIG GAP IN
THE MIDDLE AND IT'S FROM THE
LATE 1800s TO THE LATE
1960s, AND IT'S UNCANNY.
I CAN EVEN SHOW YOU PICTURES.
BUT IT'S JUST UNCANNY THAT THIS
GAP ALWAYS COMES UP.
WHEN I'M DEBRIEFING I'LL SAY TO
THE PARTICIPANTS, WHAT DO YOU
NOTICE?
A BIG GAP.
I THINK FOR A LOT OF CANADIANS
THEY JUST DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS
PARTICULAR PIECE OF HISTORY, THE
INDIAN ACT.

Steve says THEY'RE LEARNING NOW.
BOB, WE PROMISED PEOPLE 21
THINGS AND WE'RE GOING TO GET
ALL 21 IN.
HERE COMES 20.
THE INDIAN ACT CAME UP WITH A
PERMIT SYSTEM TO SELL PRODUCT
FROM FARMS.
SELF EXPLANATORY.

The caption changes to "Created permit system to control First Nations ability to sell products from farms."

Steve continues THE LAST ONE THE INDIAN ACT IS A
PIECE OF LEGISLATION CREATED
UNDER THE BRITISH RULE FOR THE
PURPOSE OF SUBJUGATING ONE RACE:
ABORIGINAL PEOPLE. I'D LIKE TO
KNOW ALL THESE YEARS, AFTER
THE PASSAGE OF THE INDIAN ACT,
HOW WELL, ULTIMATELY, DO YOU
THINK ITS DONE AT DOING THAT?

The caption changes to "The Indian Act was created for the purpose of subjugating one race – Aboriginal People."

Bob says IT DIDN'T.
IN FACT... PEOPLE WILL DEBATE
THIS A LOT.
YOU KNOW, IF WE WANT PEOPLE TO
ASSIMILATE, YOU DON'T PUT THEM
ON SEPARATE LANDS AND EVERYTHING
ELSE.
IF YOU WANT THEM TO ASSIMILATE,
YOU DON'T PUT THEM UNTO SEPARATE
LAWS LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.
THAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE.
WE TRIED TO DO THAT PIECE.
THE FACT THAT THEY'RE LIVING
UNDER SEPARATE LAWS AND UNDER
SEPARATE LANDS WILL ALWAYS KEEP
THEM SEPARATE.
IT'S A LEGISLATIVE THING THAT'S
HARD TO OVERCOME.
IF YOU WANT THEM TO ASSIMILATE
YOU PUT THEM TOGETHER AND SHARE
FOOD AND RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL
IDEAS AND HUMOUR AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

Steve says THEY DID IT THE
WRONG WAY?

Bob says HINDSIGHT IS 20-20.
IF YOU LEFT PEOPLE BE, THAT
WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER
PLACE... YOU KNOW, WHEN WE LOOK
AT IT IN THE CONTEXT OF THE
HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY, IT'S
SORT OF... I THINK OF THIS
CONVERSATION, DISMANTLING THE
INDIAN ACT AS A BATTLE OF SORT
OF THE SOUL OF THE NATION.
WHEN WE STARTED THE SOUL OF THE
NATION REALLY WAS ABOUT EQUALITY
AND EQUITY AND WE BRING ALL OF
THESE DIFFERENT CULTURES IN FROM
ALL OVER THE WORLD AND WE PUT
THEM IN A BIG POT AND WE TURN
THE HEAT ON AND WE'D STIR IT AND
IT WOULD BE THIS GREAT GOOPY
MASS OF PEOPLE.
SO THAT WAS SORT OF THE MELTING
POT IDEOLOGY THAT WOULD HAVE
BEEN IN PLACE IN THE UNITED
STATES AND CANADA AND MAYBE
OTHER SORT OF COUNTRIES LIKE
THAT.
BUT, YOU KNOW, THAT'S NOT REALLY
WHAT WE ARE.
IF I LOOK AT ALL THE DIFFERENT
CULTURES IN CANADA, NOT JUST
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, WE'RE MORE
OF A CULTURAL FRUITCAKE THAN WE
ARE A MELTING POT SOCIETY AND SO...

Steve says I CAN'T SAY YOUR
INDIGENOUS NAME, BUT I WILL
THANK BOB JOSEPH.

Bob says THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Steve says FOR COMING ON AGENDA
TONIGHT AND SHARING WITH US "21
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT
THE INDIAN ACT" THAT WILL HELP
CANADIANS MAKE RECONCILIATION
WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES A
REALITY.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, BOB.

Bob says MY PLEASURE.

Watch: The Indian Act Explained