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Aboriginal Rights in the Twentieth Century-My term essay for History


macawtopia 2 / 5  
Apr 25, 2009   #1
Alright, this is due very, very soon, and the specifications are that it must be in 3rd person, active voice, and it must be in the following format-

Intro
Thesis

Argument
Proof 1
Poof 2
Proof 3

Argument 2
Proof 1
Poof 2
Proof 3

Argument 3
Proof 1
Poof 2
Proof 3

Conclusion

Please edit it! Not just for spelling and grammer, but for content and smooth transitions as well.

After the end of the Second World War, most Canadians enjoyed prosperity and happiness, especially the native people of Canada. Before the war Canadian aboriginals had limited rights; they could not vote, have their own government, or own land. However, by the mid twentieth century, the aboriginals of Canada were being given special treatment; they could demand more land than other Canadian groups, and they were governed differently as well. In addition, the aboriginals gained freedoms and rights which greatly differed from other Canadian citizens'. During the late twentieth century, the aboriginals of Canada continued to have a separate set of rights than those of other Canadians, and consequently, they enjoyed many liberties which set them apart from others.

As was mentioned earlier, the Canadian federal government handled aboriginal land claims and agreements differently than those of regular Canadians. One of the main reasons for this was the Land Claims Policy, made by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jean Chretien, in 1973. Chretien stated that "In all cases where traditional interest has not been formally dealt with, the government affirms its willingness to do so and accepts in principle that the loss and relinquishment ought to be compensated" . Minister Chretien also appointed a task force which would attempt to handle the land claims and reserve rights of native Canadians. They wrote a paper called, "Development of Alternate methods for Policing on Reserves" and several others, in an attempt to better manage the land claims of Canada's aboriginals. In essence the Land Claims policy and the appointment of the task force meant that the government was willing to return, and compensate for all of the land the natives had lost to the government . This is significant because the aboriginals had claims to almost all of the land in Canada. Furthermore, the aboriginals wanted to regain all the land they could, resulting in several ongoing land claims in all parts of Canada, throughout the twentieth century.

The government also tried to handle aboriginal land requests in hastier manner than the one they used for non-native issues. More often than not, the government ended up giving the aboriginals everything they asked for. For example, in a 1983 poll in the North-West territories, only fifty-six percent of the population voted in favour of the separation of the territory to form Nunavut, and their opinion did not change . However, the government realized that most of the citizens who had voted in favour of the new territory were the Inuit people, who would make up eighty percent of the new territory, Nunavut. They wanted some independence from other Canadians, and this realization made the government agree to form the new territory far faster than they would have otherwise. In fact, the government passed a motion that the Nunavut land claim was going to be read, agreed to and signed all in one day . The process usually took weeks, and several revisions, but the government hurried to finish it, in an attempt to please the aboriginals.

The final reason that the native's lands claims were dealt with in a different way than other land agreements was that, in the late twentieth century, the aboriginals still felt that they were still the rightful owners of most of Canada. For instance, while negotiating the Nisaga claim in B.C. Joseph Gosnell, Nisaga's Tribal Council president, said

"These negotiations are not about generosity. This is not charity. This is a debt, unpaid for over one hundred and fifty years and rising...We know that the people of Canada do not have the cash to pay back the rent, that is, the money properly owed to us for the seizure of our land and the plunder of its natural resources...but we are not about to settle for the twentieth century equivalent of trinkets and beads" .

The Nisaga claim in B.C. which the above speaker was a part of caused the government to pay nearly fifteen billion dollars for the negotiations and compensation, and to give up eight hundred and fifty square miles of land in B.C. 1993 . In total, no other group in Canada had ever been given so much land and money from the government freely . Moreover, the natives were completely convinced that they deserved all they were getting and more.

The second area in which the rights of natives all over Canada differed from those of other Canadians was the methods of self government the natives used, how they financed their lives, and the methods the government used to lead them. For example, in the late 1960's British Columbia changed their Municipal act to enable native reserves to qualify as municipalities, a status they could not have before, and allowed them to have the right to govern themselves. Unfortunately, no native bands in the province decided to change their reserves into municipalities, preferring to keep their "special federal status" . This made it inevitable that the aboriginal groups of B.C. received all of their governing directly from the Government of Canada, a method that no other group in Canada could use. It meant a quicker resolution of most native issues, and more money to fund native issues.

Similar modes of government were used in other parts of Canada as well. In Alberta, for example, the provincial government appointed an "Alberta Native Affairs minister" in 1975, to deal with all of the provinces native issues. Later, in 1989, the provincial government of Alberta also had ministers hired to manage aboriginal education, municipal affairs, social services, and employment . Once again, rather than governing themselves as other Canadian societies did, the aboriginals of Canada relied on a higher level of government, the provincial government , to lead them and manage their problems.

Moreover, all native band issues were funded directly by the federal government. However, the government did not help the natives to establish jobs and a stable economy with the money, as they did for other Canadians. "Fiscal arrangements should contribute to economic development of aboriginal people, rather than act as disincentives, as many of the current arrangements now do" , said David Hawkes, a professor and law expert on the topic. He then suggested that the government help the aboriginals of Canada to establish a solid economic base with the money they were given, as they had with the other parts of Canada. As a result of this economic base not being made, in the twentieth century, none of the aboriginal groups of Canada had enough money and all depended on the government for a constant flow of funds. This was a privilege that few other groups in Canada could have.

Likewise, the human rights and suffrage of the aboriginal people were not the same as those of other Canadians in the twentieth century. One of the most important differences was that the Indian act of 1876, which was not changed until 1951, stated that "No Indian or non treaty Indian shall be liable to be taxed for any real or personal property, unless he holds real estate under lease or personal property outside of the reserve" . This policy granted reserve Indians immunity from all property and personal taxes, and so it gave all natives incentive to stay on reserves. The reason the government wanted the aboriginals to remain on reserve land back in the eighteen hundreds was because they did not want other citizens to integrate with them. In the twentieth century, however, the "no tax" part of the Indian act had no purpose, and it acted merely as a barrier, keeping aboriginals away from, and different from society.

Another important human right which was dissimilar between the aboriginals and the rest of Canadians, was suffrage. The aboriginals of Canada were not enfranchised, unconditionally until 1960. Before this, the natives only had the right to vote if they gave up their aboriginal origin, and became standard Canadian citizens, and most aboriginals were unwilling to do this. They preferred to hold on to their roots and keep their "aboriginal" status. Even after the aboriginals had suffrage, few of them did participate in elections, despite the government encouraging them . During the twentieth century, very few aboriginals chose to change their status and vote.

Last of all, the aboriginals did not have the right to participate in many of their cultural festivals and beliefs until the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms was passed. It enabled the aboriginals of Canada to have the right to practice their beliefs and culture, and have the right to practice self government in their small bands . The charter identified the natives as a specific ethnic group in Canada, and it finally gave them many of the rights they had been denied throughout before the twentieth century . Despite this, many natives started to divert from their origin, and still demanded that they be able to keep their special status, as stated in the charter. The natives enjoyed many privileges throughout the twentieth century, which they still have today.

In conclusion, the aboriginals of Canada were handled differently, and given varying rights from the government of Canada, which benefited them greatly. They were not treated in the same way as other citizens of Canada, because of their history with the government and their ethnicity, and this caused several conflicts between them and the government. Some of these disagreements were over land ownership claims, their human rights, and how the natives were governed, and most of these conflicts ended by the government aiding the natives. All in all, the aboriginals received far too much property and liberty from the government, and this caused them to come out of the twentieth century with more dependence on the government than any other group in Canada.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Apr 25, 2009   #2
You need a more focused thesis. For most of the essay, you seem to be arguing that the aboriginals were a privileged group, something their current conditions compared to the rest of

Canada does not seem to bear out. Then, you mention one policy that did harm them, and conclude that the policies the government adopted both benefited and harmed them. This is confusing and shallow. Decide whether you think the policies mostly benefited or mostly harmed the Natives, and argue one or the other. If you argue the former, explain why, in spite of these benefits, Natives still seem so much worse off than other Canadians. If you argue the latter, explain how the wrongs they have suffered should be redressed.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 26, 2009   #3
Sean is absolutely right, you need to focus. Once you are clear on which side of the fence you're on, narrowing it down will happen smoothly and easily.

"The main explanation for why the government was willing to give so much land and money to the natives was because the natives were completely convinced that they deserved all they were getting and more." I'm pretty sure this is not a fact.

This needs to be tightened up a lot, get rid of everything you don't need. An example of way too many words is the first paragraph, which could be reduced to three or four stronger sentences.
OP macawtopia 2 / 5  
Apr 26, 2009   #4
Alright, I considered the criticism, and I chose a side of the argument. I didn't really shorten it though, because as it is, it is already on the shorter side of my teacher's expectations.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Apr 27, 2009   #5
"The charter identified the natives as a specific ethnic group in Canada, and it finally gave them many of the rights they had been denied throughout before the twentieth century . Despite this, many natives started to divert from their origin, and still demanded that they be able to keep their special status, as stated in the charter." You really need to discuss this in more detail at the beginning of your essay. You need to explain the background of why aboriginals were given special status, the hardships they have suffered historically, and the reasons why you believe these hardships don't justify that status (which seems to be your position). Kudos on arguing the less politically correct side of the issue, btw. But bear in mind that, when taking the less popular position in an essay, you have a special duty to respond to the arguments of the opposing side, and to explain clearly why those arguments are wrong, before outlining your own case.
OP macawtopia 2 / 5  
May 4, 2009   #6
Alright, I asked my teaacher, and she said that I didn't have to outline the opposing side's arguments because this wasn't meant to be a comparative... but she also said that I needed to improve the fluidity of my work. Could you please help me make it less choppy?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 5, 2009   #7
Great question! Fluidity comes from having a central theme for the whole essay, and then having a mini theme for each paragraph. If you don't know what the main idea of a paragraph is, it probably isn't fluid. If you do know what the main idea is, capture that main idea in the topic sentence (the first sentence of each paragraph).

When you start by saying this,
After the end of the Second World War, ...
... it gets you off to a halting start.

Then you continued with this general statement:
...most Canadians enjoyed prosperity and happiness,

especially those people native to Canada.

That starts my thought process in a weird way; I wonder why you are writing about the years after the war, Canadians vs native Canadians... You continue to explain, and I discover that the you are explaining the change that took place for the aboriginals. It makes me think, "Hey, she could have said all this in a single sentence."

So, looking at your essay makes me think of 3 ideas for improving fluidity:

1. Say as much as possible in as few words as possible (like orange juice from Concentrate)
2. Capture the essence of each paragraph in its topic sentence.
3. Write with rhythm, like a rapper.

:-)


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