Sociology Index

Native Indians

Visible Minorities, Charter Groups

Native Indians is a racial formation in Canada and in The Canadian Indian (1971), Palmer Patterson divides the history of relations between Canadian Indians and Europeans into four phases. The initial contact between Native peoples and Europeans, leading to a period of prosperity as the two groups exchanged technology and goods. From the seventeenth to the eighteenth century, Indians were increasingly drawn into the economy of white people as they became more involved in fur trading, and less reliant on their traditional livelihood, resulting in a weakening of political autonomy.

The creation of reserves for Native peoples in order to clear the way for the agricultural settlements of whites. With the passage of the Indian Act in 1876, the colonial status of Native peoples was legally confirmed, because the act placed Indians under the legislative and administrative control of the federal government. The period after World War II, as more Native peoples became aware of their plight and demanded control of their future.

From the 1870s until 1921, eleven numbered treaties were signed between Native Indians and various provincial and territorial jurisdictions. In Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (2004), James Frideres notes that the success rate of Native claims has been low.