British Destruction of Culture and Identity in Early Canada

May 3rd, 2004

From the time that the British ruled Canada from 1774-1867, it is true that the Aboriginal culture were more neglected and destroyed by the British. The French always found fair ground with the Aboriginal people, but the British always doubted them, and almost demolished them from the history and culture of Canada today.

At the time of British rule in Canada, there were a dramatically shorter number of Aboriginal people in Canada, so the British Parliament in 1830 investigated the situation. The British also had the belief that the Aboriginal peoples should have one of the following choices: Be removed from the Dominion of Canada, isolated in reserves, or assimilate with the growing British culture.

The man in power at the time, Charles Grant (Colonial Secretary) said that the goal in this choice for the Aboriginals was “to protect and cherish the helpless Race…[and] raise them in the Scale of Humanity.” This can be seems as a big problem today, we can look back and think of this as a racial discrimination issue. It seems as if Mr. Grant is thinking that the British people, and culture were better then the unique people and culture of the Aboriginals.

The plan from Charles Grant and the British rule at the time was called the “Crown Lands Protection Act.” This act that was passed in 1839 stated that all Aboriginal lands were now government owned. This law was supposed to protect the Aboriginals but in the end the British ruled the lands and could do whatever they felt like doing to them. Even more dreadful was that instead of helping the Aboriginal culture in Canada; the British were succeeding to destroy it.

The peaceful fight between the Aboriginals and the British Government in the Dominion of Canada escalated so far that each colony in Canada could do what they felt was best for the Aboriginals. The Atlantic colonies the Aboriginals were isolated, and in the Upper and Lower regions of Canada, they worked on trying to assimilate.

In the year of 1829, the downfall began for the Aboriginal culture in Canada. In Newfoundland almost all Aboriginals had died, in New Brunswick there were fewer than 1,000 aboriginal people living, in Nova Scotia there was no land to sell to the Aboriginals for they were among the poorest peoples ultimately forcing them out of the colony.

Finally in 1841 the Aborigines decided to take the matter into their own hands and appealed directly to Queen Victoria in Britain, but expectedly, colonial authorities including the Queen ignored the pleas.

By 1842 the only Aboriginals to be found were in Upper and Lower Canada where there was a total of 18,000 Aboriginals peoples. A giant step was taken by Upper and Lower Canada to create reserves to let the Aboriginals have a chance to a decent chance of their culture surviving. The Aboriginal people were taught boundaries to the rules, agricultural methods to survive without the help of the British Government in Canada.

From the time of the British rule, we can see how much they wanted to demolish the “savage” culture of the Aboriginals peoples in their Dominion of Canada. You could say that the British at the time were a racist culture, wanting everyone to assimilate with them, and not vice-versa. We saw the same type of behavior from the British in their conquest of India over the Indians and the Portuguese.

By the evidence presented above, the French were the colonial culture that didn’t try to deliberately destroy the Aboriginal culture and people. The regions of Upper and Lower Canada were predominantly French, and their regions were the only ones by the end of the British Rule to have saved what was left of the Aboriginal Culture in Canada.

Also, when the French were in power in Canada, the Aboriginals were treated as people, and not savages, therefore the equality factor helped the Aboriginals to assimilate in aspects with the French.

When the French were at war with the British in the battle for Acadia, the French felt the tortures of losing ones sense of ownership and rights, and for that reason they were able