Allies or subjects? Shifting Canada-indigenous political relations from Treaty Six to the Electoral Franchise Act




Hazelbower, Joshua

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This thesis considers the differences in the political relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples as established in Treaty Six (1876) by Alexander Morris and that of the Indian Act (1876) as driven by David Laird and Electoral Franchise Act (1885) by John A. Macdonald. Through using historical and contemporary sources related to Treaty Six, and House of Commons debates related to the two Acts, this thesis argues that the relationship as established in Canadian policy and conceived of by Canadian politicians of Treaty Six was akin to a “nation-to-nation” relationship, and that the Indian Act and Electoral Franchise Act represent a turning away from this toward a less equitable relationship that placed Canada above Indigenous polities. This thesis also shows that within the Canadian political mainstream there was considerable dissent to this turning away from more equitable relationships, as shown by the continued opposition by politicians less well-known today such as William Paterson.



Indigenous, Canada, Treaty, Indian Act, Enfranchisement, Electoral Franchise Act, Canada-Indigenous Relations