Defending Indigenous Rights against the Just Society
From: 1968 in Canada
This chapter traces the historical importance of, and interrelations between, developments in federal “Indian policy” and investments in fossil fuel extraction, and Indigenous activism and organizations, as they emerged in 1968. Part of this importance concerns the lead-up to the disastrous Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, 1969, aka “the White Paper,” and its contemporary repercussions. On the federal side, special attention is given to P. E. Trudeau’s controversial administrative changes reflecting his ultimately contradictory approach to Indian Affairs, which led to tensions within the “Indian portfolio” between Jean Chrétien and Robert Andras and to frustrations experienced by an important but largely overlooked bureaucrat named John A. MacDonald. On the Indigenous side, Kahn-Tineta Horn is centred as an important independent actor, alongside major organization-affiliated figures such as George Manuel and Harold Cardinal, each of whom had their own nuanced and brilliant, but widely misunderstood, relationship to federal policy.
Andrew Gemmell is completing his PhD at Carleton University in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, with a specialization in the Institute of Political Economy. He studied philosophy at the New School for Social Research, Graduate Faculty, as well as religious and cultural studies and philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University. His current work is a discursive treatment of the Crown in Canada.