Assimilation is defined as "The process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture" . The Canadian Government claimed that "the motivation for the assimilation of the immigrants and native was that it would help those groups lead better lives," I feel that this idea is false. Forcing the Canadian Culture on natives is morally wrong. Pushing these groups to adapt this new culture, made them frustrated and unhappy. In this position paper, I will prove that the Canadian Government did not help these new groups of people lead better lives, but lead natives to lives, where they fought for ways to preserve their culture.
Starting in 1876, one of the first cases where the Government tried to provide a better life for the aboriginals and failed was in creating The Indian Act. This act of assimilation denied "status Indians", the right to vote and practice traditional religious ceremonies. The Government claimed this act was created to protect the aboriginals. This act forced the natives to adapt the English-Canadians language and culture. Producing the Indian Act, made the aboriginals angry, they were denied the right to their own culture, this caused problems that have lasted for centuries. .
The schooling system in Canada starting in the late 1800s and 1900s when many immigrants were coming into Canada, was used as an assimilation tool. Residential Schools were set up and run by churches. An amendment in the Indian Act in 1920, made it mandatory for the "status Indian" children to attend these schools. Many aboriginal children were forced away from their homes, families included and sent to schools were they were forbidden to use their own language, they had to dress in a new style of clothing and they had to abandon their spiritual beliefs. This created great conflicts in the lives of the children, how were they to know what was right or wrong anymore.