- Briefly describe one model village, developed with the aim of assimilating the First Peoples. Outline the challenges associated with its establishment.
Answer: Credit River was established by Peter Jones, but the fact that he was Methodist instead of Anglican hindered its success. The people did not want to switch, and the British saw that denomination as too American and thus linked to republican ideals. The government refused the band’s application for a deed. William Case ran into similar issues trying to establish a village on Grape Island in 1827. He ran the village like an army camp, and in 1836 it was moved to a more suitable location on Rice Lake.
Indigenous Peoples saw these initiatives as an opportunity for education, but the government saw such as a tool for assimilation.
Other examples include Coldwater and the Narrows near Orillia.
- Discuss the general land policies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in regard to Indigenous Peoples.
Answer: In Nova Scotia, the government recognized no territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples. Aside from the right to hunt and fish, the Mi’kmaq had to apply for land grants the same as everyone else. When they were granted licenses of occupation, the locations were not suitable, and none were near their traditional hunting grounds around Halifax. Instead of being set aside for specific bands, reserved lands were for all Indigenous Peoples in the province; they were also continually invaded by non-Indigenous squatters. In 1859, the government enacted legislation that allowed established squatters to pay for the land they had taken, but few paid anything, and none paid in full. By 1866, the government determined that the boundaries of reserves were not to be disputed and there was a total of 20, 730 acres of land set aside for 637 families. However, few Mi’kmaq were farmers and they also objected to the individual leaseholds over that of their customary common land holding system. Despite special legislation to protect reserve lands drafted in 1844, the only thing that had saved First Nations from losing all their land in New Brunswick was that much of it was unsuitable for agriculture.
- Who was Sir Francis Bond Head and what was his position regarding assimilation strategies?
Answer: Sir Francis Bond Head was the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada from 1836 to 1838. In his opinion, it was not likely that hunters would become farmers. He also believed that model villages created more vices. His belief was that the best solution was to remove Indigenous Peoples from all contact and communication with White people. To that end, he identified Manitoulin Island as a suitable refuge where Indigenous Peoples could be “totally separated” from non-Indigenous peoples. He convinced some Ojibwe leaders to move their people and to sign over the islands in the Manitoulin chain in exchange for a promise that the government would protect the region as Indigenous territory.