1. Throughout this text we use the term “Indian” to refer specifically to the legal classification of First Nations people within the terms of the Indian Act and subsequent legislation. Here in particular we want to address the common misunderstanding that the term refers to all peoples of First Nations heritage. Under Canadian law the term “Indian” refers to a specific group of legally defined individuals to whom certain rights and obligations are attributed (see Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs 2007 as well as the various incarnations of the Indian Act). Individuals could also have their status as Indians removed, either voluntarily or involuntarily by means of the legal act of enfranchisement. As such not all individuals of Aboriginal origin or members of the First Nations held or hold this status under Canadian law. Within more generalized discourses the term has come to signify a racial distinction and is seen by some as an offensive term. As Valverde (2003: 193) points out, the common misuse of the term as merely a description of an individual of First Nations heritage has led to the development of a dual social/legal construction that often puts systems of classifying and knowing “Indians” into conflict, and has led to much confusion concerning this social group. In our text we use this historically unavoidable term not as an adoption of the offensive language of the past, but as a matter of addressing an important legal distinction within British and Canadian law, and as a means of stressing the cultural impact of this differential classification within Canadian society.
2. See LCBO Circular no. 526, 1928, no. 1292, 1931, no. 1729, 1935, no. 1923, 1937, no. 1936, 1937, no. 2073, 1939, no. 3591, 1945, no. 4804, 1954; LCBO Instructions to Vendors 1927: 2; LCBO Instructions to Vendors LCBO Form 85 1927; LCBO Manual 1951: 22.
3. Enfranchisement refers to the loss (voluntary or involuntary) of Indian legal status; first directed at men (but including women and children), it contained “monetary inducements” (money distributed by the band, and land, with restrictions), in exchange for the rights of non-Indians. Initially enfranchisement had to be applied for, and to be successful applicants seeking the removal of their Indian legal status were required to be “able to speak readily either the English or French language, of sober and industrious habits, free from debt and sufficiently intelligent” (Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indians 1857 c.26 s.4). Due to an overwhelming lack of interest (only one person in the first nineteen years), enfranchisement soon became mandatory for an increasing number of reasons; including marriage (An Act for the Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians, the Better Management of Indian Affairs, and to Extend the Provisions of the Act 31st Victoria, Chapter 42 1869 c.6 s.6), education (Indian Act 1876 c.18 s.86), birth out of wedlock (Indian Act 1876 c.18 s.3a), leaving the reserve for a period of more than five years (Indian Act 1876 c.18 s.3b), and living outside of the reserve (Indian Act 1918 s.6(122a)1). Specifically, government enfranchisement policy sought to eliminate Indian populations by encouraging “the progress of civilization among the Indian Tribes in this Province and the gradual removal of all legal distinctions between them and Her Majesty’s other Canadian subjects” (Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indians 1857 c.26 preamble). In this way many First Nations peoples lost their legal status as “Indians,” while those maintaining their status were pressed into government “civilization” programs of agricultural production and residential schools.Between 1857 and 1876 only one man chose to become enfranchised, while over the next forty-five years only about a hundred individuals were enfranchised across the country (Campbell 2008). In 1920 the government added stipulations to the Indian Act that would force involuntary enfranchisement in certain instances such as the achievement of post-secondary education, travel, or marriage (see Johnston 1993: 355–56, 361–63; Dickason 2002: 308). As Denis (2002: 113) explains, enfranchisement legislation forced the First Nations peoples to choose between a “devalued but meaningful Indian status” and the abandonment of “indigenous identities as the price of acquiring Canadian citizenship” (cited in Campbell 2008: 120). Over the years many “notorious” and “discriminatory” provisions were enacted, especially regarding First Nations women and children, and in 1985 some of these conditions were redressed (Imai 1998: 27–28). “Citizenship through assimilation” was also the Australian way enacted through the Native Citizenship Rights Act (1944); the passport-like exemption papers (entailing exemption from treatment as a non-citizen) that denied Aboriginals their indigeneity were dubbed “dog tags or licences” (Murphy 2000; Langford 1988; Horton 1994: 298–99; Milroy 1989). Many conditions and constraints were applied (Identification and Registration of Indian and Inuit People 1993).
4. In 1945, eighteen years after the reliance upon enfranchisement cards was established, the Board decided that the people in question could alternatively seek out official notification from Indian Affairs, on “official note-paper of the Department,” that they were not legally Indians (LCBO Circular no. 3591, 1945).
5. A separate regression was run to determine the significance of this relationship (p =
6. However, the board was quickly forced to lengthen store hours due to social unrest caused
by “working men who came hot from their benches ‘to get some good beer’” and were
upset at being “turned away.” “They Line Up Quickly to Get Their Liquor Once Stores Are
Open,” Globe, 2 June 1927, 1.
7. A separate regression was run to determine that this difference was significant (p =
8. Under Canadian law, the term “Indian” refers to a specific group of legally defined individuals
to whom certain rights and obligations are attributed to (see British/Canadian Treaties;
Indian Act). In addition to this applied legal classification individuals could have their
status as “Indians” removed either voluntarily or involuntarily by means of the legal act
of enfranchisement. As such, not all individuals of Aboriginal origin or members of the
First Nations held or hold this status under the law. Within more generalized discourses
the term has come to signify a racial distinction and is seen by some as an offensive term.
As Valverde (2003, 193) points out, this dual social/legal construction often puts systems
of classifying and knowing “Indians” into conflict, and has lead to much confusion concerning
this social group. The use of the term “Indian” within this text is due to the importance
of this legal classificatory history within our work, and acts to distinguish those who
trace their origins to the First Nations of Canada and those defined as “Indians” under
Canadian and British law.
9. This is a racist construction that was held by many throughout Canadian history and
eventually incorporated into culture and law. See Valverde (2003, 193-222); and Heron