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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social welfare aspects and implications of the Indian act Holmes, Alvin Ishmael

Abstract

Because the Indian Act is central to any discussion of Indian Affairs in Canada, it forms the focus of this study. This is not intended to be a study of law or jurisprudence. It reviews the welfare implications of the Indian Act in as orderly a sequence as possible, and applies social welfare concepts to the Canadian Indian, which are not yet customarily applied when his status is being evaluated. To do this, it is necessary not only to review the present Indian Act, but the original Indian Act, and appropriate reports, surveys and studies of Indian affairs from 1875 to the present. Its primary focus, however, is on the Indian today who is looking to full citizenship as never before. After an examination of the general background, the method is to evaluate the property rights and citizenship rights of Indians. An understanding of these rights is basic to any study of Indian affairs. Social assistance and child welfare are also perused and compared with existing standards of welfare. Chapter III deals with three fundamental social services: education, health and housing. The results indicate continuing evidence of what is, in effect, second-class citizenship for the Canadian Indian. In several areas, typical services and treatment are below those afforded most other Canadians. Some guides to a new approach are indicated, aimed at stimulating underdeveloped skills, and enlarging opportunities, which will enable Indians to attain equality with their fellow Canadians.

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