The native population (First Nations, Inuit, Métis), estimated at more than one million and a half people (5% of the population of Canada), has been the subject of various forms of apartheid during both the colonial period and after the independence. The Indian residential schools are the most striking example of apartheid developed in the Canadian colonies from the United Kingdom and after 1931 directly from the Federal government to assimilate the native population to the dominant culture.

On May 10, 2006 the Canadian Government announced the approval of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, whose implementation began on September 19, 2007  providing reparations and welfare services to the victims, the activation of a Truth and Reconciliation commission, a program of commemorations and reconciliation initiatives.

One June 11, 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper then apologized on behalf of the Government to the native population for the role of Canada in the system of the Indian residential schools. Despite the apologies offered by the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the average reparations to former students still alive was limited to about $20,000, the achievement of this settlement has resulted in the impossibility to act in court in cases of physical or sexual assault and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made reference to court to obtain all the documents possessed by the Federal government.

During 2012, the federal government then renewed the attack on the rights of the natives with Bill C-38, that was approved by the Canadian Parliament on June 29, 2012, and with the Bill C-45, that was approved by the Canadian Parliament on December 14, 2012 which, in open violation of the treaties, facilitate the appropriation of the reserves’ lands for the exploitation of the heavy oil resources with disastrous consequences from the environmental point of view.

For further information:

The Residential School System

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