Indigenous Foundations Information Resource

I. Indigenous Foundations (website) is an excellent and fairly comprehensive introductory "information resource on key topics relating to the histories, politics, and cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada."

  • "This website was developed to support students in their studies, and to provide instructors, researchers and the broader public with a place to begin exploring topics that relate to Aboriginal peoples, cultures, and histories."
  • "Indigenous Foundations was developed by the First Nations Studies Program at the University of British Columbia, located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people."
  • Most of these resources can be printed or saved as PDF.

II. The General Subjects/Sections

III. The Specific Topics

The site currently (as of January 2018) provides information on the following topics:

A. Identity

1. Terminology

  • So, Which Terms Do I Use?, Why Does Terminology Matter?, Aboriginal, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Indian, Indigenous, Native (Is It Okay to Say Native?), Peoples, To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize

2. Aboriginal Identity & the Classroom

  • Introduction, The Role of the Indian Act, Why Not Terminate the Indian Act or Indian Status?, Community and Aboriginal Identity, 'Looking Aboriginal': Race and Aboriginal Identity, The Relationship between Assimilation and Western Education, Identity and the Classroom, Works Cited & Recommended Readings

3. Aboriginal Identity & Terminology

  • Introduction; Terminology; 'Aboriginal'; Inuit & Métis Identity; 'Indian,' Status, and the Indian Act’s Role in Defining Identity; 'First Nations' as a Term; 'Indigenous'; Shifting Usage of Terms; Conclusion 

B. Land & Rights

1. Basic Terminology

a. "Aboriginal Rights are collective rights which flow from Aboriginal peoples’ continued use and occupation of certain areas. They are inherent rights which Aboriginal peoples have practiced and enjoyed since before European contact."

  • What Are Aboriginal Rights?, A History of Aboriginal Rights and the Crown, Generic/Specific Rights (sidebar), How the Court System Is Addressing Aboriginal Rights, Aboriginal Rights as Inherent, Aboriginal Perspectives on Government-Defined Aboriginal Rights, Discussion Questions & Topics to Consider, Recommended Resources

b. "Aboriginal Title refers to the inherent Aboriginal right to land or a territory.Aboriginal rights are inherently tied to the land and their access to it– this is why title is frequently mentioned separately."

  • What is 'Title'?, A History of the Crown & Aboriginal Title, Important Decisions Regarding Aboriginal Title (sidebar), Aboriginal Title in British Columbia, Aboriginal Understandings of Title, What Does Aboriginal Title Mean for Private Property Interests?, Recommended Resources

2. Precedent-Setting Court Cases (scroll down for brief synopses)

3. Aboriginal Fisheries in British Columbia

  • Introduction; Fishing Since Time Immemorial; Coast Salish Harvesting Methods; The Introduction of Canneries and a Wage-Based Economy; The Creation of an Aboriginal 'Food Fishery'; Aboriginal Fisheries in the Courts: Sparrow, Van der Peet, and Other Legal Challenges; Not a 'Race-Based' Fishery; Bibliography & Recommended Resources for Further Research

4. Musqueam Legal History Digital Library

  • Guerin, Sparrow, Lease Lands, University Lands

5. Mapping Tool: Kitsilano Reserve

C. Government Policy

1. The Indian Act

a. Introduction

  • The Origins of the Indian Act: A History of Oppression and Resistance, The 'Potlatch Law' & Section 141, 1951 Amendments, The White Paper, Bill C-31 and Gender Discrimination, So Why Don't We Just Abolish the Indian Act?, Recommended Resources

b. Bands 

  • What is a Band?, Structure, Membership, Recommended Reading

c. Indian Status

  • What Is Indian Status?, Who Can Have Indian Status?, Losing Indian Status (Enfranchisement), Passing Along Indian Status, Non-Status Indians, Why Keep Indian Status?, Recommended Resources

d. Bill C-31 

  • What Is Bill C-31?, Indian Status - Gender Discrimination, Band Membership, Recommended Reading

e. Enfranchisement

2. Reserves

  • Indian Reserves; What Are Indian Reserve?; Creation of the Reserve System; Reserves and Traditional Territory; Reserve Reduction in British Columbia; Impacts of the Reserve System; Challenges Facing Reserve Communities Today; A Cultural, Spiritual, and Physical Homeland; Recommended Resources

3. Royal Proclamation, 1763

  • What Is the Royal Proclamation?, Is the Royal Proclamation Still Valid?, What Does the Royal Proclamation Say?, Recommended Resources & Further Reading

4. The Residential School System

  • Residential Schools, What Was the Indian Residential School System?, What Led to the Residential Schools?, Living Conditions at the Residential Schools, The Shift Away From the Residential School System, Long-Term Impacts, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (sidebar), Official Government Apology, Recommended Resources (Books & Articles, Websites, Apologies, Reconciliation & Healing Initiatives)

5. Sixties Scoop

  • The Sixties Scoop & Aboriginal Child Welfare, An Epidemic of Aboriginal Child Apprehension, Impacts of the Sixties Scoop, The Shift in Child Welfare Policy, What Is the Situation Today?, Recommended Resources

6. The White Paper 1969

  • What Is a White Paper? (sidebar), What Led to the White Paper?, Responses to the White Paper, Recommended Resources

7. Constitution Act, 1982 Section 35

  • What Is Section 35 of the Constitution Act?, The Fight for Section 35, Debates Surrounding the Value of Section 35, Recommended Resources for Further Reading

D. Community & Politics

1. Political Organizations

2. Direct Actions

  • The Constitution Express - What Was the Patriation, and Why Were First Nations Opposed to It?; The Constitution Express from Vancouver to Ottawa, New York, and London; The Outcome of the Constitution Express - Section 35 Is Added; Recommended Resources
  •  The Gustafsen Lake Standoff - Overview of the Gustafsen Lake Stand-off, The Conflict, Escalating Violence, The September 'Firefights,' The End of the Stand-off, Misinformation & Smear Campaign, Aftermath, Recommended Resources

3. Métis

  • Métis Identity, The Red River Métis, Scrip, Métis Settlements, Métis Rights and Contemporary Métis Issues, R v Powley, Recommended Resources

4. Political Figures

5. Marginalization of Aboriginal Women

  • A Brief History of the Marginalization of Aboriginal Women in Canada, Aboriginal Women's Traditional Roles & Power, Settler Mischaracterization of Aboriginal Women's Roles, Sexual Policing of Aboriginal Women & Constructing Deviance, Indian Act Gendered Discrimination, Targeting Kinship & Family Systems Under the Indian Act, Geographical Impacts of the Indian Act for Women, Exclusion of Women in Politics, Conclusion, Recommended Resources for Further Reading

E. Culture

1. Artistic Expressions

  • Artist Profiles

  • Artwork

  • Biography: Providing background information on the artist

  • Artist Statement: Providing background on the artwork itself and the artist’s overall practice 

  • A series of questions answered by the artist to provide context on what has informed their work

2. Oral Traditions

  • Introduction, First Nations as Oral Societies, Oral History and Oral Tradition, Recording Oral Narratives, Aboriginal Oral Histories Within a Legal Context, Recommended Resources

3. Languages

  • In development

4. Totem Poles

  • What Are Totem Poles?, Pole Types, Carving a Pole, Cultural Styles, Socio-cultural Importance of Totem Poles, Recommended Resources

5. Cedar

  • Biology of Cedar, Harvesting, Uses of Cedar, Cedar and Spirituality, Recommended Resources

F. Global Indigenous Issues

1. Global Actions

  • What Do We Mean by Indigenous?, Collective Rights and Individual Rights, A History of Global Indigenous Organizations, Chief Deskaheh (sidebar), Organizing at the United Nations, Recommended Resources

2. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

  • What is the UNDRIP?; Drafting the UNDRIP; The Non-Signatories: Australia, Canada, New Zeland, and the United States; Canada's Response to the UNDRIP; Recommended Resources

3. ILO Convention 107

  • What Is the International Labour Organization Convention 107 (1957)?, Development of of ILO Convention 107, Links & Recommended Resources

4. ILO Convention 169

  • What Is the International Labour Organization Convention 169 (1989)?, Development of ILO Convention 169, Current Role of the Convention, Recommended Resources