The Indian Act of 1876 was designed to consolidate existing laws regarding the Native peoples of Canada. Although heavily amended, the Indian Act remains in place to this day. Indian people were not considered residents of Canada, but rather wards of the state.
The Act of 1876 further defined the terms "Indian," "band," "reserve," and other words that
had been employed in previous legislation concerning Aboriginal peoples. It was designed to eliminate Aboriginal culture, and assimilate Indians into settler-Canadian society.
The local band council was ostensibly responsible for the maintenance of public health and facilities such as roads and schools, but the local Indian agent actually controlled the funds necessary for the implementation of such programs. The goal of the Indian Act of 1876 was the assimilation of Natives, and the legislation sought to educate Natives in Canadian economic and democratic processes while retaining tight governmental control of finances and other meaningful aspects of Native lives.
Aboriginal peoples resisted the assimilative aspects of the Act, while often effectively using the legislation to enhance the means of livelihood dictated by changing circumstances.
High School Resources
Junior High School Resources
Elementary School Resources