Agriculture was chosen as the path for First Nations to follow towards “civilization”. Hayter Reed, Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs from 1893 – 1897 stated “agriculture was the great panacea of what was perceived to be the ills of Canada’s Indians” This is despite the fact that many reserves were located in areas that were unsuitable for agriculture. Government agencies later used the low success rate of First Nation farmers as reason to reduce the size of reserves.
In Saskatchewan in particular, some of the First Nation farmers were very successful and grew crops and produce, as good or better, than that produced by the settlers.
The unexpected farming success quickly became a problem and new policies were developed to protect the market share for the settlers. An Act to Amend "The Indian Act, 1880,"prohibited the sale of agricultural products grown on reserves in the Territories, Manitoba or the District of Keewatin, except in accordance with government regulations. In other words, First Nation farmers had to have a permit to sell cattle, grain, a load of hay, or produce; additionally, they required a permit to buy groceries and clothes. To solidify the effectiveness of the permit system, settlers were prohibited from purchasing goods and services from First Nation farmers.
This section of the Indian Act was repealed in 2014. Indigenous Corporate Training Inc
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Corn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians
Grade Level: K-4