The Peasant Farming policy was based on the belief that Aboriginal farmers should first l earn how to farm through elementary methods of peasant farmers of other countries. The rationale was that Aboriginal farmers should be taught to cultivate land using simple implements on small plots of land. In combination with the "Severalty policy," which reduced the number of acres that a First Nations farmer could put into production, peasant farming severely limited output primarily to subsistence levels. - Agriculture: The Relationship Between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Farmers
Near the end of the 1800s, several developments changed the lives of the Cree, Assiniboine and other people of the Prairies. These included the decline of the buffalo, the establishment of treaties and reserves, and the building of the railway to open the land to immigrant farmers.
Both Church and government encouraged Aboriginal people of the Prairies to become farmers. They achieved some success in the 1880s. But in 1889, the Peasant Farm Policy was implemented, effectively reducing what Aboriginal farmers' could earn. By the time the government abandoned this policy in 1897, it had seriously damaged Aboriginal farming. Aboriginal farmers never recovered.
Today, Aboriginal people of the region continue to suffer poverty and unemployment. To provide jobs and income, some First Nations have opened casinos. - HistoryMuseum.ca
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