The Indigenous Population of the Canadian Prairies: Survival Tactics during Early Globalization

By Tony Ward.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 18, 2014 $US5.00

Colonialism expanded rapidly during the first phase of globalization, pushing aboriginal peoples aside. This paper examines the property rights to land, both historical and current, of the aboriginal peoples of the Canadian prairies. Forced onto reserves, the aboriginals lost not only their previous livelihood, but all direct property rights to land. Reserves became federal government property, held in trust. Each tribe has a specific area of land, but individuals have no exclusive rights. The colonialist approach - assimilate or annihilate - has led to an obstruction of the development of appropriate institutions. The paper examines the impact of those mis-specified property rights. Farming, which supported the immigrant economy, largely failed on reserves. This major historical problem persists, and this paper examines the issue in the light of recent thought on property rights and land reform. The paradox for aboriginals is that dividing reserves into individual lots might well result in land passing into the hands of non-aboriginals, further endangering aboriginal culture. The problems faced by Canada’s aboriginals are similar to those in many other parts of the world that experienced colonialism. In almost all examples, colonialists expropriated the aboriginals’ land and tried to drive them to extinction.

Keywords: Society and Culture, Colonialism, Indigenous Peoples, Property Rights, Institutions

Global Studies Journal, Volume 6, Issue 4, August 2014, pp.11-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 18, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 844.843KB)).

Dr. Tony Ward

Professor, Economics, Tourism, and Environment, Brock University, St.Catharines, Ontario, Canada


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