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21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality

by Bob Joseph

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
336778,889 (4.4)13
History. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Since its creation in 1876, the Indian Act has dictated and constrained the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples, and is at the root of many enduring stereotypes. Bob Joseph's book comes at a key time in the reconciliation process, when awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is at a crescendo. Joseph examines how Indigenous Peoples can return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance—and why doing so would result in a better country for every Canadian. He dissects the complex issues around the Indian Act, and demonstrates why learning about its cruel and irrevocable legacy is vital for the country to move toward true reconciliation.

* * * * * * *
Bob Joseph, founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., has provided training on Indigenous relations since 1994. As a certified Master Trainer, Bob has assisted both individuals and organizations in building Indigenous relations. His Canadian clients include all levels of government, Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, including the World Bank, small and medium-sized corporate enterprises, and Indigenous Peoples. He has worked internationally for clients in the United States, Guatemala, Peru, and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Bob Joseph is an Indigenous person, or more specifically a status Indian, and is a member of the Gwawaenuk Nation. The Gwawaenuk is one of the many Kwakwaka'wakw tribes located between Comox and Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland of British Columbia. He comes from a proud potlatch family and is an initiated member of the Hamatsa Society. As the son of a hereditary chief, he will one day, in accordance with strict cultural laws, become a hereditary chief.

* * * * * * *
Advance praise:
"I have a deep hope for Canada that there can be reconciliation. I want every Canadian to imagine a Canada in which every person will live with dignity, value, and purpose. But to do that, there must be reflection on our shared history and the harmful periods and events that continue to haunt us as a nation. Understanding the Indian Act is fundamental to understanding why those harmful periods and events took place. Bob Joseph's book is an invaluable tool for Canadians who want to understand the past in order to contribute to reconciliation in our country."
—Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., Ambassador, Reconciliation Canada

"From declaring cultural ceremonies illegal, to prohibiting pool hall owners from granting Indigenous Peoples entrance, from forbidding the speaking of Indigenous languages, to the devastating policy that created residential schools, Bob Joseph reveals the hold this paternalistic act, with its roots in the 1800s, still has on the lives of Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the twenty-first century. This straightforward book is an invaluable resource. There is much for non-Indigenous people to learn and to do. But equally important, there is much to unlearn and to undo. The time is right for this book. Thank you, Bob Joseph. Gilakas'la."
—Shelagh Rogers, O.C., Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

"Increasing Canadians' knowledge about the terrible foundation this country has been built on is a critical part of reconciliation. Bob Joseph has highlighted some of the unbelievable provisions of the Indian Act and how they have impacted First Nations in Canada, and gives a brief overview of what we may replace it with going forward. His book provides helpful context to the dialogue that needs to take place in Canada."
—Kim Baird, O.C., O.B.C.; Owner, Kim Baird Strategic Consulting; Member of the Tsawwassen First Nation

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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
MA book purchased in Calgary at Chapters
  CarMich | May 19, 2024 |
Very approachable introduction to The Indian Act. ( )
  matsuko | Aug 17, 2023 |
Personally, I didn't learn much about the Indian Act that I didn't already know. Which isn't a bad thing...there should be more Canadians who understand the extent of Colonialism, as well as its ongoing effects. The examples and explanations of various Indian Act provisions is well written and an excellent reference.

The parts of the book I gained the most from dealt with challenges in dismantling the Indian Act. I also got a better understanding of why some First Nations are leery of doing so. I enjoyed the chronology of residential schools and finally read the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

A very important book! ( )
  LynnB | Jan 19, 2022 |
***WHO SUCKED ME IN***
Kayla from BooksandLala on YouTube in their Reading Booktubers' Favourite 2020 Books video published on 31 jan. 2021

It sounds like it would also be good for people like me, European and without a word in their own language that isn't outdated that describes people whose ancestors were fucked over and whose descenders still are.
  Jonesy_now | Sep 24, 2021 |
This small book is an important read for descendants of settlers in Canada. It explains the history of cultural conflict where one culture believes itself to be superior to the other, is determined to eradicate any trace of the other culture, and in fact, in many cases eradicate not just the culture, but the people themselves.

I read this book in a discussion group and I would recommend others do the same. It leads to some passionate discussion, self-revelation and understanding of present inequities and injustices. ( )
  mjperry | May 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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When the present does not recognize the wrongs of the past, the future takes its revenge. For that reason, we must never, never turn away from the opportunity of confronting history together -- the opportunity to right a historical wrong. -- Governor Genera Michaelle Jean at relaunch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, October 2009
It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habituating so closely in the residential schools and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of the Department, which is geared towards a final solution of our Indian Problem. -- Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1910
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To Canada and reconciliation
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As a blogger and trainer on Indigenous topics, in 2015 I decided to write an article about the Indian Act.
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History. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Since its creation in 1876, the Indian Act has dictated and constrained the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples, and is at the root of many enduring stereotypes. Bob Joseph's book comes at a key time in the reconciliation process, when awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is at a crescendo. Joseph examines how Indigenous Peoples can return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance—and why doing so would result in a better country for every Canadian. He dissects the complex issues around the Indian Act, and demonstrates why learning about its cruel and irrevocable legacy is vital for the country to move toward true reconciliation.

* * * * * * *
Bob Joseph, founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., has provided training on Indigenous relations since 1994. As a certified Master Trainer, Bob has assisted both individuals and organizations in building Indigenous relations. His Canadian clients include all levels of government, Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, including the World Bank, small and medium-sized corporate enterprises, and Indigenous Peoples. He has worked internationally for clients in the United States, Guatemala, Peru, and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Bob Joseph is an Indigenous person, or more specifically a status Indian, and is a member of the Gwawaenuk Nation. The Gwawaenuk is one of the many Kwakwaka'wakw tribes located between Comox and Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland of British Columbia. He comes from a proud potlatch family and is an initiated member of the Hamatsa Society. As the son of a hereditary chief, he will one day, in accordance with strict cultural laws, become a hereditary chief.

* * * * * * *
Advance praise:
"I have a deep hope for Canada that there can be reconciliation. I want every Canadian to imagine a Canada in which every person will live with dignity, value, and purpose. But to do that, there must be reflection on our shared history and the harmful periods and events that continue to haunt us as a nation. Understanding the Indian Act is fundamental to understanding why those harmful periods and events took place. Bob Joseph's book is an invaluable tool for Canadians who want to understand the past in order to contribute to reconciliation in our country."
—Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., Ambassador, Reconciliation Canada

"From declaring cultural ceremonies illegal, to prohibiting pool hall owners from granting Indigenous Peoples entrance, from forbidding the speaking of Indigenous languages, to the devastating policy that created residential schools, Bob Joseph reveals the hold this paternalistic act, with its roots in the 1800s, still has on the lives of Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the twenty-first century. This straightforward book is an invaluable resource. There is much for non-Indigenous people to learn and to do. But equally important, there is much to unlearn and to undo. The time is right for this book. Thank you, Bob Joseph. Gilakas'la."
—Shelagh Rogers, O.C., Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

"Increasing Canadians' knowledge about the terrible foundation this country has been built on is a critical part of reconciliation. Bob Joseph has highlighted some of the unbelievable provisions of the Indian Act and how they have impacted First Nations in Canada, and gives a brief overview of what we may replace it with going forward. His book provides helpful context to the dialogue that needs to take place in Canada."
—Kim Baird, O.C., O.B.C.; Owner, Kim Baird Strategic Consulting; Member of the Tsawwassen First Nation

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