Indians in the United States and Canada: A Comparative History

By Roger L. Nichols | Go to book overview

Conclusion

by the 1990s, after nearly five centuries of facing the Europeans, native peoples in the United States and Canada share many concerns and experiences. They have passed through the stages set out earlier in this text, moving downward from independence to equality, dependency, and marginality before emerging with renewed cultural strength and political awareness. Although the details and timing of the changes differed in the two nations, the general pattern held with only modest variations. Indians in the United States and First Nations people in Canada now have many of the same objectives. Increasingly they demand self-determination, tribal sovereignty, and near independence, and they are moving toward some of those goals, if only slowly. In addition, they have become increasingly aware of the actions of other native peoples in both countries as the century comes to a close.

Meanwhile, both the U.S. and Canadian governments and societies continue to deal with Indian-related issues with considerable hesitation. For example, during the past century south of the border the federal government has conducted many studies of the tribal situation. Still, only modest and incremental changes have resulted. The same thing continues to occur in Canada. There, as recently as 21 November 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples presented its four-thousand-page report, some five years in the making, to Parliament. It called for fundamental changes in policies and their implementation in dealing with the native peoples. If the legislators fail to heed its recommen

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