The Image of the Indian: The Canadian Indian as a Subject and a Concept in a Sampling of the Popular National Magazines Read in Canada, 1900-1970

By Ronald Graham Haycock | Go to book overview
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PART III
THE STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS 1960 - 1970

The Image of the Indians took a third direction in the popular magazine press in the 1960's. It is quite distinctly a reflection of the demands for civil rights, equality and better living conditions. The new ideas are not as radically different as those betwen the themes of Social Darwinism and the humanitarianism of earlier years. The new course is more of an extension of the latter. It is the focusing caused by the evolution of the previous attitude. The literature contains a more acute sense of guilt and awareness of the Indian's debased status. There is still a great amount of ignorance presented about the real condition of the Indian.1 However, this is slowly giving way as Canadians are becoming increasingly interested in Indian life, culture and improvement. The literature also indicates that Canadians have a greater desire to let the Indian join and contribute to society. They have a desire, although poorly defined, not only to think of him as an equal but to treat him as an equal.

The trends in essay classification remain in operation and become more evident. The five varieties that were initiated in 1900 bear witness to the change by 1970. Religious writings dwindled into extinction in the framework. This seems to be a reflection of the increasing secularization in the twentieth century. Canadians are not as concerned with the salvation of Indian souls as much as they are concerned about his life and situation here on earth. On the other end of the spectrum, articles on contemporary Indian affairs are much more numerous than in the former years. Over time journalists were increasingly more interested in the present problems of the Indians. This interest was so large in the last ten years that it occupied nearly three quarters of everything written about Indians. It is in this part that the mood of the period is positively determined. It is here that the reader can see the clearest opinion reflecting civil rights and equality as more native Indians and white Canadians are concerned and becoming vociferous. The authors of the articles, as they previously did, represent a cross-section of Canadians.

Like the events that seemed to act as a catalyst for change in white attitudes, it seems a crisis was again operative in speeding along the development of opinion. The crisis was, like the First and Second Great Wars and the depression, one that came from the outside. This time it was the social upheaval in the world at large and in particular the United States, where demands of civil rights for Negros

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1
Infra, pp. 3, 6, 11, 23.

-56-

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