Both Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo and Herb George, president of the National Centre for First Nations Governance are calling for a “smashing” of the status quo by replacing the Federal Indian Act which has governed aboriginals in Canada since 1876. Herb George says the act is punitive, restrictive, regulatory and an assault on the language and culture of First Nations communities.–aboriginal-crises-are-symptoms-of-a-deep-rooted-problem 

There is no question that a piece of legislation drafted in 1876 must be in need of some serious updating to reflect the changing reality of First Nations affairs in this country. However, with almost 2000 independent First Nations bands in British Columbia alone, all with different priorities and needs, the idea of just smashing the Indian Act seems a little naive without a solid vision about what is to replace it.

Would getting rid of the Act provide more transparent and democratic governance then what now exists under the hereditary chief system where aboriginal people’s lives are controlled by individuals and their relatives who benefit in many ways by an accident of birth? If so, lets put all the cards on the table and get on with it. Until Shawn Atleo and Herb George do more than just complain about the status quo without putting forward any concrete proposals regarding more accountable and responsible self-sustaining forms of governance, the Indian Act will be here for a long time to come.