In Canada, white supremacy is the law of the land – NOW Magazine

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Canada, as a society, is still in denial about its historical and current colonialism when it comes to Indigenous peoples, and how the country is still largely based on the white supremacism of its founding document, the British North America (BNA) Act. Colonialism is not a “behaviour” that can be superficially changed by a prime minister professing “sunny ways.” It is the foundational system in Canada.

Canada was created by an Act of British parliament in 1867. It was more a corporate reorganization, a hurried consolidation of debts, than the birth of a nation. The problem was that they were using the theft of our lands, tucked into what, for them, was this innocuous-sounding Section 91.24 of the BNA Act to cover their debts.

This was where Britain, the colonial power, gave the young successor state exclusive control of our lands and peoples. In the infamous Section 91 of the BNA Act, which sets out the long list of federal responsibilities, Subsection 24 lists “Indians and land reserved for Indians.” That’s it. That’s where the whole ugly weight of colonialism is compressed, the black hole that devoured our land and liberty, where the Canadian state claims the privilege of exercising 100 per cent control over Aboriginal and treaty land and Indigenous peoples. It is where the Canadian state fulfilled Pope Nicholas V’s exhortation in a more modern setting to “vanquish and subdue all Saracens and pagans” and confiscate “all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.

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”It is where it is most clear that the BNA Act was a white supremacist document designed for a white supremacist country. I know, calling Canada a white supremacist country sounds controversial to some, but it shouldn’t. Blacks and Asians were systematically excluded from Canada until well after the Second World War and the few allowed in were here for very specific reasons – cheap and expendable labour to build the transcontinental railway in the case of the Chinese and as domestics or railway porters in the case of Blacks. The overwhelming number of jobs were simply refused them and the numbers of what are now called visible minorities were kept, by strict immigration rules, to less than 1 per cent of the total and very intentionally white population. For Indigenous peoples, the goal was to manage us into what was thought our inevitable extinction while their towns were kept clear of us by Jim Crow laws and practices that were in effect across the country, in some places well into the 1960s.

But the real focus of Canadian racism at its founding was usurping Indigenous peoples. Less than 10 years after Canada was formed with the merger of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the young state adopted the Indian Act, the most colonial piece of legislation imaginable for dominating and controlling every aspect of the lives of the “subject nations” within its territories. Our peoples were to be administrated by bureaucrats in the Indian Affairs branch, generally headed by a military man. Less than 10 years after the Indian Act was passed, the Canadian successor state was sending troops to the West to attack our peoples and seize our lands, if necessary to starve us into submission, as part of the sea unto sea mission of this new aggressive imperialist state.

The very fact that the Indian Act is very much in force today, 150 years after Confederation, is an indication of just how deeply this colonial ideology is imbedded in the Canadian psyche, as well as into its legal framework. The two are inextricable and they will be until Canada comes to terms with its past and sits down with Indigenous peoples to define a new future together.

ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE:: In Canada, white supremacy is the law of the land – NOW Magazine

Interested in Mesoamerican history? Check out my book “Totacho: Our Way Of Talking” available on In it, I detail the major influence that the Nawatl language has had on the “Spanish” spoken by Chicanos and Chicanas in the Southwest.

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Kurly Tlapoyawa is an archaeologist, author, and ethnohistorian. His research focuses primarily on the interaction between Mesoamerica, Western Mexico, and the American Southwest. Kurly has lectured at UNLV, University of Houston, and Yale University on topics related to Mesoamerica. His recent book, “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” was published in 2017. In addition to his work in Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Kurly is a professional stuntman with over 35 credits to his name. Kurly lives in New Mexico.

Follow Kurly on twitter @KurlyTlapoyawa

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About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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