Gradual Civilization Act

1857
Description
The Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes of the Province was introduced to the parliament of Upper and Lower Canada by John A. Macdonald. The Act sought to assimilate Indigenous people by encouraging them to adopt European values. It included plans for enfranchisement and the extinguishment of Indigenous land rights by converting Indigenous peoples to a system of private property ownership. Under this Act, Indigenous men who gave up their treaty rights were eligible to own property, vote, and hold other rights of full citizenship.

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