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When was Canada a colonial power?

Gabriele Zamparini

Dear bj,

Technically you are right BUT ONLY IF we keep thinking and talking within a colonialist framework. To answer your question, here below I paste a few paragraphs from:

Remarks before the Sub-Committee on Petitions, Information and Assistance of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, president Jose Carlos Morales by Special Assistant Rudolph C. Ryser.

New York City, 24 June 1981

Center for World Indigenous Studies


The indigenous nations located in what is now Canada have been resident in their territory for thousands of years before the British and French governments established settlements. The successor colonial power, Britain, created and established colonial governments within indigenous territories and commenced to conclude a series of treaties with the indigenous nations. These treaties ceded in excess of one million square miles of territory from the indigenous nations to Britain. More than 2.4 million square miles of indigenous territory was never ceded, but remains to this day the homelands of the indigenous nations.

The country of Canada has since 1867 been attempting to gain its independence from Great Britain. During this time Britain has effectively served as the trustee for the protection and preservation of the indigenous nations and their territory. By virtue of an act of British parliament, Britain conveyed certain of her administrative duties owed to the indigenous nations to the newly created Canadian federal government. As a colonial government created by Britain the Canadian government has administered the British trusteeship for 114 years. During the period of its trust administration the Canadian government has directly and indirectly expropriated indigenous national lands and resources to benefit Canadian and British citizens.

As it takes its final step toward independence Canada now seeks to totally engulf indigenous national territories, claim ownership over indigenous national resources and eliminate the national identity of 1.2 million indigenous peoples. Both British colonialism of indigenous territories and Canadian neo-colonialism have escaped world attention.

Canada has consistently denied the indigenous nations of upper North America a political role in her government and, indeed, she has systematically sought the liquidation of indigenous nations and their identity.

In December of 1980, the indigenous nations formed their own provisional government through which the United Nations Secretary General was petitioned to come their aid. The Secretary General was urgently requested to facilitate tri-lateral negotiations between Britain, Canada and the Indigenous Provisional Government to resolve the political status of the indigenous nations and territories in upper North America. The indigenous nations in upper North America are presently seeking a peaceful method to remove the colonial embrace of Britain and Canada.


Thanks for the clarification. However I feel that by stretching the definition in that way make the whole of humanity colonialists. Since we first moved out of Africa 100,000 years ago, humanity has colonised the world; first by taking empty land then by usurping those "indigenous" people from the land.
The Arabic/Islamic African states were colonised 1000 years ago and now, based on life expectancy, have the highest standard of living in Africa. However where is the indigenous population? The Celtic people of Europe now survive on the very western fringe of Europe having been driven close to extinction by Teutonic and Frankish peoples.
My point is that the desire to colonise is something that goes to the core of being human. In no way does this excuse the actions of what the seven most industrialised counties do to our planet (Russia only being there as a favour to Yeltsin from Clinton). However, if it were a different group of countries with the ability to appoint themselves de facto leaders of the world, would they do things any differently? I am pessimistic about humanities ability to control its actions and whilst admire people who have the courage and the will to attempt to change things I feel this will be futile.
Thanks again for clarifying your position; however I am “neutral on a moving train”, because however loud you shout the driver cannot hear you.
I hope I am wrong.


One world, one mind, one love.




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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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