Stages of Canada colonization


The colonial period in Canada was one of the most tragic pages of the country's history, but also the most interesting. This way, the most negative aspect of this age was the relations between European immigrants and local population. In their fight for the better living conditions and economic benefits, Europeans have performed the aggressive policies of colonization and assimilation of indigenous people. The result of such policies was worsening economic, political, and cultural positions of the First Nation population in Canada. The aborigines were displaced from profitable regions and were put in the conditions of assimilation system of education. The result was almost complete disappearance of the indigenous people's identity. It is important to mention that the difference between the French and British approach to the colonial policy was not caused by the difference in political or ideological systems of these states but by the absence of military force to oppose the indigenous population in the hands of the French administration.


The Characteristics of the French Rule for the Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous people, or the First Nation people, are the native inhabitants of the modern Canadian territories, who were met by the French and British immigrants during the period of American colonization. The communications between the representatives of different cultural, religious and social groups led to the interesting results, which are mainly studied by the specialists and researchers of the history of British and French colonialism. The study about different stages of Canadian colonization can be also useful from the point of understanding the changes between psychosocial contributions of the modern multicultural approach in the international politics as well as the conservative nationalism and the consciousness of one's own exclusiveness. The above-mentioned changes were common for the European immigrants during the period of colonization. There were various psychosocial features, especially common at that time for the British colonists in Canada.

To discuss the issue of colonization in Canada in detail, it is essential to start with the description of the French period of colonial rule. The French colonists were the first Europeans to enter the territory of the modern Canada. Later, as a result of the British military campaign, the French government was expelled from the region. At the same time, the French period of ruling the territories of Acadia (South-Eastern part of the modern Canada) provides one that is completely different from the British experience of cooperation between the First Nation people and the immigrants. The contemporary researchers recognize the significant influence of the French period of ruling on the development of Canadian political and legal systems. Even after hundreds of years of British ruling over the territories of Canada, the signs of French control over Acadia can be seen in public and political spheres (Bourinot, 1900). It is necessary to consider the most important aspects of this ruling, and its effect on the Indians.

The key effort of any colonial government is to guarantee the full control over the territories and use them for the maximization of metropolises benefits. For France, the Canadian territories were a serious source of economic benefit due to the development of the fur trade industry (Aquash, 2013). To guarantee the safety of this trade, the French government did everything possible to maintain good relations with the First Nation people. The colonists have recognized the nationhood and sovereignty of the indigenous ethnic group due to the lack of military force to guarantee their obedience (Alfred, 2009, p. 46). The lack of military power is considered to be the main reason for respectful and democratic relations between the French administration and the indigenous people. Later, when the epidemics imported from Europe, caused the significant reduction of the First Nation people population, the British ruling over Canada will provide more stringent living conditions for Aboriginal people.

Due to the factors previously discussed, the French period was mainly characterized by the peaceful and respectful cooperation and cohabitation of the indigenous population and colonists on the territory of modern Canada. This was the period of exchange of cultural, religious and practical experience between the locals and the immigrants. In fact, the possibility to acquire knowledge about the practice of survival on the territory of the North America allowed immigrants to gain a foothold in these territories and create a solid economic and political organization (Aquash, 2013). This period of colonial rule over the indigenous people was different to the processes that took place in the same territory under the British rule. The two positions were presented  the position of respect and effective communication, and the position of brute force and aggressive assimilation. To be objective, it is necessary to highlight that these differences are not caused by the differences in cultural or political approaches of the French and British nations, in general. The French policy was so soft only because the colonists did not obtain the required military force for repressions.

The Characteristics of the British Rule for the Indigenous Peoples

The French control over a part of the modern Canadian territories lasted from 1534 to 1763. After this time, the British military forces have displaced the French government from these lands, and the new stage of the colonial history of Canada began. The British administration was going to exploit the wealth of this country, as well as the French did. But unlike the French, the British had enough military power to not stand on ceremony with the local population. To understand the motives of the main aspects of the British policy to the indigenous people in Canada, it is necessary to define the long-term strategy of the British crown on those territories. In this way, it will be obvious that the strict policy of the British administration was not caused by the pathological hatred or by the contempt for indigenous people, but it was a result of the sensible and pragmatic internal policy for the expansion in colonies.

To guarantee the stability of the trade and economic development of the region, it was necessary to provide the conditions for the increase of indigenous people's loyalty to the British administration, and the increase of the flow of immigrants from Europe. The British government had to assimilate the cultural features of the local population, and achieve the lands for the European immigrants to settle. The result of these decisions was the establishment of residential schools for the indigenous population to study (Partridge, 2010) and the toughening of land legislation, in order to drive out the aborigines from the most economically promising regions (McNeil, 2004, p. 272). The more loyal European population of Canada got better land, social support and higher living standards than less loyal aborigines. This process led not only to the socio-political stabilization in British Canada but also served as a catalyst for further restriction of policy against the indigenous population. The reduction of the indigenous populations share in the structure of population in Canada reduced the fear of the British administration before riots and protests against the harsh policy of the metropolis.

Unfortunately, the British period of the colonial history of Canada was connected with the permanent marginalization of indigenous people. The study of the criminal justice practice in British Canada performed by Nielsen and Robyn (2003), shows that the aborigines have most usually acted as the offenders and victims in the criminal cases (p.29). In this case, the locals have suffered from repressions of the judicial system of the British administration. Allan and Smylie (2015) have also highlighted the important role of racists political ideas in the relations between the European colonists and local population in Canada, as well as other colonies of the British Empire (p.4). The idea about the role of racism, as a political concept and a basis of the colonial ideology, was supported by Hutchings (1998) in his research of the relations between the British colonists and the indigenous people. The whole process of British colonization was based on the racist idea about the imperfection of the culture and way of life of the aborigines, and the need for major changes in their lifestyle.

The Impact of Colonization on the First Nation People

As it can be seen from the earlier analysis of the colonial period contribution to the overall development of the indigenous people in Canada, this contribution was quite controversial. First of all, the existence of racist stereotypes eventually defined the main vector of the European colonist's policy in this question. As a result, the period of British colonialism in Canada led to the partial degeneracy of the indigenous people's culture, the abduction of aborigines from economically promising areas of the country, and the reduction of the indigenous people's population in the region. Since all other aspects have already been discussed, it is necessary to orient on the analysis of the colonial period impact in the level of the aborigines health and population.

The study of the First Nation and Metis children in Canada during the colonial period and the modern stage of the Canadian history, which was performed by Tait, Henry, and Walker (2013), shows that children from this ethnic groups are the most socially vulnerable share of this age group in Canada (p.49). This vulnerability is caused by the lower level of economic welfare and social protection for the families of indigenous people. The representatives of this ethnic group have always received a lower level of support from governmental institutions and faced harder socio-economic conditions than other groups of the Canadian population. The thesis about the permanent struggle of the indigenous people for social and economic justice was also supported by other researchers of the issue (Landertinger, 2011, p. 150). The negative influence of the colonial governments on the overall levels of health and population of the indigenous ethnic groups was highlighted in the research by MacDonald and Steenbeek (2015). In this way, the variety of arguments about the negative role of colonial policy in the socio-economic, political, and cultural development of the indigenous people in Canada define the requirements for the search of ways to improve the existing situation.

In the research of the influence of the European colonists on the process of the Indigenous people's development in Canada, Fast and Collin-Veniza (2010) defined the contribution of Europeans as the historical trauma (p. 126) for the local population of the Canadian territories. The negative impact on the cultural, social, and political spheres led to the assimilation of the local population and the significant obliterating of the Indians identity in Canada. The variety of facts of gender violence in Canada (Raibmon, 2006; Dhillon, 2015) shows that the impact of the European politics in Canada was extremely negative. At the same time, it is necessary to highlight that the practices of racist repressions against the indigenous people in Canada, and the facts of the gender violence were not the unique phenomenon for that historical time period. The same technologies were used in other colonial rulings of the British Empire, as well as in other colonial empires in the 18th-19th centuries. Many of the presented issues were common even in the metropolis territories of these states, which defines the negative aspects of the existing ideological and political traditions of that historical period.

At the same time, it is necessary to define certain reasons for historical optimism. Though the contribution of colonial period was terrifying for the indigenous people, the modern politics of multiculturalism can become the basis for gradual restoration of the local population's cultural and environmental traditions. One of the initiatives in this sphere was the promotion of the environmental education programs for the indigenous population in Canada (Simpson, 2002, p. 13). This program was oriented on the restoration of cultural and historical identity of the First Nation population in Canada. The occurrence and the development of the similar programs in Canada and other countries can become a good sign and reason for historical optimism in the society.

The Lessons That Can Be Achieved from the History of Colonization in Canada

The main lessons from the case of the British colonial policy that can be acquired by the author, and used in his professional practice, are the unacceptability of the unequal approach to treatment of patients. The principle of the equal and fair attitude to the clients should be the basic concept of the health professional in addictions counseling. The professional should remain indifferent to the cultural, religious or ethnic characteristics of patients. Obviously, the racist approach to the treatment is completely inappropriate in the modern society and working principles.

As for the personal development of the author, the analysis of the discussed case shows the unpromising character of the racist or neglectful attitude to different ethnic groups and any type of activities. The comparison of the French and British experience of colonial policy demonstrated that the French policy of respectful attitude to the indigenous people brought more benefits to the European colonists, and even allowed them to survive in the new conditions of the North America. The respectful cooperation of the people of different nations, races, cultures, and religions should become the basis of the future political and economic development of the modern societies throughout the world. In this way, the policy of multiculturalism should not be oriented exclusively on the assimilation of all cultures in the single image but should serve as a tool of unity for different points of view in their wealth and diversity.

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The French and British colonial periods of the Canadian history provide the rich experience in the sphere of relations between the local indigenous population and the European colonists. The analysis of the racist policies that have been used by the European immigrants to acquire the leading positions in the Canadian society provides the example of the decisions that cannot be allowed to realize in the modern society. From this point, the history of the British colonialism in North America should be interesting to the historians and all the educated readers that would like to understand the basics of the modern society's development. The permanent discussion of the negative aspects of the British policy in Canada should define the negative trends that should always be avoided, as unacceptable in the modern politics. From this point, it is impossible to state that the colonial period of the Canadian history is something that had already passed away and can be forgotten by the politics and the society.