Voices From Here

For millennia, Indigenous Peoples organized their lives and communities around unique laws and rules. These systems, which varied from community to community, governed how each community interacted with one another, with other Nations, and with all of creation. Colonialism disrupted and undermined these forms of governance through violence, epidemics, colonial schooling, and other harmful policies. Colonial powers forced communities to use imposed governing systems to encourage assimilation. The Indian Act sought to dismantle traditional governance systems and impose external controls. One method of control was mandating the use of band councils. While the band council system is still in use, traditional governance systems have survived and continue to operate in parallel in many communities. Some Nations are reasserting their identities and rebuilding governance systems using Traditional Knowledge and cultural perspectives. In many ways, rebuilding a Nation is about breaking away from the Indian Act and acquiring self-sufficiency. This process is complex, as Nations need to create a system that considers their people’s needs and interests and how to care for land, resources, wildlife, and future generations. Some Nations have chosen the route of self-determination , which restores their control over the administration of their people, land, resources, programs, and policies, although this system still requires agreements with f​ederal and provincial governments. The 1862 smallpox epidemic in the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia depopulated many Indigenous communities. Those who died took with them knowledge, stories, and skills. Learn about other smallpox epidemics on The Canadian Encyclopedia . ACTIVITY 9 RUSSELL MYERS ROSS INTERVIEW PART I: WATCH THE INTERVIEW As a class, watch Russell Myers Ross’s interview. Ask students to pay attention to what he says about governance and Tŝilhqot’in resistance to colonial intrusions. DEYENZ LHUY BELH NANDLAGH, BY RUSSELL MYERS ROSS. DEYENZ LHUY BELH NANDLAGH, BY RUSSELL MYERS ROSS. INDIGENOUS GOVERNANCE SECTION 6 22