Macdonald & First Peoples

1857-1887
Morley Indian Residential School - McDougall Orphanage, students, Morley, Alberta circa 1885-1890 by David Ewens. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Morley Indian Residential School - McDougall Orphanage, students, Morley, Alberta circa 1885-1890 by David Ewens. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Macdonald has been accused of insensitivity, even hostility, to the First Peoples marked by his policies of cultural assimilation (some would say cultural genocide), a policy of reservations that led to the later policy of residential schools, and the general appropriation of their lands for western and national development. His role in introducing the Gradual Civilization Act (1857), the first Indian Act (1867), as minister in control of developing Indian Affairs (1878-1887), and his conflict with Louis Riel and the Métis have all been commented on. Attention should also be directed to his contacts with the First Peoples of his home community and local area.