The Gradual Civilization Act

1857 - present day

The Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes in this Province, and to Amend the Laws Relating to Indians was passed by the Province of Canada in 1857 when Macdonald was Premier. This act, a precursor to residential schools, was passed to support the aggressive assimilation of Aboriginal peoples in what would become Canada. Briefly, the act forced the enfranchisement of Aboriginal males who could read, write or speak English or French, among other requirements. Enfranchisement removed Aboriginal rights and forced subjects to become British subjects with fewer rights.