Impacts on First Nations Culture

Between the loss of land and the colonial governments asserting their authority, First Nations' social and economic networks that had been upheld for generations began to fall apart. First Nations culture, being so deeply rooted in a connection to the land, could not but be affected by land changes resulting from the Royal Commission. In essence, cutting First Nations access to land was cutting away their culture.

The Little Boys Dormitory at the Coqualeetza Residential School

The laws discouraging First Nations from organizing also had a destructive impact on the culture of communities. Participation in potlatches, for which jail time was being enforced, was integral to First Nations societies and economies and ensured prosperity for all Band members. This, along with other factors such as Indian children being taken from their homes and placed in residential schools, disease, and substance abuse, took a toll on the cultural unity of First Nations communities.

Audio Video
Philip Paul on the effects of the occupation of aboriginal land and the failure to address land claims (18 March 1974)
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Fort St. John Band cut-off lands (Excerpt from "The Land is the Culture," 1975)
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UBCIC representative on the importance of resolving the cut-off lands (Meeting with Judd Buchanan, 9 January 1975)
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Chief Saul Terry on fighting for the land (UBCIC Special Peoples Assembly, 1992)
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