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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Comparing the Policy of Aboriginal Assimilation

Australia, Canada, and New Zealand

The aboriginal people of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand became minorities in their own countries in the nineteenth century. The expanding British Empire had its own vision for the future of these peoples, which was expressed in 1837 by the Select Committee on Aborigines of the House of Commons. It was a vision of the steps necessary for them to become civilized, Christian, and citizens – in a word, assimilated. This book provides the first systematic and comparative treatment of the social policy of assimilation that was followed in these three countries. The recommendations of the 1837 committee were broadly followed by each of the three countries, but there were major differences in the means that were used. Australia began with a denial of the aboriginal presence, Canada began establishing a register of all ’status’ Indians, and New Zealand began by giving all Maori British citizenship.

304 pages

Table of Contents

Maps and Tables



1 Introduction

2 Australia: The General Structure of Aboriginal Policy

3 Australia: Aboriginal Peoples and Child Welfare Policy

4 Canada: The General Structure of Canadian Indian Policy

5 Canada: First Nations Family and Child Welfare Policy

6 New Zealand: The General Structure of Maori Policy

7 New Zealand: Maori People and Child Welfare Policy

8 Similarities and Differences among Australia, Canada, and New Zealand

9 Understanding the Policy of Aboriginal Assimilation




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