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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Indian Association of Alberta

A History of Political Action

The history of indigenous political action in Canada is long, hard-fought, and under-told. By the mid-1900s, Native peoples across western Canada were actively involved in their own political unions in a drive to be heard outside their own, often isolated, reserve communities. In Alberta, the Indian Association of Alberta (IAA) represented the interests of Alberta’s reserve communities.

Perhaps best known for its role in spearheading the protest against the 1969 White Paper produced by the Department of Indian Affairs, the IAA, founded in 1939, allowed Native peoples access to politics at the provincial level. Its rich history reveals much about First Nations’ perspectives on the place of Indian peoples in Canada before the emergence of civil rights movements and large-scale federal funding of Native organizations.

This book, which outlines the significance of treaty rights discussions before their constitutional entrenchment and documents the political philosophies of First Nations leaders in the prairie provinces, will be welcomed by those with an interest in Native studies, political science, and Canadian history.

272 pages

Table of Contents




1 A General Setting

2 The Indian Association of Alberta: Its Origins and Structure

3 The Structure and Expansion of the Early Indian Association of Alberta

4 “Outside Help”: John Laurie and Non-Indian Supporters of the Indian Association of Alberta

5 The Indian Association of Alberta and Its Relations with the Indian Affairs Branch, 1939-46

6 Reconciling Citizenship and Treaty Rights: The Indian Association of Alberta and the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons, 1946-48

7 Political Pragmatics: Amending the Indian Act, 1948-58

8 Political Visions: Diefenbaker to Trudeau

9 “Nîkânastêwimâkêwin”: Comparing the Political Thought of John Callihoo and John Tootoosis

10 Final Thoughts


A Indian Association of Alberta Executive Members, 1939-68

B Supervisors of Local Department of Indian Affairs, Alberta, 1939-69

C Indian Affairs Administration, 1939-69

D Alberta Reserve Land Surrenders




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