Alexandrina Victoria Welf
May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland & Empress of India
Queen of England 1837-1901
Most sucessful rein of a Queen ever ...
or Scapgoat Mother of Western Colonialism
Many websites glorify Queen Victoria because under her reign, after all, Britain went from rags to riches. It "became the most powerful and richest country in the world, with one of the largest empires that ever existed, ruling a quarter of the world's population." I'm sure her villagers held her in high regard as their villages began to get piped water, gas and electricity. New railways, factories and farming innovations demonstrated a successful administration for most. The elite got richer and British soldiers were dispatched worldwide between 1850 - 1880. Slavery prospered with their 1891s census recording two million servants and cross-Atlantic travel advanced significantly.
The truth must be told here as part of the de-colonization work that needs to happen. By now, you should know that the above "accomplishments" were due to a continuous line of royal successions, not just one female ruler. The British Empire began to take shape during the early 17th century, with the English settlement of North America and the smaller islands of the Caribbean and with the establishment of joint-stock companies; most notable was the East India Company (administered colonies and overseas trade). This was, of course, after Elizabeth I (1533-1603) encouraged the privateers John Hawkins and Francis Drake to engage in slave-raiding attacks against Spanish and Portuguese ships to establish an Atlantic slave trade. This is the mindset that led to the actions taken by the Crown to expand their empire to the west.
It must be made clear that Heart of the Nations is not condoning Queen Victoria's actions/lack of actions but rather bringing out the magnifying glass to bring sight to the bigger picture. There were many guilty parties spanning over 250 years in just Canada alone and the many settlers that benefited/benefit from colonialism are a part of this guilty party. The "imperial century" of 1815-1914 brought much devastation under the rule of King George III 1760 - 1820, King George IV 1820 - 1830, King William IV 1830 - 1837, Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901, King Edward VII 1901 - 1910 and King George V 1910 - 1936. Acts of further injustice/lack of justice were done during the administration of King Edward VIII June 1936, King George VI 1936 - 1952, and Queen Elizabeth II 1952 - present
Let's not waste all of our angst on one person and vandalize statues which gets us nowhere. Instead, let's uphold the truth with a humble heart and take a stand. Read reconciliation in action below for Heart of the Nations' stance on Victoria Day 2022, as it is not appropriate to celebrate anything from an era of brutal colonialism, no matter how successful it made any country. There is no honour found in what was done (and is still being done) to First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples to obtain/keep any level of success. At the least, National Truth and Reconciliation Day should get the day off to celebrate themselves and their resilience, while Victoria Day should be repurposed as the day of privileged introspection.
To better understand what is being explained here, take a look at the timeline comparison below for a visual of the Crown involved at the different stages of western colonialism - I will be adding to this list as I recieve messges for content update
Comparison can only be seen on laptop/computer
Visual Comparison Timeline & Responsible Crown
List of General Significant Acts
1492 to 1605 - European explorers arrive on Indigenous territories in what is now called Eastern Canada
1500 to 1600 - The Great Dying
- disease epidemics (some deliberate)
approximately 50 million Indigenous peoples died
1600s - Metis Beginnings
Henry V 1413 - 1422
Henry VI 1422 - 1461, 1470 - 1471
The House of York
King Edward IV 1461 -1470, 1471 - 1483
King Edward V 1483 - 1483
King Richard III 1483 - 1485
King Henry VII 1485 - 1509
King Henry VIII 1509 - 1547
King Edward VI 1547 - 1553
Jane Grey 1554
Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) 1553 - 1558
Queen Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603
James I 1603 - 1625
Charles I 1625 - 1649
In 1649 King Charles I was executed and Britain became a Republic for eleven years.
Charles II 1660 - 1685
James II 1685 - 1688
William III 1688 - 1702 and Queen Mary II 1688 - 1694
Queen Anne 1702 - 1714
1763 - Royal Proclamation
Established & recognized Aboriginal Title
All land is Aboriginal land unless ceded by Treaty (purchased by the Crown)
1793 - Interior First Nations Contact
1812 - Canada & US Boarders are Established
1862 - Smallpox
1867 - British North American Act
1869-1870 - Red River Rebellion
1876 - Joint Commission
1876 - The Indian Act
Consolidation of the Gradual civilizatins Act & Gradual Enforcement
Still Canadian Federal law that authorizes the Feds to regulate and administer in the affairs and dat-to-day lives of registered "Indians" and reserve communities.
Section 73 remains - granting gov legal authority to provide compulsory hospitalization and to qurantine "Indians"
King George I 1714 - 1727
King George II 1727 - 1760
King George III 1760 - 1820
King George IV 1820 - 1830
King William IV 1830 - 1837
Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and The WindsorsKing Edward VII 1901 - 1910
King George V 1910 - 1936
King Edward VIII June 1936
King George VI 1936 - 1952
Queen Elizabeth II 1952
- present day
1893 - Indian Affairs Policy of Assimilation
1 & 2 - 1871
3 - 1873
4 - 1874
6 - 1876
10 - 1906
5 - 1875
7 - 1877
8 - 1899
9 - 1905
Robinson - Superior
Upper Canada Land Surrenders
Peace & Friendship Treaties
1763 - British army caught distributing smallpox blankets to Indigenous communities
Making Indigenous peoples property of the Crown and are still negotiating for the rights of their Nations
1857 - The Gradual Civilization Act
sought to assimilate Indian people into the settler society by encouraging enfranchisement (by choice) - a legal process for terminating a person's Indian status and recieving full Canadian citizenship
1869 - The Gradual Enfranchisement Act
Only allowed Indian Status to flow through men which left many women and children rejected and discarded
11 - 1921
1880 - Indian Act imposes elected "band councils"
1882 - the Pass System is Implimented
a tool of survalance & containment
1885 - Potlatch Ban
and other essential political, social & cultural practices that were used to maintain relationships, distribute wealth & resources and practice Indigenous laws - for three generations
1888 to 1923 - Fishing Restrictions
only for food, not for sale or trade, making it illegal for settlers to buy from Indigenous communities (banned from Canadian Economy)
1927 to 1951 - Prohibited from hiring lawyers
to pursue legal claims against the Crown & prohibited form politically organizing or even gathering
1884 to 1948 - Mandatory attendance to residential school for 16 year old and younger
150,000+ children @ 130 schools
90-100% suffered severe physical, emotional, spiritual & sexual abuse
40-60% mortality rate
as of 2015 about 80,000 survivors were still alive
1884 - Aggressive Government Policies
1885 - The Wrongful Hanging of Louise Riel
1909 to 1910 - Privy Council Role
1910 - Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier visits British Columbia. He supports recognition of Aboriginal rights. There is deep division between Federal and Provincial governments as to the recognition of Aboriginal title.
1939 - 1945 World War II
1951 - Indian Act Amendments
Parliament repeals Indian Act provisions of anti-potlatch and land claims activity post-war
1918 - Spanish Influenza
1920 to 1980 - 'Indian' Hospitals
racially segregated institutional care - check out how we Canadians got our food guide...
1950s - High Artic Relocation of Inuit
1954 - Canada signs the Genocide Act
1960 to 1990 - The "60s Scoop"
20,000+ children adopted out to non-Indigenous families
1960 - Federal Voting Rights Granted
1970s to 2017 - 1,200 cases of coerced sterilization of Indigenous women
1982 -Canada split from the Crown by adopting its own Constitution and became a completely independent country. Section 35 of the Constitution Act recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal treaty rights
1989 - Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is started
1996 - Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples & the closing of the last residential school
2008 - Federal Residential School Apology
2010 - United Nations Declaration
2015 - Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations
2016 - Canada Signs the UN Declaration
2019 Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released it's final report with 231 Calls for Justice
1 & 2 - 1871
6 - 1876
3 - 1873
7 - 1877
4 - 1874
8 - 1899
5 - 1875
9 - 1905
10 - 1906
11 - 1921
Douglas Treaties 1850-1854
"Our great brother here"
Bill Waiser of the Saskatoon Start Phoenix wrote a great article in 2017 called "History Matters: Treaty 6 promises were quickly broken," which captures a trust once established (well, from one side). Chief James Smith of Fort-a-la-Come, near the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, prepared to discuss the poor conditions that his community was forced into due to the lack of support from the Crown at a meeting at Fort Carlton five years after Treaty 6 was signed. His words, "our great brother here," displays how he understood the treaty relationship between the Crown and Cree people. Take a read.
Robinson - Superior
With all the new wealth from the " shared " land, it's mind-boggling to hear that Chief Ahtahkakoop was only asking for "a thresher, a reaper, and the power to work them." Imagine how that community felt as they watched their white farmer neighbours with all their fancy equipment and flourishing crops on the land they traded for the same opportunities for success?
Williams Treaties - 1923
Upper Canada Land Surrenders - 1764-1862
Peace & Friendship Treaties
Queen Victoria's birthday should not be a day of celebration but rather a National Day of Reflection, not because of one person's successful/devastating rule, but rather
a day of reflection for all who benefited from the fruit of western colonialism ... Recognize Your Privilege Day
shutterstock graphic clearly not created with Indigenous peoples in mind
As the above timeline shows, colonization was not a one-time event under one Crown but rather a calculated system of policies, exclusion, and abuse occurring since the 1700s and is still ongoing today with laws and behaviours that form a structure of society.
We are all teaty people ... all that live in Canada
Reconciliation is Action
The day of reflection should include a good Canadian (those who benefit) review of the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous Nations and what deals were struck. A wealth of land in exchange for what? What relationship will Prince Charles bring to the table? Today would be a good day to reflect on this by reading about his visit to Canada this month. What were his priorities? Think critically. It was encouraging to read him say, "We must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspect of the past: acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better. It is a process that starts with listening", but Heart of the Nations and many others feel we are beyond the listening stage. As this education points out, the listening phase has long come and gone and the phase we've been in for some time now is the action phase. Heart of the Nations is monitoring responsive organizations and non. Perhaps a webpage should be dedicated to this action/non-action as a public display board for all to see who is up for meaningful reconciliation and monitor how long action is taking and on what topics.
Perhaps an apology for the failures of the Crown in its relationship with a people that put their trust in it. The derogatory term 'honest engine' didn't come from nothing. Perhaps some of us must model the same honest and humble behaviour and not mock it. Or an apology on behalf of the Queen for her role as head of the Anglican church regarding the residential schools she oversaw? Or an act of true repentance (the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse) by the dissolution of the Doctrine of Discovery. How can reconciliation occur within the absence of the original intent of said promises and relationship? Indigenous Elders are speaking out in the most humble way because promises were made and not kept, and now the legislation is put into place that says these promises need to be kept. Heart of the Nations is dedicated to seeing this happen.
Listen to Piikani elder, Wilfred Yellow Wings, relate the oral history account of the negotiation of Treaty 7.
Heart of the Nations does not see the need to "find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past ..." the answer resides with the original intent of the treaties being honoured, then let's talk about getting back to where the original relationship intent was (or thought/trusted to be) and talk environment.
A more formal definition of this expected relationship can be read on Wikipedia:
Today, the primary guide for relations between the monarchy and First Nations in Canada is King George III's Royal Proclamation of 1763; while not a treaty, it is regarded by First Nations as their Magna Carta or "Indian Bill of Rights," binding on not only the British Crown but the Canadian one as well, as the document remains a part of the Canadian constitution. The proclamation set parts of the King's North American realm aside for colonists and reserved others for the First Nations, thereby affirming Indigenous title to their lands and making clear that, though under the sovereignty of the Crown, the Aboriginal bands were autonomous political units in a "nation-to-nation" association with non-Indigenous governments. This created not only a "constitutional and moral basis of alliance" between indigenous Canadians and the Canadian state as personified in the monarch, but also a fiduciary affiliation in which the Crown is constitutionally charged with providing certain guarantees to First Nations, as affirmed in Sparrow v. The Queen, meaning that the "honour of the Crown" is at stake in dealings between it and First Nations leaders.
"The Office that I hold represents the Canadian Crown. As we are all aware the Crown has a fiduciary responsibility for the ongoing well being of Canada's First Citizens."
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Iona Campagnolo, 2005