The Mi’kmaq are subject to the Indian Act, which dates from 1876 and was originally designed to assimilate Aboriginal people into Canadian society. The obligations and rights contained in the Indian Act have changed since it was created in 1876; Aboriginal Peoples have negotiated changes with the government over time. This law now defines certain obligations of the federal government toward Aboriginal Peoples. This law also defines Aboriginals People’s rights to manage their reserve lands, to manage their affairs, and to determine who is a Status Indian.

Status Indians have a different status from that of other Canadians. They do not pay taxes on goods and services purchased in the reserves, but these stores are rare. Aboriginal people do not pay federal and provincial taxes on income earned in a reserve; however, jobs on reserves are limited and many Aboriginals must work outside the reserve and pay income taxes on their earnings.

There are many different opinions on the Indian Act; some people think that the Indian act gives privileges, while others think that it oppresses Indigenous populations. We encourage you to learn more about the Indian Act using resources from Indigenous and non-Indigenous sources.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

French (If available)