Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
When Freedom is Lost

When Freedom is Lost: The Dark Side of the Relationship Between Government and the Fort Hope Band

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 131
  • Book Info
    When Freedom is Lost
    Book Description:

    The devastating impact of the policies and programs of the federal government on the Indian people of Canada is illustrated forcefully in this important and revealing study of the Fort Hope Band.

    Over a period of seven years, the authors looked at the communities of Webequie, Summer Beaver, Lansdowne House, and Fort Hope in the far reaches of Northwestern Ontario seeking answers to such questions as: How do a people become wards of the state? How does a government work against its stated objectives? How do ghettos appear in the middle of a pristine wilderness?

    They found that, starting in the early '60s, as government involvement in band life increased, dependency on the government also increased - to the point where today government programs provide 90 percent of the band members' income.

    Now dependent on programs with can be curtailed at the governments' will, the band is in an extremely vulnerable position. The authors suggest that this is also true of other bands across the country and offer suggestions for constructive change.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8332-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-1)
    P.D. and R.S.T.
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    Northern Ontario, above the cnr line, is an immense tract of land more than half the size of the province. It is a remote, isolated wilderness region, and except for about thirty scattered Indian communities and a handful of small towns, there are no other settlements. It is within the central and northern part of this territory, impenetrable except by canoe and plane, that the Ojibwa Indians who belong to the Fort Hope Band live.

    The band is one of 115 in Ontario¹ defined by the Indian Act as groups whose land and money are held in perpetual trust by...

  7. 2 Before government
    (pp. 13-21)

    It is difficult, perhaps even in some ways impossible, to appreciate the drastic changes that the people in the Fort Hope Band have gone through during the past few years without understanding something of their history. For instance, it was not until the beginning of this century that the government made a treaty with the Fort Hope people, and it was not until the 1960s that the government became heavily involved in their affairs. The band’s ancestors did not even begin to interact with Europeans in a significant way until the middle of the eighteenth century, when the Ojibwa became...

  8. 3 Schools, welfare, and the White Paper
    (pp. 23-37)

    The life-style that existed in the band from the time the treaty was signed came to an abrupt end during the 1960s. Since then, the social and economic lives of the people have changed more than anyone could have imagined and almost without question because of two key moves that were made by the federal government. First, after hearing a barrage of complaints from band members that residential schools were destroying their families, the Indian Affairs Branch agreed to build schools near the Hudson’s Bay Company posts at Fort Hope, Lansdowne House, and Webequie. Once this happened the people began...

  9. 4 Where means became ends
    (pp. 39-49)

    In 1975, when we walked through the band villages for the first time, we saw an unusually large number of young men loitering in small groups. Most were single, between eighteen and twenty-five, and when we talked to them we found out that they were chronically unemployed. They told us that the only opportunity they had to earn any money was by working part-time for government, and this meant participating in a make-work, job-training, or community-development program. They joked with us that White Paper programs were their jobs. Otherwise, they were out of work and on welfare. Even hunting and...

  10. 5 Why band businesses failed
    (pp. 51-71)

    Make-work, job-training, and community-development programs were not the only means the government used in its attempt to revitalize the economy of the Fort Hope Band. During the 1970s diand also tried to start a number of businesses in the communities, including three fishing co-operatives, two sawmills, two tourist camps, and a co-op store. But when we looked at the businesses, we found that none had succeeded. Nor did it seem likely that any of them would,¹ and this was disheartening to everyone concerned, not just because diand had spent well over 1.5 million dollars to establish the businesses but also...

  11. 6 Freedom to fail
    (pp. 73-87)

    In January 1976 we reported most of what we have written about so far to a committee composed of two band officials and a group of middle-management government people, including two from diand, two from Manpower, and one each from the Ontario ministries of Natural Resources and Culture and Recreation.¹ Our report was based on socio-economic research we had conducted in the band communities during the previous year. The research was carried out under the auspices of leap – Manpower’s Local Employment Assistance Program – and was undertaken, in part, to discover ways to help band businesses succeed.

    In our...

  12. 7 From Lansdowne House to Summer Beaver
    (pp. 89-103)

    One late afternoon in the summer of 1975, when we first saw Lansdowne House from the air, we looked down on what appeared to be an ideal place – a small village spread out over two islands tucked away on a lake in the wilderness, a few houses, a school, a church, the sun setting on the horizon. It seemed to be a truly beautiful place, with a certain gentle, almost timeless quality to it. But when our float-plane landed and we were standing on the dock, Lansdowne House was very different indeed. In the distance, from inside one of...

  13. 8 Reflections
    (pp. 105-108)

    Fort Hope, Webequie, Lansdowne House, and Summer Beaver are remote and isolated places, with high unemployment, high welfare costs, and a low standard of living. They are places few people know about and even fewer visit. They are places where people wait for small planes to bring in the ‘shuniah-ogama’ – the money boss. They are places where people have lost control over their lives and where no one knows what will happen, except perhaps that without government support their communities will collapse. And yet they are places where people stay, not out of blind loyalty but because of what...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 109-116)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 117-120)
  16. Index
    (pp. 121-131)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 132-132)