White Paper | Red Paper: Debating Indian Policy, 1969-1970



Alberta Indian Chiefs meet with Prime Minister and Minister of Indian Affairs about White Paper on Indian Policy, 1970. Source: Library and Archives Canada, 3533979.

In 1969 the federal government launched a re-examination of its Indian policies. In an effort to reform those policies, the Department of Indian Affairs issued a policy document known as a White Paper. The department declared its intention to grant full citizenship rights to Canada’s Indigenous population and eliminate all Indian rights, which it considered discriminatory. In response, the Indian Chiefs of Alberta prepared a response document called “Citizens Plus,” which came to be known as the Red Paper. This document challenged the 1969 white paper and set out a different set of proposals to redefine the place of Indigenous people in Canada.

In this module, you will read selections from both the White Paper and the Red Paper. You will also read the secondary analysis of historian Leon Crane Bear.

This module includes:

Historical Documents

  1. Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, 1969
  2. Indian Chiefs of Alberta. Citizens Plus, June 1970


  1. Leon Crane Bear, “The Contemporary relevance of the Historical Treaties to Treaty Indian peoples” ActiveHistory.ca, 1 December 2015.
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