Sharon McIvor wins before BC Court of Appeal

by Sabine on April 8, 2009 · 17 comments

in Heroines

sharon200I’ve just received this exciting news in my inbox:

Sharon McIvor, a member of the Lower Nicola Band of British Columbia and a practicing lawyer, lost her Indian status when she married a non-Aboriginal man. She fought for 20 years so that her son could pass on Indian status to his children, something he would have been able to do had his father–instead of his mother–been Aboriginal.

This week, the Court unanimously decided that the Indian Act violates equality provisions of the Charter of Rights, discriminating against some women and their children when it comes to conferring Indian status. The Court gave the federal government a year to amend the offending sections of the Act. The 1985 amendments to the Indian Act, that were supposed to make the Act conform to the Canadian Charter, actually discriminate against some Aboriginals on the basis of sex. It is not yet known if this recent decision will be appealed by the governments.

Wow. This is a really important victory for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadian women, because it gets at a core nugget of paternalism that lay at the heart of the original 1985 amendments to the Indian Act. Yahoo for progress!

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1 Kathleen 04.09.09 at 8:17 pm

Congrats to us all, and to you!! discrimination needs to stop, and it will.

2 John 04.10.09 at 6:46 pm

Mrs. McIvor, with much gratitude and thanks, I have to say for myself and my family. You truly are an inspiration for all Aboriginals. The fight you’ve fought over the years, this is your validation and mine (others). I’ve kept appraised of your fight since near the beginning and completely understand your feelings regarding acceptance. I am a product of C-31 and refused to have a number system tell me I was not an Indian. Since 1987 when I first applied and was told I was not a status Indian, I felt as if I was not an Indian, but was called one by others. I could go on and on but you and your family know and probably share these same feelings. April 7th, 2009 will be a date I will not soon forget. I can only hope and pray that sixty days come and go without any dispute from the great minds sitting in Govrenment. Thank you for not quitting, thank you for setteling when you could have setteled, thank you for making a terrible wrong (INAC Discrimination), RIGHT!!. But most of all, I want to say thank you for validating who I am, my children and the products(people)of bill C-31, giving us identity and being proud to called First Nations(Anishinabek) people. Miigwetch!

3 Sabine 04.12.09 at 9:02 pm

John and Kathleen, thanks so much for leaving your wonderful, warm comments here. I’m trying to track down Sharon McIvor’s email address so that I can forward your remarks to her. I’ll let you know when I get a hold of it. Thanks for coming by Confabulous, and we hope you stick around!

4 Sabine 04.15.09 at 5:27 pm

Update: John and Kathleen, I just want to let you know that I’ve emailed your comments to Sharon McIvor personally.

5 Lee 04.15.09 at 10:16 pm

Hi Sabine (and John and Kathleen) I passed on your message to Sharon McIvor. She may have a long fight yet so I was glad to send on your encouragement. And glad to hear it myself!
in solidarity
Lee Lakeman

6 P A Dougherty 04.17.09 at 5:49 pm

Thank you I am one of the HAPPY people who will finally get there Native Statis. My Father who has died tried many year for me to get my Native Statis. I will be a proud Native female with full statis.
What is the waiting period 60 days or 1 year. I’m really excited about it.
Thank you again

7 Rosemarie Otis 04.23.09 at 2:04 pm

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your energy in fighting the Government and to have won is such an honor. Now perhaps my dearest little Grandson can become a status since his application was declined and reason being that because I married a non-native only my immediate children can have status. My two boys were given a 6(2) status thus eliminating my Grandson’s status. But my daughter married a non native and her four children were given status without a blink. Now I was not married to her biological father but married to my two boys father. Now do you call that discrimination? At first we thought there was an error in the boys being put down as in accordance with paragraph 6(2)’s but they (The Government Office in Ottawa) said that it was because I married their non native father. I did not marry my daughters non native father and she had no problem getting status for her four children who also have a white father. It just does not seem fair. Both my parents are full blooded natives. They were married and I do not have any white blood.

8 Sabine 04.24.09 at 9:42 am

Hi P.A. and Rosemarie. Thank you so much for your comments. I will pass them on to Sharon McIvor. What happened to you was so wrong. This is why Sharon McIvor’s tireless work has been so amazing, because what she’s been fighting has affected so many Aboriginal Canadians’ lives. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

9 m.smith 05.03.09 at 7:05 pm

How will Sharon Mcivor’s so called victory, enable the grandchildren of an ancester who voluntarily enfranchised to get their status?The grandchildren of a person who was a fullblooded native who was not married in the legal way of the whiteman.And the other half is an Indian, but not recognized by the registrar.How can we recieve equality when were divided up into different sections of bill c-31?Maybe if the ruling of Justice Ross was carried out then section 6 could be dropped so all discrimination could be dealt with.I think Sharon Mcivor should appeal as to keep up with the Ross decision.Equality is Equality.Get rid of section 6 for the future of the children.

10 Brittany Badrock 06.03.09 at 5:37 pm

I do hope that this claim could and would go further for women who married non-status men who were full native. These families are still native with no rights in Canada they are forgotten by First Nations and are not considered Metis so what are they? Non-status with no help or hope for there future.

11 Debbie 06.03.09 at 9:08 pm

I must say a BIG thanks Sharon…I know how much time and energy she has spent on this. I have my Metis status and my ex-husband re-gained his status with bill C31. What I could never understand is how my children did not qualify, where their cousins who could have less native blood did. I am just hoping that our government will realize once and for all that they must stop this discrimination. Thanks again.

12 Kaaydah Schatten 06.08.09 at 7:14 pm

In gratitude! Congratulations to all the women behind the scenes who have supported the “Right thing to do, in face of adversity”.
The work Sharon Mc Ivor has labored over for over twenty years will make a future for all of our children and it will preserve the cultural identity for our children with equality for all First Nations.
Please see the tax briefs on First Nations for more equality… the future.

13 Dave Latour 06.19.09 at 5:27 pm

I have been working at status since 1985 and was successful in getting my dad status as a result of bill C-31. I was told the other day that Sharon would be appealing the decision and I guess I am confused. I have gathered that she is going for the entire section 6 which I totally support. My dad wished that he could see his kids gain status but he died in July but I know he is watching and waiting for justice to be done. Nice work Sharon.

14 karen McKay-Starr 08.08.09 at 12:25 pm

I have struggle some over the past several months in regards to the BC Supreme Court on the McIvor case.It is all a matter of interpation what the out come of the decision was.The ruling was that 6(1)(a) and 6(1)(c) have no force and affect giving parliment 1 year to amend the Indian act therefore if not done all 6(1)(a) and 6(1)(c) will lose there status.As well there are many who feel that having status will give them their culture back.Culture is not defined by the Indian Act nor has the right to define who is an Indian according to sections within the Indian Act.It appals me that one would go to the Government and the courts to define who they are as an individaul as well define who is an Indian and who is not an Indian.It is my opinion the McIvor case BC ruling was an end that does not justify the means. I feel that it just reverts back on the Government to get ride of Indians as history shows. I may be alone in my opinion however I have always been a person who has not confromed nor given in to get somthing back in return. Karen McKay-Starr

15 Lorraine Manson 09.16.09 at 12:07 pm

I am from the grandmother was a McIvor Also. I am so pleased with all the work you have done to get so farin what you have done.I,m sure everyone appreciates it so very much.I know its been alot of hard work and late nights.It is going to help so many people.

Thank You So Very Much

16 ralph paul, chief erfn 10.20.09 at 10:28 am

The europeans that came to our country have the legal concept that translates as, Yes, we are all equal, BUT some of us are more equal than others.

My son, age 32 is a 6(1)(a) like I am, but his sister, born May 14, 1985 is considered a 6(2). The mom is a non-aboriginal. Today, my son and I have no status, but my daughter is till an Indian classified under 6(2). Equality?? What equality??

When we allow others to decide for us who is, in my case, a Dene or Indian, we will lose again. The government does not look at us as people, but only numbers. If they allow us to decide who is an Indian, we will have too many Indians, and they don’t want us to be too many as there is strength in numbers. Also, their budget would sky rocket, and definitely they don’t want that.

17 Jessica 01.25.10 at 8:40 pm

I am waiting and looking forward to what our future will bring us. My mother is a 6(2) status and my father is non-native. I have been raised on the reserve every summer of my life and my Grandmother has instilled Anishnabe in me. There are several others who live in the city and live the average Canadian way and are entitled to status. Some of them having no desire or knowledge of an inch of Native land and culture. If my mother passes, I will lose my right to enjoy future summers on the reserve that I’ve been raised to love and show my children what my Grandmother has shown me.

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