I’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!