Fight Sex Discrimination in the Indian Status Registration Provisions of the Indian Act

Section 15 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states all Canadians have the right to live free from sexual and racial discrimination, yet Canada refuses to remove the sex discrimination in the Indian status registration provisions of The Indian Act.  Despite the long-time efforts of Indigenous women such as Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell, Yvonne Bernard, and Sandra Lovelace sex discrimination continues.

While The Indian Act was amended in 1985 to eliminate the sex discrimination against women who married non-Indian men, Canada took advantage of this remedial process creating the second-generation cut-off rule, and through applying this rule in a detrimental way to the descendants of Indian women as compared to the descendants of Indian men.  In this way Canada manipulated the remedial process.

Sharon McIvor furthered the effort, where in 2011 The Indian Act was once again amended.  Despite her 25 year effort Canada again manipulated the remedial process where as such many issues remain.  For example, the grandchildren of Indian women once enfranchised, and born prior to September 4, 1951 continue to be denied.

Further, many are unaware of the matter or unknown and unstated paternity (also unreported, unnamed, unacknowledged, unestablished, and unrecognized paternity).

Prior to the 1985 amendment to The Indian Act provisions protected mothers and their children whose father’s signature was not ascribed to the birth certificate − meaning the child was the same as their Indian mother, a status Indian.  Through the 1985 remedial process Canada removed these provisions creating yet another new form of sex discrimination.  Today Canada assumes all unknown fathers are non-Indian and this negatively affects the child’s treaty rights such as housing, health care, and education.  This policy remains in situations of sexual violence such as rape, gang rape, incest, prostitution, and sexual slavery.  Lynn Gehl v. Attorney General addresses this sex discrimination and it will be heard in court in May 2014.

Please sign this petition in support of the call for Canada to end the manipulative practice of using the remedial process of eliminating the sex discrimination in the Indian status registration provisions of The Indian Act as an opportunity to create new forms of sex discrimination in law, policy and practice.

Click here to sign the Petition!

Lynn Gehl Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley.  She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act, is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process, and recently published a book titledAnishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts.  You can reach her at lynngehl[at]gmail[dot]com and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com

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