Blog 2 S-3: Making Sense of “6(1)(a) All the Way”

 

Can you imagine being only “half” Canadian? Imagine your father is Canadian, but your mother had emigrated from another country. Upon birth, you are assigned half of a Canadian citizenship. Your children’s potential Canadian citizenship hangs in the balance, dependent entirely on the person with whom you choose to parent.

Does this even make sense?

Would you be surprised to learn that Indigenous peoples in Canada have faced similar barriers in passing status onto their children? Would you be disheartened to find out that it is predominantly women who have been given “lesser” status because of a hierarchy imposed in 1985 which grants 6(1)(a) status to Indian men, yet a less conferrable 6(1)(c) status to women?

What this means in practice is what is referred to as the second generation cut-off rule: after two generations of a status parent having children with a non-status parent, their descendants lose status. The first generation enjoys 6(1) status, while the following generation is bumped down to 6(2) and finally, the third generation is bumped out entirely.

Bill S-3, while initially working to remove all sex-based inequities within the Indian Act, completely overlooks this unfortunate differentiation.

The “6(1)(a) All the Way” amendment remedies a complex, overwhelming and confusing distinction that has plagued Indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous women, for far too long. Essentially, the amendment looks to extend 6(1) status to all individuals who can trace their ancestry to at least one person who is or would ever have been entitled to be a registered Indian before 1985. The Senate put forth Bill S-3 in May 2017 with this amendment, but Minister Bennett stripped it shortly after.

The amendment is not a new idea; the Liberals proposed it in Opposition in 2010. When the former Conservative government committed to a second round of consultations in amending the Indian Act by way of Bill C-3 in light of Sharon McIvor’s case, Liberal MP Todd Russell proposed the amendment to rectify issues caused by the 1951 cut-off date. It was quickly ruled inadmissible by the Speaker of the House as “being beyond the scope of Bill C-3”.

Once again, the government chose to write the bill in a way that responded solely to the ruling in McIvor’s case, pushing the problem onto a future to-do list, as even Russell stated that “hopefully in the future we will be able to deal with these matters.” That time is now.

NWAC is engaging in national consultations to get your input on Bill S-3 and to tell our government to remove all discrimination from the Indian Act right now. Let’s end the tired tradition of telling indigenous peoples “tomorrow” without actually following through.

 

NWAC Reprimands Media For Coverage in Tina Fontaine Murder Trial

OTTAWA, ON – February 1, 2018

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is adamantly opposed to the media’s use of victim-blaming rhetoric and negative, unfounded stereotypes in their reporting in the Tina Fontaine murder trial.

Media outlets must instead focus on the actions of the accused. Victim blaming and focusing on narratives that perpetuate damaging stereotypes and myths about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls serve no purpose but to harm victims, survivors, and their families as they try to begin their healing process.  Tina Fontaine is not on trial.

NWAC calls on all members of the media to deeply consider the narratives they engage in and consider the damage to Indigenous families.  Consider the stereotypes and myths on which narratives are based before constructing stories and headlines that harm communities and families who are suffering.  NWAC works with these families and regularly witnesses the damage that negative media language and thoughtless coverage causes.

Tina deserves better. Tina’s family deserves better. The public deserves better.

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx                                         Joël Lamoureux
Executive Director                                Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033  x223                               613-722-3033 x100
1-800-461-4043                                     1-800-461-4043

EMAIL LYNNE                                      EMAIL JOËL

Follow NWAC on: Twitter –  FacebookInstagram      www.nwac.ca

 

NWAC DISMAYED WITH ONGOING ISSUES AT NATIONAL INQUIRY

OTTAWA, ON – January 11, 2018

The Native Women’s Association of Canada was shocked and outraged to learn today that Debbie Reid, Executive Director of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has resigned.

First and foremost, our thoughts are with survivors of violence and with the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls who are again having to endure very upsetting news from the Inquiry.  These families have faced insurmountable obstacles coming to terms with personal tragedy; this resignation creates instability and a further setback at the National Inquiry.

In the second of two report cards issued by NWAC in 2017 on the status of the National Inquiry, it gave failing grades in almost all key areas.  NWAC made definitive recommendations to improve communications, transparency and most other areas of the Inquiry.  These recommendations were made in hopes of bringing the direction of the Inquiry to a more successful pathway.  The continued lack of communication with families and with NWAC points out the operational issues at the National Inquiry.  NWAC is deeply concerned that the ongoing operational failures will damage what remaining trust and belief families may still have in the inquiry.

NWAC strongly believes that in order for the National Inquiry to be a success, it must re-examine its administrative issues and operations.   Most importantly, survivors and families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls must come first.  These families are left in the dark and are learning the on-goings of the inquiry through sporadic and at times anecdotal communications. It is imperative that the National Inquiry’s leaders implement a clear and robust strategy for transparent communication to benefit families and achieve a successful outcome.30 –
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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
613-722-3033  X223
1-800-461-4043  EMAIL

 

Joël Lamoureux
Media Relations Officer
613-722-3033 X100
1-800-461-4043  EMAIL

 

 

Follow NWAC on: Twitter –  FacebookInstagram      www.nwac.ca

NWAC Calls for Resignation of Senator Lynn Beyak

September 18, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – In response to the racist opinions stated by Senator Lynn Beyak, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling for her resignation and removal from the Senate of Canada.  NWAC considers Senator Beyak’s recent comments regarding First Nations people and the Indian Act to be directly supportive of cultural genocide and a threat to the distinct rights of Indigenous women.

NWAC President Francyne Joe elaborated on the impact of the Senator’s public statements in relation to NWAC’s work in advocacy, policy, and legislation.  “Right now, we are challenging the denial of our rightful place in the nation-to-nation relationship.  We are advocating for the decolonization of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples through the restoration of Indigenous women’s equal role in decision-making.”

“Senators are to bring wisdom and conscience to the work of legislating policy within a human rights framework.  By silencing our voices at the national level and giving political power to those whose ideas support assimilation and deny our identities, this nation is allowing systemic racism and sexism to continue.”

NWAC took issue with Beyak’s choice to highlight the implied positive aspects of residential schools instead of their horrific legacy through comments made in the Senate during March of 2017. Beyak has also made comments that were especially hurtful to transgender and Two-Spirit Indigenous peoples in Committee.

NWAC has identified the removal of sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act as a priority issue and feels compelled to take action to encourage Beyak’s removal from the Senate.  “It is unacceptable for a person who holds such racist opinions to be in a position to exert authority during the work to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act through Bill S-3,” confirmed Joe.

“Racist and ignorant perspectives continue to be heard over the marginalized voices of Indigenous women,” concluded Joe.  “Indigenous women must be given a more powerful voice at the national level in order to remove systemic barriers to our empowerment.”

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-277-8831
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca