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Absurdity ad infinitum: Status and the Indian Act – Anishinabek News

In 1985, the Conservative government officially ended enfranchisement with Bill C-31 and restored Indian Status to thousands of people albeit with some serious asterisks. Some of those asterisks were removed in 2011, 2016, and 2019. Yet, more remain encoded within section 6 of the current Indian Act.

Last month, I was in court arguing against the Indian Registrar’s decision to deny my daughter registration as a Status Indian. The denial is based on the paternal grandparents, my mother’s decision to voluntary enfranchise in 1965 under the terms of section 108(1) of the 1952 Indian Act which was in force until 1985. My application to have my daughter registered was denied in 2011 and the appeal of this decision was denied in 2017. The second denial led us to court. Ironically, if my mom had lost her Status at the time of marriage, my child would be eligible for registration.

Under section 108(1), an Indian could voluntarily enfranchise provided the individual met a series of conditions such as being at least 21 years old, capable of assuming the duties of citizenship, and able to support oneself. Individuals restored to Status, who voluntarily enfranchised, were given 6(1)(d) Status under the 1985 amendments and their descendants were granted 6(2) Status. This barred a voluntary enfranchisee’s descendants, specifically the grandchildren, from being entitled to be registered. A similar logic applied to women who had married out in 1985, but subsequent court decisions forced the Government of Canada to remove those sections in 2011, 2016, and 2019. Section 6(1)(d) of the current Indian Act remains in force.

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