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Showing posts from February, 2010

McIvor is Just the Start - The Indian Act is Full of Discrimination

So by now, everyone has heard of the McIvor case and knows that the registration provisions of the Indian Act, otherwise referred to as "status", will be amended as a result. The question remains: what are we going to do about the discrimination that won't be addressed by those amendments?

For anyone who hasn't heard of Sharon McIvor v. Canada - a brief overview of the case is necessary. Sharon McIvor is a status Indian and member of the Lower Nicola Band in British Columbia. However, she wasn't always a status Indian. For most of her life, she was a non-status Indian because she traced her ancestry through her maternal side. Had she been able to trace her ancestry through her paternal side, status would not have been a question.

In 1985 when Bill C-31 was passed and the Indian Act was amended, McIvor applied for status. When her application for status was denied by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), she immediately appealed the decision to the Registrar at…

Mohawks or Canada's Disappearing Indians?

The subject of racial purity is such a large one that it would be impossible to do it any justice in a simple blog. Similarly, the idea of using blood quantum to determine an individual's identity and right to belong to their community is so complex that all I can expect to accomplish with this blog is provide food for thought. However, for those who are interested, I am currently editing my book on this subject in the hopes of publishing it sometime in 2010.

Over the last few weeks, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal media have picked up a story that strikes at the heart of what it means to be an Aboriginal person in Canada. Are Mohawks, Mi'kmaq, Cayuga, Cree and Maliseet the biological result of nothing more than a simple formula to determine one's blood purity - or does being Mohawk have more to do with common histories, ancestors, and territories or the sharing of common languages, customs, traditions and cultures? The Mohawk Indian Band Council in Kahnawake, through its Ind…

Aboriginal Peoples in NB not Consulted on Proposed Sale of NB Power to Québec

The Premier of New Brunswick (NB) announced in 2009 that NB had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hydro-Québec that would involve the transfer/sale of NB Power and/or its assets to Québec (or part thereof). Premier Shawn Graham explained that this is necessary for all New Brunswickers: "By entering into this agreement, New Brunswick is securing access to affordable, clean hydroelectricity, which will make the province's economy more competitive and provide a cleaner environment for future generations of New Brunswickers." The obvious question being: do New Brunswickers feel the same way?

It is the province's goal to enter into a legal, binding agreement with Hydro-Québec by March 31, 2010. I fail to see how the Premier could possibly finalize an agreement with Hydro-Québec by March 31, 2010, if he also plans on informing Aboriginal communities about how this deal might impact their Aboriginal and treaty rights, including their land claims and also eng…