Showing posts from July, 2010

Canada Lacks Authority to Legislate Extinction of Indians

I am in the process of editing my doctoral thesis into a book that will be published either late this year or early next. The topic is Aboriginal citizenship and how we need to think about Aboriginal identity and belonging in a different way. Canada has legislated our individual (status) and communal (membership) identities for so long that many of us have internalized the colonial views about what it means to be an Indian. I am a Mi'kmaq woman and traditionally, my identity had nothing to do with status and everything to do with culture, language, practices, beliefs, customs, common ancestries, histories and territories. Today, unfortunately, for all practical purposes Canada controls status which largely controls band membership and therefore "recognized" identity. Some of us have forgotten what it means to be Mi'kmaq, Mohawk or Cree and instead concentrate on Canada's Indian status, blood quantum, hair colour, or reserve residency as the only indicators of Abor

Letter to editor of Globe & Mail re Bill S-4

Dear editor; My name is Pam Palmater and I am a Mi'kmaq lawyer originally from New Brunswick and am now the Chair of Ryerson University's Centre for Indigenous Governance. I was called as an expert witness on several bills, including Bill S-4 - Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (otherwise referred to as MRP legislation). Please find attached a copy of my official submission to the Senate in this regard. However, I would also refer you to the transcript of Senate proceedings as this contains additional vital information about the Bill and its potential impacts. The reason for my letter to you today is because Mr. Curry, in his article dated July 6, 2010 and entitled "Senate approves bill to help abused, divorced aboriginal women", presented factually inaccurate information which serves only to perpetuate misleading information about the real issues and negative stereotypes about Aboriginal peoples. For example, while the sub-headline