Aboriginal Women Are Oppressed In Society

1851 words - 7 pages

Throughout history, women have been the victims of oppression in society. In specific, Aboriginal women have suffered through racism, sexism, domestic violence, and over-representation. Through the implementation of the Indian Act, Aboriginal women have been forced to abandon their culture in order to assimilate into Canadian society. The effects of colonization has changed the way Aboriginal women are treated; emotionally and physically, and therefore are the source of oppression today.
The Indian Act was created under the provisions section 91 of the Constitution Act of 1867 (Moss, 1990). The act was implemented to define who an “Indian” is and the rights that come with the title. These rights pertain to status, bands and reserves for the Aboriginals. "The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change” (John A Macdonald, 1887). The Canadian Federal government of 1867’s goal was to regulate and administer in the affairs of Indians. Subsequently, the Second World War made humans become more aware of the concept of human rights. For all of the Aboriginals lost during the war and ones used for labor, led to a revision of the Indian Act in 1951. This revision did not take out the oppressive concepts, but rather revised the unsuccessful acts, and ultimately left the Indian Act intact.
Regarding the amendments to the Indian Act, none of the oppressive concepts were discussed and it was under scrutiny from the start. It was highly criticized for gender bias under determining the status of women and their Aboriginal rights. Under legislation, an Aboriginal women who marries a non-Aboriginal man would forfeit her status of an Indian and that means she would lose everything that comes with an Indian status (Mathyssen, 2011). Treaty benefits, health, rights to living on the reserve and property are forfeited as a result of losing Indian status. This also happens when an Indian women gets married to another Indian man. She loses her rights to her own band, and has to become a member of her husband’s band. Ultimately, if the women becomes widowed or abandoned then she loses all status of being an Indian all together. On the other hand, men can marry a non-status woman and all of his rights would be kept. With strides of equality throughout history, it takes a step back when Aboriginal women are entirely dependent of their husband. Several cases were took to court in the 1970’s, but not until 1980 is when there was a connection found between the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Canadian Human Rights Act. With this section in direct violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the removal of a woman’s Indian status while marrying a non-Indian man was done and Bill C-31 was passed so victims of the Indian Act can be reimbursed. However, Bill C-31 is still under...

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