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Response Paper: "The Implications Of The Lavell Case"

835 words - 3 pages

Original article fund here: http://www.bccla.org/positions/discrim/72lavell.htmlAboriginal identity has two polices; one is based on the person's biology/ race or blood quantum. The other subjective is self-definition and cultural affiliations (Martin - Hill, 2006).To be an Indian in Canada is not just a cultural identity but also a legal category. The Canadian State, rather than aboriginal communities themselves, has, through the Indian Act of Canada, historically legislated who is an Indian. One of the most glaring examples of the inequities embedded in this process is the treatment of women. Until 1985, with the passing of Bill C-31, status Indian men who married white women, kept their status and their enrollment in their bands; their wives became status Indians, and their children were considered to be status Indians. But status Indian women who married white men (or even non-status Indian men or Métis men) lost their status and lost the right to pass this status to their children. Additionally, they lost their right to be band members and were not permitted to live on reserves. Even upon the dissolution of the marriage, these women were not able to regain their status and then rejoin their families in their communities (Frideres, 2001).In the Lavell and Bedard Cases two native women fought against the complexities of the Aboriginal women's sexual equality problem. According to Frideres, Jeanette Corbiere Lavell married a non-Indian, by whom she now has a child. The Registrar struck her name from the Indian register on the grounds that, as she married a non-Indian, she was no longer entitled to Indian status. She appealed the decision of the Registrar. Judge Crossber of the Ontario County Court rejected the appeal and a further appeal was taken to the Federal Court of Appeal. On that appeal Mr. Justice Thurlow ruled that the section depriving Jeanette Lavell of status upon marriage was discriminatory on the basis of sex because an Indian male did not lose status on marriage to a non-Indian woman. Section 12(1)(b) was held to be inconsistent with the Canadian Bill of Rights (BCCLA, 1972). In somewhat of the same situation, another women named Yvonne Bedard lost her Indian status after she had married a non-status man. After separating from her husband she returned to the reserve with two children of the marriage. At first she was permitted to reside on the reserve by the Band Council. Later they ruled that she and her children must leave. Mrs. Bedard obtained an injunction from Mr. Justice Osler of the...

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