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First Nations women finally to be treated equally under Indian Act: Bennett

Last Updated Aug 16, 2019 at 10:01 pm PDT

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 4, 2019. The federal government has signed historic self-government agreements with the Metis nations of Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The agreements affirm the Metis right of self-government and formally recognize the mandates of the Metis nations in the three provinces. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

Past provisions within the Indian Act meant women lost their status when they married non-Indigenous men

Registration affords First Nations individuals federal benefits and services

OTTAWA — Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says First Nations women will finally be treated the same as men under the Indian Act.

Bennett says First Nations women and their descendants will be able to obtain equal status and category of membership as the First Nations men and their descendants.

She says that past provisions within the Indian Act meant women lost their status when they married non-Indigenous men while men who married non-Indigenous women kept their status.

The government says it has now brought provisions into force that allow registration by descendants born before April 17, 1985, who lost their status or were removed from band lists due to marriages to non-Indian men.

Registration affords First Nations individuals federal benefits and services, including access to post-secondary education funding and non-insured health benefits.

Parliament passed the Indian Act in 1876, giving the federal government enormous power over the control of registered First Nations people, bands and the reserve system.

The Canadian Press