Case Study about the Indian Act-Bill C-31

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The Indian Act amendments have been and will always be the first expression of parliaments jurisdiction over the Indians and Lands that were reserved for them. This was always under the section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. The Act has been a form of agreement in defining the Indians status and purpose in determining their rights in a range of legislated rights as well as their rights for federal programs and services. Following a personal case study of the Sharon McIvor case, a registrar of the Indian and Northern Affairs; Sharon McIvor is a status Indian under 1985 amendments to the Act. Her children also have the situation in the country even though their father is a non-Indian. Sharons son Charles had soughed and married a non-Indian woman in the state and as a result of what has been known as the second generation that was referred to as the cut-off, their children did not own clear Indian status. Conversely, the children of Charles sister have status because their father is an Indian.

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McIvor says that the improper removal of Indian status to Charles children is largely discriminatory by sex. The conflict arises from the 1985 amendments, which removed women who lost their status as a result of marrying non-Indian men. The second generation cut-off, therefore, conducts its operations in other ways for those who can align their Indian lineage maternally versus those who align it through their paternal lineage. McIvors family provides a number of manifestation of the gender inequality, as some of her grandchildren are status Indians, because of their father, and some are not. The appeal court agreed that Section 6 of the Act was discriminatory, but determined that the trial judges characterization of the Charter violation was overly broad. The court held that the 1985 laws fail to comply with the Charter by the Indian status to children.

Indians who have only one parent who is Indian where that parent was born before April 17, 1985, and, that mother in turn only had one parent who was Indian (other than because of having married an Indian), if their Indian grandparent is a man, but not if their Indian grandfather is a woman.

The court ruled out that the grandchildren of a hypothetical brother of McIvor would have Indian status by section 6 of the Act and was held that the source of the inequality arose from the 1985 amendments. This was because it permitted enhanced status to the grandchildren of a male who married before 1985 when compared to a female in the same situations. McIvor opted to leave the decision to the High trial. If the amendments were granted, then there will be a terrific deal for the not pure non-Indians.

A more modern definition would be a form of self-identity based on ethnicity, factoring in ancestry, culture and lifestyle, the same way a person might describe themselves as french-Canadian or British-Canadian. The major difference is Indian status leads to the emergence of rights and entitlements to scarce lands and resources. An increase in the number of Canadians does not have the same administrative or economic disadvantages as an equivalent increase in the number of status Indians.

Introduction to Bill C-31

Bill C-31 is a bill that was used to amend the Indian Act, passed into law in the year 1985 in April. This bill was intended to bring the Indian Act into line with gender inequality under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The policy is also used to refer to the Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. It also includes the Marine Transportation Security Act and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act.It makes better the immigration and refugee protection act and protects the Minister in certain circumstances to designate as irregular arrival in Canada of a group of people.This was a significant change to Canadas refugee determination system that came into immediate effect to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The Canadian Council and members of the refugees are mostly concerned with those changes as they seem to have created a two-tier system of the refugee protection in Canada. This change makes the law protecting refugee most vulnerable to political whims rather than ensuring a fair and independent decision about who is and who is not a refugee. Bill C-31 enlarged band control over membership and community life; this enabled the Indians to make live in the Canadian government (Leslie, 2002). There are three principles that govern the Bill C-31 amendments;

Restoring the status of Indians and membership rights

Removal of discrimination

Increasing control over the Indian bands

Bill C-31 changed the registration system such that entitlement was not based on sexually discriminatory rules. Immigrants like Indians are protected by the bill of rights and freedoms act in various ways, but, even these have their disastrous impact on them. C-31 amendments, effective as from April 17, 1985, clearly distinguished and set rules for the Indian immigrants (Lawrence, 2003). The Bill stated that:

- men and women must be treated equally;

- restore Indian status for the ones that lost them through enfranchisement;

- prevent anyone from gaining or even losing status through marriage:

- allow registration of children born out of wedlock if either of the parents was a registered Indian.

Impact of Bill C31 to Immigrants and Refugees

Bill C-31 as a Canadian Statute has elicited mirage of reactions from both the natives Canadians and the Indian immigrants. This bill has been amended over the years, and it has been tailored to cover on governance, land use, healthcare, education and so on which is aimed at ensuring that the Indian immigrants are well accommodated within their residential places in the larger Canada. This bill set to prioritize how the Indian reserves were to operate by the Canadian rules and regulations. It all distinguished upon those Indians who were registered with the Canadian government and those who were not so as be able to issue membership with ease (Lawrence, 2003).

Bill C-31 was formulated as an attempt to oversee the Canadian government jurisdiction over the Indian immigrants. Its sole purposes were to ensure that land is reserved for the Indians under the Constitution Act of 1867 which had highlighted the status of Indians and their rights to be entitled to an number of rights as well as federal programs and services. The bill was tailored at ending gender discrimination within the Indian Act for the future, Restore Indian status and band membership rights to those who lost theirs under the discriminatory provisions and allowed groups to control their memberships as a step towards self-governance. This was fostered by the Canadian government through the Indian Act provisions which sought for Indian registration into First Nation group, therefore increasing the number of individual eligible for Indian registration.

According to the Canadian government, the Bill C-31 was intended to cater for the plight of the Aboriginal women and children who resided in the urban areas of the matrimonial real property regulations on reserves who experienced domestic violence and marital property woes. It sought to enhance equality of both men and women from both the races, restoring the Indians status by preventing losing of band membership through marriage and allowing registration of registered Indians children born out of wedlock (Abbott, 2003).

The Bill C-31 utilizes the Indian immigrants as the key Case studies who were faced with significant challenges which were relayed by these bills. The Indian Act was witnessed as regressive and paternalistic excesses which were attached to the Indians. The challenges which the Indian residence faced as a result of this Bill were; Indians living on reserves were not subjected to ownership of the land. Their assets were not subjected to seizure under legal process which denied them right to borrow money to purchase assets and matrimonial properties. Indian Aboriginal women and their children have been submitted to the legacy of discrimination. This was evident when an Indian woman marries a non-Indian man, she and the children of that marriage were denied Indian Status. These aspects of women and boys discrimination had lasted for 116 years i.e. from 1869 to 1985. The introduction of residential schools for the Indian childrens was enacted to enhance assimilation as a way of removing Indian children from the influence of their parents. The Indian Act naming policy which was an initiative by the federal government was aimed at enhancing assimilation during the nineteenth century aimed at extinguishing traditional ties surrounding the immigrants.

The Indian Act and Pass System was another key challenge that the Indians residents at the reserves were subjected to, as they were denied the permission to leave the reserves without authorizations from the I.D officials. This restriction was demoralizing as residents had to work for miles to reach the agent, others who were businessmen experienced loses as their products got spoilt on the way. More so the pass system was a means of separating the First Nations and the European farmers and also separating parents from visiting their children at residential schools.

The First Nations were forbidden from forming political organizations; soliciting funds were restricted unless one acquires a special license from the superintendent general. The First Nations were prohibited from taking alcohol, acquiring ammunitions, speaking their native dialect and practicing their religion. These challenges were seen as a great hindrance to the freedom and the rights of the First Nations. According to Bill C24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, the enactment amends the Citizenship Act to, among other things, update eligibility requirements for Canadian citizenship, strengthen security and Fraud provisions. This bill clearly elucidates the need for citizens to clarify the meaning of being a resident in Canada. It also modifies the period during which a permanent resident in Canada must reside to apply for citizenship. This, therefore, contradicts the law Bill C34, of the refugee and immigrants Protection Act as these laws were not implemented as quite.

Anticipated impacts on Bill C31

The expected implications of the Bill C-31, as an activist are scheduled to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada. The McIvor case study, a man who married a non-Indian man, sought to have herself and her son registered under paragraph 6(1)(c) of the Indian Act. The government agreed, and she and her son were successfully entitled to their entitled status. For a long time, the McIvor and her son have been challenging the government Acts post Bill C31 registration provisions as discriminatory by sex as they always favor the male line regarding registration. As an activist, the bill C31 is supposed to counter all the immigrants needs as the analysis predicts it consists of 10 clauses.


The Bill C31 affects a re-enactment of the paragraphs 6(1)(a) and (c) of the Indian Act, that is, those portions of registration section declare that. Taking a case study of the Indian immigrants like McIvor, her decision of challenging the government and heading towards the record of herself and her son, would be of no violence and effective too as of April 2010. This would be impacted to ensure the validity of, and continuity of programs to registration under the same paragraphs in British Columbia after Bill C31 comes into light. This clause stated that any immigrant or before April 17th, 1985, and is a direct descendant of a registered...

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