The Arbritary Enfranchisement of Indian WomenPublisher: Alberta Committee: Indian Rights for Indian Women, Edmonton, Canada
Year Published: 1976
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX259
A brief arguing for the amendment of certain provisions of the Indian Act providing for the involuntary enfranchisement of Indian women.
Abstract: This is a brief presented to the United Nations Association at Habitat '76. It argues for the amendment of certain provisions of the Indian Act providing for the involuntary enfranchisement of Indian women because they discriminate on the basis of sex.
This brief points out that as the law exists today an Indian male cannot be involuntarily enfranchised under any circumstances. On the other hand, the Indian Act provides that an Indian women who marries a non-status Indian or a white man loses her status as an Indian. Furthermore, when an Indian male is enfranchised his wife and children automatically forfeit their indian status. In the historic case of Lavall vs. Attorney General of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada is presently considering whether the Indian Act does discriminate against women on the basis of sex. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in this case will have substantial impact on the treatment of Indians and the interpretation of the Act. It will also illustrate the effectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights.
The brief asks for the establishment of equal status or equal rights for women within the class of Indian people. The Alberta Committee bases its argument on the birth rights or rights of human beings that have been enunciated in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (Article 15 & 16) and the Canadian Bill of Rights (s. (1)(b) and s. (2).