Indian Act

The Indian Act is a federal legislation that provides basic legal status and privileges of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples or “Indians”.  The Act manages issues connecting to the legal definition of who may claim Indian status in Canada. The Canadian government first introduced the Indian Act in 1876. This act was based on the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and had a purpose of helping assimilate First Nations into the Canadian society. Though soon it changed through time with new regulations put on Indians as Canada developed. Aboriginals were free to leave behind their Indian status and become a full member of Canadian society. If you decided to have an Indian status then you were considered to be wards of the state, in which the Canadian Government had paternalistic duty to protect and civilize their “children”. The Indian Act included laws on status, voting, reserves, economic development, equal rights,deaths, wills, enfranchisement, education, drinking, management of money, land claims and mostly everything dealing with Aboriginals.

Bill C-31
The most important revision of the Indian Act would be Bill C-31. This bill is an extension to section 12-1 of the Indian Act. When a non-Indian woman marries an Indian man, she becomes a status Indian by law. Though when an Indian woman marries a non- Indian man,  she loses her status as an Indian. Thus, she no longer has the entitlements of health, education, home on the reserve, contact with the family as a regular status Indian. With Bill C-31 placed because  the equality section of the Charter of Rights, it has benefited women rights though still struck more problems. The Bill C-31 enables woman who had lost their Indian status and right because of marriage to a non-Indian men to gain their statuses back. Their children can receive Indian statuses as well, but their grandchildren do not. This discriminates against the further generations which will lose all those benefits. This act results in more issues.

You may read the Indian Act at this link:


“Indian Act (R.S.C., 1985, C. I-5).” Indian Act. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2012. aaaaaaa<;.


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