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Bill C-31 and C-3

Bill C-31 amended the Indian Act in 1985.

The Bill intended to ensure the Indian Act was equal with the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Bill enabled women and their children who had previously lost their Indian Status to regain Status. In addition, Bill C-31 ensured a person's marriage couldn't affect their Indian Status.

Some of the changes included:

  1. Indigenous women who married non-Indigenous men no longer lost their Status.

  2. Indigenous women who had lost their Status because they married non-Indigenous men were able to regain it – this included their children as well.

  3. The process of enfranchisement was removed.

  4. The Indian Registrar could no longer remove Indigenous Peoples from the Indian Registrar who had the right to registration.

  5. And, individuals who were voluntarily or involuntarily enfranchised under the Indian Act were allowed to regain their Indian Status.

Although the Bill intended to address several problems, it also created several more. Second-generation "cut-off" was introduced – meaning a person's grandchildren were not entitled to Indian Registration if they had multiple non-Indigenous parents and grandparents.

Bill C-3, the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act, was passed in 2010.

Bill C-3 aimed to address the problems created by Bill C-31 by fixing gender-based discrimination against Indigenous women and their descendants.

For more information, check out the link explaining Bill C-31 and Bill C-3 (provided by the Assembly of First Nations) below.


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