Workshop Aims to Educate Those on the Effects the Indian Act has on Band Membership Eligibility

On September 6, 2019, QBOW Child and Family Services Inc. hosted a workshop at the Piapot First Nation Health Centre. The presentation was facilitated by Elaine Fourhorns-Oakes who spoke about the effects that the Indian Act has on band membership eligibility.

The various membership codes under Section 6 of The Indian Act were discussed along with the possible implications for First Nations who don’t have custom membership codes developed. It was explained that The Indian Act membership code applies by default when First Nations do not have a custom membership code.

This situation can be difficult for the affected First Nations to resolve because the membership list can place more control and authority with the Ministry of Crown and Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). In addition, the changes to The Indian Act membership code in 1985 due to Bill C-31, and various court cases such as Corbiere Lavell, Lovelace, and most recently the Daniels case were discussed. As a result, many First Nations may have difficultly providing programs and services to the influx of new members who have been added as a result of the changes to the legislation and subsequent court rulings.

Other Issues were explored such as ensuring both parents’ status are listed in the registration process at birth. These examples were cited as possible barriers to children obtaining their status and being classified into the proper membership categories within Section 6 of The Indian Act.

The information session was interactive, informative and provided a place for interested persons to gather and meet with one another to discuss their issues regarding band membership, the presentation was followed by a free lunch courtesy of QBOW Child and Family Services Inc.

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