Why does the nation need a membership code?
The current Status Indian registry system was not created by us. It does not reflect our nations belief systems, natural laws and inherent jurisdiction to define who we are as a collective (sense of belonging to a group). The current Status Indian registry system could decimate our status as a ‘band’ as less and less of our members become ineligible to register under the Indian Act rules. Our population according to the Indian Registry system will be in continual decline until their are no longer registered “Status Indians” to be on a band list.
What are the Indian Act rules?
Under the Indian Act, the Federal government decides who is eligible to register as a status Indian under section 10 of the Indian Act. “Indian Status” refers to specific legal identity of an Aboriginal person in Canada. Since 1876, when the Indian Act was created, the federal government developed criteria for who would be legally considered an “Indian.”
Amendments to the Indian Act occurred in 1985 and 2011, after court cases were won by women who were discriminated against by virtue of being a woman and had their status taken away.
Under what authority can we define our own membership?
The department maintains two lists: the Indian Registry (listing of status Indians) and a Band List. First Nations can opt to maintain their own Band List (Membership) by virtue of s.10 of the Indian Act.
- Inherent Jurisdiction
- Section 10 of the Indian Act
Section 10 of the Indian Act makes provisions for ‘bands’ to develop their own membership codes. Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is starting down the path to develop our own Membership Code wherein we can decide who is a member of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and this can be based on our customary law and tradition. However, it must be remembered that the Membership Code will not grant status. Applications for status will still need to be made to Indian Affairs.
3. Self Government
How do band members provide feedback?
Have your say! Take time to download and provide feedback on who you think should belong to our nation. Submissions will be accepted till March 31, 2016 to inform the first draft of the membership code. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off at the band office. Once the first draft is completed further consultations will occur over the coming months. Click the following links: