North Bay Nugget
Work is underway to develop an Anishinabek citizenship law that would replace the Indian Act’s “status Indian” membership. John Beaucage, the Grand Council Chief of the Union of Ontario Indians, said in a news release Thursday developing citizenship laws will go a long way in allowing First Nations to govern themselves.
“The basic underlying principle of self-government is that First Nations have the inherent and inalienable right to determine who our citizens are,” Beaucage said.
“Canada says they support First Nation self-determination, and recognizing our right to say who belongs to our communities is fundamental to that concept.”
Beaucage said British Columbia’s Supreme Court recently tossed out a section of the 130-year-old federal Indian Act which determines who is entitled to access to education and health care benefits.
“We reject the Indian Act in its attempt to legislate and define who an Anishinabek Nation citizen is, and as such, we reject the concept of Indian Status,” said Beaucage.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The union is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario.