Bill C-3 Exploratory Process: Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nation Citizenship
In December 2010, when Bill C-3 (Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act) was introduced into Parliament, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) announced that Canada would engage in an "exploratory process" to examine issues related to Indian registration, membership and First Nation citizenship outside the scope of the legislation. The purpose of the exploratory process is to identify, examine and discuss the broader issues associated with Indian registration, Band membership and First Nation citizenship that go beyond the McIvor decision and the parameters of Bill C-3.
The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat (APC) is a non-profit corporation which represents 38 Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Innu First Nations Chiefs and their communities in the Atlantic and eastern Quebec regions and parts of Maine, USA. Its mandate is to "research, analyze and develop alternatives to federal policies affecting its member First Nations." APC, in its analysis of Bill C-3, and through input obtained from its member First Nation Chiefs and community members, determined that the Bill did not go far enough to remove all the discrimination within the registration provisions of the Indian Act.
The APC has received financial support from AANDC to undertake a lead role and activities in the Atlantic region to begin to gather information and examine and discuss these broader issues with its First Nation members. First Nation Governments have always maintained that they have jurisdiction over the issue of citizenship and Canada must recognize this and end the distinction between Indian Act registration status and band membership.
APC has developed a discussion paper to provide the background and overview of some of the related issues. We will also solicit feedback via our Facebook Group , surveymonkey and focus groups with Elders, Women, Youth and Indian Registry Administrators. While the timeline for the project is only six months (August-December 2011), we encourage you to continue to provide your feedback to us.
Wela'lioq/Woliwon - we look forward to hearing your comments and views on these very important issues.
If you have any questions or require further information, please feel free to contact:
Krista Brookes, Sr. Policy Analyst/Legal Advisor
Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs secretariat
153 Willowdale Drive, Cole Harbour reserve