Marilou McPhedran in the news


FEMRAM member and Manitoba Senator Marilou McPhedran was featured in the article

“Liberals show signs of compromise over Indian status” on August 10, 2017, in the Winnipeg Free Press.

The article is about McPhedran’s efforts to change the legal rules governing Indian status in Canada following the Descheneaux decision. Deschenaux v. Canada was a lawsuit challenging historical discrimination against women in Canada’s Indian Act. The Indian Act historically denied women who marry non-Indigenous men and their descendants Registered Indian status.

McPhedran amended Bill S-3, which governs who is legally classified as Registered Indian in Canada. She proposed that it should apply to cases dating back to 1876, following years of struggle for recognition by First Nations women’s rights activists. The case has significant implications for which First Nations people are permitted to register and pass on Indian status. Registration has cultural, legal, and human rights implications.

Before 1985, Indian women had their Registered status revoked if they married a non-Indigenous man, and their descendants were ineligible to register. While part of the law changed in 1985, the legacy of discrimination continues to have an impact today. The Canadian government recently asked for another extension before it responds to the Deschenaux ruling.

Senator McPhedran has a distinguished record of constitutional scholarship and advocacy for women’s human rights. She is Professor at The University of Winnipeg Global College in Manitoba.

For more information about the history of the Indian Act and First Nation’s women’s rights, read this this or this.