22 August

Kahnawake, August 22nd, 2019 – Quebec Native Women (QNW) is pleased to learn that the suspended provisions of Bill S-3 have finally come into force, more than a year and a half after Royal Assent of the Bill. With the removal of the 1951 cut-off, for the first time since 1876, the first year of the Indian Act, indigenous women and men are now equal before the law.

Initially founded to fight against this discrimination, QNW wishes to honor all the women who fought to advance this cause, including its former presidents. It’s the courage and determination of women like Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, Sharon McIvor and many others who made this victory possible.

It is important to remember, however, that this gender-based discrimination has caused terrible harm to Indigenous women, their children and our nations. Women have been forced out of their communities because of loss of status, families have been torn apart, entire generations have been deprived of their culture and language. The link between this discrimination and violence against Indigenous women has been recognized time and time again.

“QNW will continue to fight against all forms of violence, injustice and discrimination against Indigenous women. The time is now to repair the damage caused by this discrimination. “- Viviane Michel, QNW President.

The elimination of gender discrimination in the Indian Act is certainly a historic victory for Indigenous women and their descendants. However, at this time of celebration, it is important not to lose sight of the racist and assimilationist roots of the Indian Act.

QNW is committed to continuing to fight against this archaic regime as well as for the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples and the full political participation of Indigenous women, while respecting our right to equality and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.