Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity
The current Status criteria of the Indian Act contains descent-based rules akin to blood quantum that are particularly discriminatory against women and their descendants, which author Pamela Palmater argues will lead to the extinguishment of First Nations as legal and constitutional entities. Beginning with an historic overview of legislative enactments defining Indian status and their impact on First Nations, the author examines contemporary court rulings dealing with Indigenous identity, Aboriginal rights, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Palmater also examines band membership codes to determine if their reliance on status criteria perpetuates discrimination. She offers changes for determining Indigenous identity and citizenship and argues that First Nations must determine citizenship themselves.