Changes to Indian Act to restore full legal status to First Nations women and descendants

The federal government has decided to change course on its proposed legislation to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act.

The Senate was told yesterday that the government is offering to make a change that would restore full legal status to First Nations women and their descendants born prior to 1985.

The measure moved Indigenous Senator Lillian Dyck to tears, saying the motion represents something First Nations women have been waiting on for nearly 150 years.

The Indian Act, which dates back to 1876, remains the primary law defining the relationship between the federal government and First Nations across the country.

Its original definitions focused primarily on men, denying women many of the same privileges and powers as their male counterparts when it came to their Indian status.