My colleague Kate Sutherland (@lawandlit) sent me a link to this fascinating and beautiful artwork. Resonates on so many levels – raising questions about textual meaning, and the way laws come to be and many more…. Have a look. I wonder where this work is now.
This video comes via the UBC Law Centre for Feminist Legal Studies. It is about two or three years old. In it, Sharon McIvor speaks about the continuing sex discrimination in the Indian Act, starting from the Act’s original disenfranchisement of status women who married non-Indians. She refers to a long line of women who have also moved this issue forward, including Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere Lavell and Yvonne Bédard, (AG Canada v. Lavell  SCR 1349), Sandra Lovelace (now a Canadian senator) who took her case to the UN [Sandra Lovelace v Canada, Communication No R6/24, UN Doc Supp No 40 (A/36/40). Lovelace v Canada, UN Petition R 6/24 (1981) Report of the Human Rights Committee, UN GAOR, 36th Sess, Supp No 40, UN Doc A/36/40 (1981); Lovelace v Canada, 24/1977, UN Doc CCPR/C/13/D/24/1977 (1981)]
Sharon’s case isn’t a marrying out case (see around minute 20 where she explains this). Her father’s mother was a person who lost status by marrying a man without status but with Indian heritage, so her father did not have status. Her maternal grandmother had status, and never married, but her mother was never registered.The timeline and the details of the delays in a case that began in 1985 is, I think, important for all people who work with law. Sharon (a lawyer who holds an LLM, and has been widely published) describes being cross examined over a four day period. Here are the cases – first, the decision she describes around minute 40 2007 BCSC 8270 and then at the BCCA: McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs), 2009 BCCA 153 (CanLII).
The whole thing is about an hour. Listen to the voice of a woman who has pushed for justice for decades. She is frank about the battles she has fought within Aboriginal organizations – but in the end, in her case, all the intervening associations ended up supporting her.