Indian Act Amendment

Furthering the steps taken by the 1920 amendment that granted the superintendent general the authority to decide whether a woman who married a non-First Nations man was allowed to live on reserve, this amendment automatically enfranchised women who married non-status men, barring them from living on-reserve. It also forced enfranchised women to sell their reserve lands and to be paid the treaty monies to which they were entitled. This amendment also introduced the ‘double-mother’ rule, where a child whose mother or grandmother had obtained status solely through marriage automatically lost their status at age 21 [section 12(1)(a)(iv)]. Women were also allowed to vote in band elections with this amendment. Intoxicant prohibition was also reinforced, making it illegal for an Aboriginal person to possess alcohol or to be intoxicated both on and off-reserve. ---------------- In other sections, this Act removed some of the power of the Superintendent-General that existed in previous iterations, giving greater control to Aboriginal groups. However, significant power still lay in the hands of the Minister and Governor-in-Council. ------------------- Regulations concerning participation in ceremonies, attendance at fairs and rodeos, and expropriation of reserve lands that had been added mostly between 1890 and 1918 were removed in this version.

Although this amendment removed some of the sexism in the band election process, it added sexist membership and status rules for women that would remove Indian status for many women. It should also be noted that this discriminatory amendment (which required enfranchised women to sell their reserve land and barred them from living on reserves) left women who were victims of violence in a precarious position. It is quite possible that women who lived in isolated or remote rural communities would not have access or transportation to domestic violence shelters. And, if transportation were available, without having an alternate home, it is possible that leaving a partnership in which domestic violence were present would leave the enfranchised woman homeless. The harms associated with domestic violence can have significant long-term physical and psychological and effects for enfranchised women, and, in addition to these impacts, can have negative developmental effects on children as well. ---------------- This amendment, along with the 1956 amendment, opened the door for the Saskatchewan provincial government to request permission from the federal government for First Nations people to be able to purchase alcohol and patronize bars.
Rural or Urban
Start Date
Sub Event
Greater Federal Control Over First Nations Identity (1951 Amendments)