[Carol Williams,1999]. There had been growing disparity in the well-being of people, especialy women between indigenous poulations and other populations.
Overall, the disparity in well-being between the matched reserve/non-reserve pairs was very similar to the disparity between the complete set of reserves and other Canadian communities. This appears to suggest that no significant portion of the disparity between reserves and other communities can be attributed to either location or population size. Once gross geography was taken into account, however, we noticed that reserve communities nearer urban areas were more similar to their non-reserve matched community than reserves in more isolated parts of the country. With few notable exceptions, the disparities between reserves and their non-reserve community matches increased with geographic isolation. [ White & Maxim, 2007]
The Indian Act ("An Act respecting Indians"), R.S., 1985, c. I-5, is a Canadian statute that concerns registered Indians (that is, First Nations peoples of Canada), their bands, and the system of Indian reserves. The Indian Act was enacted in 1876 by the Parliament of Canada under the provisions of Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, which provides Canada's federal government exclusive authority to legislate in relation to "Indians and Lands Reserved for Indians". The Indian Act is administered by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.[ Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, page 25]
In 1876, the Canadian Parliament amended the Indian Act to establish patrilineality as the criterion for determining Indian status and all commensurate rights of Indian people to participate in band government, have access to band services and programs, and live on the reserves. [Barker, Joanne, 2006]. According to this Act, a woman marrying a non-Indian would lose her Indian status and rights.Often, she was ostracised by her own family and society.
However, on the insistence of Women's Rights and Human Rights Acitivsts, there were many amendments in the Indian Act from 1983 to 1985.These amendments partially reversed the 1876 criteria for obtaining Indian status. Male-dominated band councils and Indian organizations protested vehemently against the women and their allies. They were accused of being complicit with a long history of colonization and racism that imposed, often violently, non-Indian principles and institutions on Indian peoples. [Barker, Joanne, 2006].
Of the various amendments have been brought about in The Indian Act, the most noteworthy is Bill C-31. This particular amandment changed the registration system so that entitlement was no longer based on sexually discriminatory rules [DIAND, 1995 ].However, two categories of persons were excluded from registration under the C-31 provisions:
women who gained status only through marriage to a status Indian, and later lost it (e.g. through re-marriage to a non-Indian); and
children whose mother gained Indian status through marriage and whose father is non-Indian.
Krosenbrink-Gelissen& Lilianne E have discussed the role of Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) at length. They look into the scope of the challenges that the Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms raise for