Originally Posted by Swan3
As a side note, I remember speaking with a guy here who was Cree and telling him about my heritage and how I also was part "Indian" (forgive the term - it was the 90s) as most Latin Americans are, just Natives from further south...he was furious and told me I was only part "Indian" if I had a treaty card....So now we're defining who we are by the colonial systems put in place. HA!
Now I know what really annoyed me about this part of your post.
Bill C-31, I believe it was. When Bill C-31 was passed in 1985, it caused so much division and dissent amongst the Native population of Canada- and with good reason, in some sense.
If you don't know the history of the Natives in Canada, here's a quick rundown. Treaties were signed, you had to be "full blood" to be assigned a Treaty card/number- if your mother was white, she would be considered Indian, since she had married an Indian. If your father was white, you were white and so was your mother. After the initial assignment of treaty numbers and cards, descendants of these people were given a number based on their forefathers' number. You could lose your "Treaty" for any of the following:
1) going to university
2) joining the military
3) you could sell it to the government
4) if you were woman, marry a white (non-Treaty) man
These were all true until 1936, I believe it was, when they overturned the choice of selling your Treaty- but they did not reinstate any Treaty rights to those people who had opted to sell them. Then in the '60s sometime I believe, you could no longer lose it if you went to University or if you joined the military- again, Treaty rights were not reinstated. The only way to lose your "Treaty" now was to be a woman and marry someone without "Treaty".
With regards to "Treaty" rights, your children were better off if you had them out of wedlock if you were a woman and the father was white. If you married and the marriage ended for any reason, your rights were not reinstated- you could not return to the reservation and usually you were shunned by your family. (I saw with regard to Treaty rights- remember that you could not legally leave the reservation if you were Indian without very specific circumstances being met until the 1960s.) But if you were male and married a white woman, she was welcomed into the community with open arms and a Treaty number just for her!
So, the low down basically is this: You're a Native male, you marry a white woman, have kids who're *technically* 1/2 "blood quantum" but, by law, they are full blooded. One of them is a male who marries a white woman resulting in 1/4 "blood quantum" kids- still considered full blooded. One of them is female, she marries a full blooded Native man and her kids are 3/4 "blood quantum". One of the "1/4 blood quantum" grandkids is male and marries yet another white woman, resulting in 1/8 blood quantum great grandkids STILL considered full blooded. Another of the "3/4 blood quantum" grandkids is female and marries a white man resulting in "3/8 blood quantum" great grandkids- but they're not "Indian" since she has married out.
When Bill C-31 was brought in, it reinstated Treaty rights to women who had married out. It did not take away the rights of anyone who was already registered (including the white women who had married into Treaty).
However, what Bill C-31 *did* do is made it so that if a family "married out" twice in 2 generations, they would lose their Treaty rights. So, for the first time since the amendments removing the loss of Treaty through University or military means, men's children could now lose their Treaties. However, since the white women who married into Treaty were still considered full Treaty (and therefor so were their children regardless of actual "blood quantum"), this Bill didn't really effect their kids. It did, however, effect the kids of any woman who had been "reinstated". Their kids (who, remember, were not raised on reserve, were not usually recognized as part of the Tribe their whole lives, etc etc) suddenly were told "Well, yes, you *are* Indian, but if you don't marry an Indian, your kids aren't." In some cases, this already effected the grandkids. Not so for the men.
Sorry. I'll get off my soap box now. This is really just something that makes my head explode. Perhaps my hatred of the term "white Indian" makes a little more sense now- it was generally used to describe white women who had married Native men specifically for the purpose of getting Treaty rights, and the children of these women. Even if the woman left the man, she retained her Treaty rights as long as she didn't marry a man who didn't have Treaty rights. This meant she could have children with any man she chose to, so long as she didn't marry him, and they would still be considered full blooded Indians.