We asked readers who have been affected by the Federal Court's ruling on Metis and non-status Indians to share their stories. Here are some of their responses:
This ruling changes my life. I've been caught in a legal quagmire for 10 years stemming from Indian Status. My mother is a registered Indian of Canada but I could never qualify because of the discrimination in Bill C-3 Gender Equity, that even in 2011's most recent changes, still has stipulations on it that I can not meet (i.e. my grandmother did not marry her non-Indian partner). To make matters worse, I was born in the USA. My mother brought me to Canada as a child to be near the rest of our family. I've grown up, gone to school and created my own home and family here since.
After turning age 18, I had to obtain my own Indian Status or Immigration Status to remain in Canada. I could not apply with Immigration because of my 'unrecognized' form of entry. In other words, I was legally "protected" in Canada until I was 18 through my mother but an application to continue remaining is non existent. So what has this ruling done for me? I have my invisible right I've searched, hoped, prayed, worked and cried for: the right to remain. The right to stay near my family. My son will have the right to his Child Tax Benefits like every other Canadian-born child. I have the right to work and be allowed to use my skills.
Heather Hanois, Ontario
I am a citizen of the Metis Nation of Ontario. I currently have harvesting rights in a defined territory. We have three children in university. I do not expect an immediate change from this ruling. We will continue to pay our children's tuition nd living expenses for university, we will continue to pay HST and income taxes, but I m hopeful that our children will experience a future improvement. I do feel the Metis are harassed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and treated very differently from First Nations and I am hopeful that relationship will improve immediately.
Dennis Higgs, North Bay, Ont.
As a hard working successful Metis woman, nothing will change, I have learned to balance my traditions with my career. I will continue to be a role model for my children and my community. I am proud of the systems we have in place and the freedoms we have as Canadians. As far as I'm concerned, we are one nation with one people. Our rich culture was founded on the backs of many, and I'm proud of all our forefathers.
Annette Ozirny, Bonnyville, Alta.
I do not seek to be regarded as an "Indian" in today's age, nor do I look forward to any government "handouts" (the very notion itself is absurd). What I do look forward to is a renewed relationship between the Crown and my people, where we have the same level of political capital as other Aboriginal people in this country to seek redress for historic wrongdoings such as the failure of the Crown to help secure a homeland for the Metis people, forcing them to become squatters in their indigenous territory. Today, as I look over found archival documents which brazenly display forged signatures of my great grandfather's name on a land transfer affidavit, I realize that I have hope for the future.
Nathan Carleson, Edmonton
I don't want a card to prove my race. I am fine with the way things are personally, I don't want people judging me anymore.
Connie Potvin, St. Albert, Alta.