This post was originally published on Julie S. Lalonde's blog, Yellow Manteau. I talk for a living. I wear many hats in my day-to-day, but I get paid to talk and in particular, as a public educator. I visit communities, elementary schools, high schools, campuses, military bases, faith groups, various workplaces and everything in between to talk sexual violence, bystander intervention and community support. I’ve worked in this field for over a decade. In that time, I’ve given literally hundreds of workshops, lectures, presentations and spoken on panels. I’m a busy bee. There appears to be a lot of mythology around the work I do and in particular, the reception I get. There’s this idea that everywhere I go is a giant love-in. Maybe it’s because my work is so visible in the media or because I have a lot of followers on Twitter or because I’ve won awards. Or maybe it’s part of some right-wing conspiracy that the world is super feminist and misandrist. Je ne sais pas.
INAC's Unstated Paternity Policy and 6(1)a All the Way
From 1876 through 1985, when a woman registered as a status Indian married a white man, she and their children were denied Indian status registration; at the same time, when a man registered as a status Indian married a white woman, he could pass on status registration to her and their children.
In 1985, the Indian Act was amended to remove this sex discrimination. The argument was that this legislative remedy would bring the Indian Act in line with section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, these changes have come under criticism. Indigenous advocates have pointed out that sex discrimination continues through the second-generation cut-off rule and the way it is applied faster to re-instated Indian women and their children born before 1985. Further, a new form of sex discrimination was created known as “unknown and unstated paternity” - when a father did not sign his child’s birth certificate, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) assumed he was a non-Indian man.
Lynn Gehl, Ph.D., is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe advocate, artist, and writer. She’s spent more than 30 years working on a Charter challenge regarding sex discrimination in the Indian Act as it relates to INAC’s unstated paternity policy. Lynn was denied status because her paternal grandfather is unknown. In April 2017, Lynn was granted the lesser form of status known as 6(2) registration. We spoke to Lynn about her court challenge.
There were sparkly red stilettos, strappy metallic sandals, and snakeskin mules. Many men put on high heels with pride (and with socks) for the White Ribbon Campaign’s annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes fundraiser earlier this month. “It was inspiring to see so many people walking to create awareness about violence against women and showing their support for the work of White Ribbon,” says Kevin Vowles, the organization’s Community Engagement Manager. Since 1991, the White Ribbon Campaign has rallied men and boys to become allies in ending violence against women. Before joining the organization, Kevin spent four years working with youth in a teen healthy relationships program on Salt Spring Island, B.C. that has received funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
Here at the Canadian Women's Foundation, one of the requests we get most from media is "can you connect me with a survivor?"
In the best-case scenario, it's because the reporter wants to personalize and contextualize the issue so that they, and their readers, come away with a better understanding and can work toward ending violence.