Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fort William First Nation accepts non-Indigenous man as full member

As other First Nations take legal action to limit their membership and to exclude even fully Indigenous people who marry outsiders, the Fort William First Nation this year accepted four people as members who do not possess Indian status, which is recognition by the federal government that a person is registered under the Indian Act and entitled to the accompanying funding and benefits.

As I read this article, I was struck by the difference between what is happening in Fort William and how things are unfolding for the Qalipu. ​When First Nations have control over their own membership rolls without interference from the Federal government, they are able to make decisions that benefit their communities rather than divide them. I wonder about the families in Newfoundland who find that some members are not welcome or are excluded despite their ancestral and traditional connections to the people and the land. How terrible to be denied recognition by members of your own Mi'kmaw community.