Who should qual­ify for in­dige­nous ben­e­fits?

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY -

It seems that our in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion is in­creas­ing by leaps and bounds. it seems that back in the day, the fed­eral govern­ment made the de­ci­sion that an in­dige­nous fe­male who mar­ried a non in­dige­nous male would lose her treaty rights. The bands took this one step fur­ther and said they could no longer live on the reser­va­tions as well. If, how­ever, an in­dige­nous male mar­ried a non-in­dige­nous fe­male, he did not lose his treaty rights. In 1985, Bill-C31 was en­acted to rec­tify this state of af­fairs. The onus was on the fe­male to prove her case, which for some be­came a hard­ship, be­cause of lack of funds to pur­sue their case. Also there was still bias in the male favour since his off­springs had no prob­lem claim­ing sta­tus, the fe­male’s off­spring’s did not qual­ify in the same man­ner. Bill-C3 was passed to cor­rect this in­equity, but ac­tu­ally con­tin­ues the dis­crim­i­na­tion. Grand chil­dren born be­fore 1951, who come down through the ma­ter­nal line do not get sta­tus, while a pa­ter­nal line would qual­ify. Jus­tice Mur­ray Sin­clair is work­ing to cor­rect this sit­u­a­tion and I ap­plaud his ef­forts. I do won­der though about the fact that some peo­ple who should not qual­ify can do so with ease. An ex­am­ple is my for­mer sonin-law whose mother reg­is­tered him in her for­mer hus­bands name, who had sta­tus - which would have qual­i­fied him to ap­ply. To his credit he never did be­cause he knew his real father was not an in­dige­nous per­son. I have also read that there are thou­sands who are ap­ply­ing who have no proof to in­dige­nous blood. The fact is that the govern­ment could be on the hook for mil­lions of dol­lars of tax­pay­ers money to sat­isfy these claims. So what do we do to weed out the un­qual­i­fied, who are by hookor-crook go­ing to try to get on the gravy train. My so­lu­tion would be to do a DNA test on peo­ple who are ap­ply­ing to see how much in­dige­nous blood they ac­tu­ally have. I would think the cut­off should be be­low 25 per cent. I have no prob­lem with the govern­ment sat­is­fy­ing le­gal claims, but do worry about the scam­mers. Wal­ter Jones col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News.

Wal­ter Jones

Walt’s World

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