Metis and non-status Indians declared ’Indians’ under Constitution Act: court

The Canadian Press
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OTTAWA — The Federal Court has ruled Metis and non-status Indians are indeed “Indians” under a section of the Constitution Act, and fall under federal jurisdiction.

The decision helps to clarify the relationship between Ottawa and the more than 600,000 aboriginal people who live off-reserve.

While the decision does not go so far as to declare that the federal government has a fiduciary responsibility to the group, it says such duties would flow automatically now that their standing has been clarified.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and several Metis and non-status Indians took the federal government to court in 1999 alleging discrimination because they are not considered “Indians” under a section of the Constitution Act.

They argued they are entitled to some or all of the same rights and benefits as on-reserve First Nations members.

They say that includes access to the same health, education and other benefits Ottawa gives status Indians; being able to hunt, trap, fish and gather on public land; and the ability to negotiate and enter treaties with the federal government.

The congress and the Metis and non-status Indians involved in the case alleged in court documents that they’ve been the victims of “deprivations and discrimination” by the federal government.

Organizations: Federal Court, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, First Nations

Geographic location: OTTAWA

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  • A Mi'kmaq Guy
    January 08, 2013 - 20:06

    Really? They're still using the term Indian? I'm not offended, but a bit surprised, isn't that considered "politically incorrect" nowadays? lol