How to Use this Blog

Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.
ALSO, if you buy any of the books at the links provided, the editor will earn a small amount of money or commission. (we thank you) (that is our disclaimer statement)

This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

2019: This blog was ranked #50 in top 100 blogs about adoption. Let's make it #1...

2019: WE NEED A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Commission in the US now for the Adoption Programs that stole generations of children... Goldwater Institute's work to dismantle ICWA is another glaring attempt at cultural genocide.


Search This Blog

Monday, February 4, 2013

Canada's unstated paternity policy amounts to genocide against Indigenous children


By Dr. Lynn Gehl Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-KweJanuary 29, 2013

Source: http://rabble.ca/news/2013/01/canadas-unstated-paternity-policy-amounts-cultural-genocide-against-indigenous-children


Canada commits genocide of 25,000 Indigenous children through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) unstated paternity practice, yet relies on language -- unstated paternity -- that blames their mothers.

In 1943, Raphael Lemkin first coined the term "genocide" and proceeded to define the term. Interestingly, what many people do not know is that Lemkin defined genocide in cultural terms rather than in terms of killing and mass murder. More specifically, Lemkin defined genocide as having two stages. The first involves the denial of an oppressed group's national pattern; and the second stage involves the imposition of the oppressor's national pattern.

When the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations in December 1948, Lemkin's definition was included within the definition. Article 2 of the Convention codifies five genocidal practices and states that any of these acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, constitutes genocide. These five practices are: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and, forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

That said, when I think about the issue of unknown and unstated paternity and the Indian Act, specifically about AANDC's unstated paternity policy, or internal practice or whatever they want to call it, I realize it is in fact genocide. As many know, Indian status is delineated into two subsections of section 6 of the Indian Act: subsection 6(1) and subsection 6(2). While mothers registered under subsection 6(1) are able to pass on status to their children in their own right, this is not the case with mothers registered under subsection 6(2), also known as a weaker form of status. In the event that a father’s signature is missing or not found on a child’s birth registration form, the Registrar of AANDC assumes a negative presumption of paternity, meaning the Registrar assumes non-Indian paternity. This means that the children born of mothers registered under subsection 6(2) are vulnerable as their children are now considered to be non-status and thus not entitled to their treaty rights such as health care and education rights, First Nation band membership, and First Nation citizenship.

Many know by now that Indigenous women are victims of a higher rate of sexual violence such as incest, rape, gang rape, sexual slavery and prostitution. This situation has been brought on through the oppression of colonization, the denial of our rights as Indigenous people, the denial of our land and resources, the residential and day school systems, and the criminalization of our cultures and Indigenous knowledge systems. In any sexist and racist society young Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable. Research has shown that 45 per cent of the children born to status Indian mothers 15 years of age or younger do not have their father’s signature on their birth registration form.

It is precisely at this moment where Canada's practice falls within the parameters outlined in the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Specifically, when a father's signature is not placed on a child's birth registration form and the mother is registered under subsection 6(2) of the Indian Act, AANDC's unstated paternity policy transfers [read commits the genocide] these children from their First Nation community into mainstream Canadian society.

It is crucial that I point out that in the process of committing genocide Canada relies on language that blames mothers, as in "unstated paternity." While AANDC's unstated paternity policy targets Indigenous mothers for the lack of the father's signature, there are many instances where a mother, for very legitimate reasons, may refuse to obtain a man's signature, such as in the unfortunate situations of incest and rape. In addition, there are many situations where a father will not sign a birth registration form as they seek to avoid child support payments or because they need to preserve a previous relationship. Clearly, terms such as unreported, unnamed unacknowledged, unestablished, unrecognized, and unknown paternity are better signifiers of women's realities.

AANDC's genocidal policy continues to exist today despite the fact that section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was put in place in 1982 and is supposed to protect Indigenous women from sex discrimination. Furthermore, this genocidal policy exists today despite the long-time heroic efforts of Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell, Yvonne Bedard, Sandra Lovelace, and Sharon McIvor. It is clear to me that legislative change, such as the changes to The Indian Act that took place in 1985 and 2011, is not an avenue for Indigenous women. Clearly the government of Canada has merely manipulated moments of legislative change in their favour: genocide.

Through their unstated paternity policy, Canada perpetuates the sexual violence imposed on Indigenous women and commits genocide on their children. Since 1985, when this AANDC policy emerged, I estimate that as many as 25,000 Indigenous children have been affected by this genocidal practice.

In April 2012 Canadians celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Do you feel protected? Did you feel fuzzy and warm? I certainly did not and I am sure many Indigenous women and their babies stand with me on this.

Dr. Lynn Gehl is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act and she recently published a book titled Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts. You can reach her at lynngehl@gmail.com and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.

 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please: Share your reaction, your thoughts, and your opinions. Be passionate, be unapologetic. Offensive remarks will not be published. We are getting more and more spam. Comments will be monitored.
Use the comment form at the bottom of this website which is private and sent direct to Trace.

NEW WEB ADDRESS

Because we don't want to lose information on this blog, we now have a domain name: American Indian Adoptees.com - click and save this link:

We are no longer on Facebook. We deleted our accounts.

Do this TODAY

Do this TODAY

Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.