Federal Court

Aboriginal Peoples

Not unreasonable to require person seeking membership to have cultural ties to band

Band membership committee revoked applicants’ membership in band because applicants’ names were entered on band list in error under s. 7 of Band Membership Code. Committee found applicants reached age of 18 when names were entered on list under provision of Code that applied only to applicants under age of 18. Application for judicial review was dismissed. Decision was not unreasonable for failing to comply with s. 10 of Indian Act (Can.) (“IA”). Two-part test of s. 7 of Code did not deny applicants right to have names entered on list. Two-part test was not inconsistent with s. 10(4) and (5) of Act. Applying two-part test to children of women whose membership was transferred to another band under s. 14 of former Indian Act (Can.), was not inconsistent with IA and fell within range of possible acceptable outcomes. Decision was not unreasonable in that it required applicants to apply for membership. When read in conjunction with provision for intertribal transfers in s. 10 of Code, two-part test was consistent with objective of maintaining economic stability while preserving cultural integrity and social harmony. It was not unreasonable for band to require person seeking membership under s. 7 of Code to have sufficient cultural ties to band. It was within range of possible acceptable outcomes for band to require such persons to join band while persons were young enough to be raised in order to strengthen cultural ties.

Norris v. Matsqui First Nation (Dec. 12, 2012, F.C., Michel M.J. Shore J., File No. T-654-12) 224 A.C.W.S. (3d) 240.

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