Ending the practice of legislative assimilation and advocating in support of First Nations' inherent right to exercise jurisdiction over citizenship.

Our Work We work to advance the right to self‑determination over Citizenship for First Nations.

Through the Indian Act, the Government of Canada provided an oppressive system of legislative assimilation that caused severe harm to generations of First Nations, particularly women and their descendants. The AFN Rights & Justice Branch works to reform elements of the Indian Act surrounding enfranchisement, deregistration, the second-generation cut-off and membership and promote First Nations’ rights to self-determination over citizenship.

Initiatives & Priorities The policy areas, initiatives and committees advocating for First Nations' inherent right to exercise jurisdiction over citizenship.

Gender Discrimination Reforms

The AFN continues to call on the Government of Canada to address all remaining impacts of gender discrimination arising from the Indian Act. This includes ensuring that the descendants of First Nations women who faced gender discrimination through the Indian Act are eligible for status. The Government of Canada must ensure that the process for gaining status is timely, efficient, and responsive to the needs of community members.

Reversal of Legislative Assimilation

The AFN advocates for an end to the practice of legislative assimilation through the Indian Act and the full recognition of First Nations’ inherent right to self-determination over citizenship. The Government of Canada must work in full and meaningful collaboration with First Nations to develop options to recognize First Nations’ exclusive responsibility to determine their citizenship structures. This will require the Government of Canada to provide sufficient resources to ensure that First Nations can establish and maintain their own citizenship laws and processes.

While engaged in the broader effort to move beyond the registration provisions of the Indian Act, the AFN continues to monitor proposed legislative amendments to the Indian Act. This includes calling on the Government of Canada to fulfill its obligations to consult with and accommodate First Nations, and obtain their free, prior and informed consent before enacting changes that could impact First Nations’ rights and interests.

Documents The latest resources on this topic.

These are our latest reports, resolutions and other documents on the subject of Citizenship. To see more documents on this topic, and all other public AFN documents, visit the Document Library.

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Assembly of First Nations
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Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6L2

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