While this advice I offer here is not full-proof, this is what I suggest.
When it comes to Indian status registration, AANDC will not act in your best interest. Do not think they will. Ultimately it is up to you to monitor the progress of your application process.
If you are applying for Indian status and your children's Indian status, send in the applications as well as all of your long form birth certificates - at the same time. Do not wait for AANDC's request for your children's long form birth certificates.
I suggest that you open a file and place copies of the applications, the long form birth certificates, and all correspondence that is sent to you from AANDC in this file.
Also, do your best to obtain the contact name and telephone number of the AANDC employee that is handling your application.
Furthermore, keep track of the date of your original application, and follow up every few months with direct contact with the person assigned to your file. Do not wait for them to contact you. Do this in a good and exact way. By this I mean make sure you are kind and your dates are correct.
AANDC will delay the application process as it is in their best interest to slow the process down and deny entitlement to Indian status. AANDC does not work for you but rather they are a department of the federal government, and so you must remain diligent and on top of your and your children's application process.
Note: There are two status designations: section 6(1) and section 6(2). Section 6(1) is considered stronger in that individuals can pass on Indian status to their children in your own right.
Note: If you are registered under section 6(2) of the Indian Act you will be unable to pass on Indian status to your children in your own right.
Note: If you are registered under section 6(2) you may be entitled to be registered under section 6(1). I suggest you get some advice on this.
Note: In situations of unknown, unstated, unrecognized, unreported, unacknowledged, and unestablished paternity - it is assumed by AANDC that the father is non-status. This assumption negatively affects your child's right to Indian status. Click here for more information.
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, is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process, and she recently published a book titled Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.
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