August 9, 2013
Professor James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People
Re: Your invitation for Indigenous peoples and organizations to submit information regarding your mandate
My name is Lynn Gehl and in January 2013 I submitted materials to your office, as well as more recently in July 2013 through Cathy Henderson. This issue I have been addressing is regarding Canada’s unstated paternity policy whereby Canada makes the assumption that a lack of a father’s signature on a child’s birth certificate signifies the father is a non-Indian man. Through this policy assumption Canada is targeting mothers and their babies in their goal of eliminating their treaty responsibilities established during the 1764 Treaty at Niagara. Canada’s unstated paternity policy, which came into being in 1985, remains intact in situations of sexual violence such as rape and incest. This is a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people, and also constitutes genocide as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
You can access all necessary materials to understand this issue at this link: http://www.lynngehl.com/unknown--unstated-paternity--the-indian-act.html
In addition to this policy regarding paternity, as an Algonquin Anishinaabe from the Ottawa River Valley we are also being forced to deal with Canada’s Comprehensive Land Claims and Self-Government Policies. These two policies have been unilaterally constructed by Canada rather than constructed through a relationship of collaboration. Through the imposition of state power Canada is taking advantage of the impoverished and divided situation created through a long history of subjugation and oppression through various colonial laws leading up to the current Indian Act. As of December 2012, and through usurping the agency of some Algonquin, Canada tabled their final offer for the Algonquin: 1.3% of our traditional territory and a $300 million one-time buy-out. These policies also violate of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people, and also constitutes genocide as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This was the topic of my doctoral dissertation and while I am currently in the process of publishing my manuscript you can access additional readings on this issue at:
My goal in writing is to request a meeting while you are in Canada during your October visit. It is crucial that a discussion of these three genocidal policies be included in your analysis of recommendations to Canada, Indigenous governing bodies, and other parties as necessary on issues of ongoing concern to Indigenous peoples.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Lynn Gehl. Ph.D.
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, is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process, and 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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