Men, Masculinity, and the Indian Act
192 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Jan 2020
Release Date:15 Sep 2019
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Release Date:15 Sep 2019
Release Date:15 Sep 2019

Men, Masculinity, and the Indian Act

UBC Press

Canada’s Indian Act is infamously sexist. Through many iterations of the legislation a woman’s status rights flowed from her husband, and even once it was amended to reinstate rights lost through marriage or widowhood, First Nations women could not necessarily pass status on to their descendants.

That injustice has rightly been subject to much scrutiny, but what has it meant for First Nations men? In an original complement to studies focused on the implications of the act for women, Martin J. Cannon challenges the decades-long assumption of case law and politics that the act has affected Indigenous people as either “women” or “Indians” – but not both. He argues that sexism and racialization must instead be understood as interlocking within the law. This double discrimination has been used to disrupt gender complementarity between Indigenous men and women, and to undercut the identities of Indigenous men through their female forebears.

By restorying historically patriarchal legislation and Indigenous masculinity, Men, Masculinity, and the Indian Act encourages Indigenous men to begin to articulate the complex ways in which their life’s journey is shaped by discrimination directed at Indigenous women. Only then can a transformative discussion about Indigenous nationhood, citizenship, and reconciliation take place.

Scholars and students of Indigenous studies and gender studies will find this book of interest, as will activists, legal practitioners, and others concerned with Indigenous rights, feminism, nationhood, identity, and the Indian Act.

We need Martin Cannon’s meticulous and critical work to help us reimagine Indigenous identity in Canada. This book will long be a go-to reference for understanding the intersections of sexism and racism brought on by the Indian Act, and for determining sovereign identity pathways forward. Kim Anderson, author of A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood
Martin J. Cannon is Onyota’a:ka (Oneida Nation), Turtle Clan, and a citizen of the Six Nations at Grand River Territory. He is an associate professor in the Department of Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and an adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Saskatchewan, where he established the Indigenous Peoples’ Justice Initiative, 2002–07. He is also a co-editor of Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada, and an invited speaker for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Union of Ontario Indians, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance.


1 The Indian Act, a Legacy of Racist Patriarchy

2 Sexism, Racialized Injustice, and Lavell v Canada, 1969–73

3 Individual versus Collective Rights Dispute in Status Indian Politics, 1985–99

4 Sexism, Indigenous Sovereignty, and McIvor v The Registrar, 2007–09


Notes; References; Index

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