KAHNAWAKE RESIDENTS BEGIN TO FILE COMPLAINTS UNDER THE CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
Montreal, June 29, 2015 — A number of residents of the Mohawk Community of Kahnawake have come forward and mandated CRARR to help them file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for discrimination based on race, family status and gender.
These individuals, all of whom are Mohawk, fully registered under the Indian Act, and residents of Kahnawake, are denied registration with the Band Council and therefore, are not officially recognized as members of the Community. Their inability to gain membership status is largely due to the fact that they are either married to non-Aboriginals or that they are children of biracial parents. Lacking membership status, they have been denied equal rights, benefits and services, including the right to vote, housing, health services, and other entitlements. Many face eviction from the Community because they are not registered under the Kahnawake Membership Law.
CRARR will soon begin to file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission on behalf of a number of Mohawk residents claiming that many policies and practices of the Kahnawake Band Council, including the failure to protect Mohawk and biracial individuals and families from intimidation and threats of violence, violate provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).
Since June 2011, the CHRA has fully applied to all First Nations governments and communities, making acts of discrimination and harassment based on prohibited grounds such as race, gender, ethnic or national origin, disability and family status, illegal. Victims of these prohibited practices can file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and claim material, moral and other damages (up to $40,000), as well as non-monetary remedies, the object of which is to end and prevent discrimination.
“We are looking at claims of discrimination based on race, ethnic or national origin, family status and of course, gender, because many individuals who are negatively affected by these policies and practices are women and girls who still suffer the residual effects of gender-based discrimination from federal laws of previous generations,” said CRARR’s Executive Director Fo Niemi.