Here's an interesting article
by Joseph Quesnel that says a lot about the moral bankruptcy of the Indian Industry. Note the comments where both champions and clients of said Industry are calling foul. The notion that Indians are not consulted with respect to changes made to the Indian Act is one of the most long-standing of the legions of utterly false memes developed by the Indian Industry over the last thirty years or so. But it persists. It's another one of those Ever Ready Bunny
myths that keeps going and going and going.
To get the real scoop, you might want to start by reading the three volume tome which is the Proceedings of the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Indian Affair held between 1946-1947. There's a copy of it available at the University of Saskatchewan's library. Or, take a look at Calgary's Glenbow Institute's holdings of the papers of the Indian Association of Alberta
(IAA), which contains briefs and correspondence from the Association to that Committee. Briefs and correspondence from the IAA to subsequent Parliamentary Committees dealing with Indian Affairs are also there. The IAA, sister organizations across the country, and individual Reserves, including many from Saskatchewan
, appeared before the 1946-1947 Committee and submitted written briefs and letters. The result was a major amendment to the Indian Act in 1950, from which, contrary to the theme presented in the Saskatchewan Indian April 1978 edition linked above, most of the more egregious sections, such as the ban on Indian ceremonies and meetings to organize politically were removed.
As both links in the preceding paragraph attest, the notion that Indians are never consulted with respect to the creation or revision of legislation is not supported by the documents that Indian organizations themselves produce. In addition, I have in my own possession a booklet produced by the Saskatchewan Indian Federation in 1973, a supplement to The Saskatchewan Indian, advising Saskatchewan's Indian people of the upcoming proposal to revise the Indian Act. The very first sentence reads as follows:
"The purpose of this special supplement is to provide the Indian people of Saskatchewan with information concerning some of the issues they will have to consider in their deliberations about the Indian Act. "
It was obvious they knew that changes to the Act were being considered and obvious, too, that they intended to have an input.
Since the 1960s there has also been a permanent Standing Committee in Parliament dealing with Indian Affairs. You will often see the deliberations of this Committee on CPAC. Anyone with reasonably good eyesight and hearing will be able to see that First Nations members of the House of Commons and the Senate not only frequently sit on that committee but prominent Aboriginal organizations and individuals are regularly invited to appear before it to give testimony and submit their position papers. In fact, there's a brief little history of the parliamentary Standing Committees dealing with Indian Affairs since the 1960s here
So folks, save those easily refuted memes for the easily duped among us. If you want to find an excuse for the backward development on some First Nations, look elsewhere. I suggest you might start by re-reading Joseph Quesnel's article and pondering its essential truths. In the meantime, changes to the Indian Act to protect the rights of women are long, long overdue. The old boys club is just going to have to suck it up.