Sandra Lovelace appeals against the injustice of Canada’s Indian Act

Sandra Lovelace, an aboriginal woman from Tobique Reserve in New Brunswick, appeals to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 1977 against the injustice of Canada’s Indian Act which gave native status through the male head of the household. Lovelace lost her Native status when she married a white man. In 1979, the UNHRC asked the Canadian Government for information pertaining to the Lovelace case. The government ignored the request so Tobique women organised the Native Women’s Walk. The UNHRC ruled in Lovelace’s favour in July 1981, finding Canada in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The law was changed in 1985, but it took ten years for Lovelace to recover her status. During the program Our Native Land: Native women fight for equal rights which aired on CBC in 1985, Sandra Lovelace talked about being labelled a “troublemaker.”

In 2005, Sandra Lovelace Nicholas became the first Indigenous woman appointed to the Senate.