In 1968 Mary Two-Axe Earley made a submission to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women protesting the Indian Act and advocating for gender equality. Mary was born on the Kanawake Mohawk territory near Montreal but lost her status when she married a non-status man. However, under the Act, men who married non-status women retained their status and were able to pass it on to their children.
Two-Axe Earley’s call for an end to gender discrimination resulted in a recommendation by the Royal Commission to amend the Indian Act in its treatment of women. Finally, in 1985, the Federal Government passed Bill C-31 to bring the Indian Act into accord with the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and restore status to the thousands of women who had married non-status persons.