Three photos

Three photos

Above: (1) Sampson, Louise and Leah Beaver. "Status Indians" had the right to vote at Confederation, but only if they forfeited their treaty rights. The condition was dropped from the legislation in 1960.
(2) Inuit people had the right to vote after Confederation, but not always the practical means to do so. To make voting more accessible, election officials began travelling to Native communities.

1960 – Reaching Out to Native People
Native people had the right to vote in most parts of Canada after Confederation, and everywhere in Canada when, in 1920, defining the right to vote became a federal prerogative. In the case of "Status Indians" though, there was initially an important condition: they had to give up their treaty rights and registered Indian status. Understandably, very few were willing to do this. A further restriction on voting was of a practical nature: Native people often lived in remote areas and were unfamiliar with the electoral process, yet no special efforts were made to help them participate.

In 1960, after decades of debate, the House of Commons finally removed all legal impediments to the voting rights of Native citizens. Since then, various initiatives have been launched to inform them better on electoral matters and to make it easier for them to vote. For example, electoral information is now made available in a variety of Native languages.

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