Victoria Silman | News Editor
Featured Image: Amy Hull, a Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, was informed she is no longer considered “Indigenous enough.” | Hanad Adan
Vice President of York’s Aboriginal Student Association, Amy Hull, has had her Indigenous status revoked by the federal government—a move that has made finishing her degree difficult. The third-year dance student, who identifies as Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, moved from Newfoundland to Ontario in 2016 to pursue her education in fine arts.
During her first year, she received a letter from the government, under direction of Conservative leader Stephen Harper, stating her Indian Status would be revoked because she no longer met the requirements of a Mi’kmaq. Hull appealed the letter, but her appeal was denied.
In June 2018, Hull received a letter from the government, stating her status was to be revoked, effective August 31, 2018.
When asked whether the Liberal government is doing anything to change the previous Harper government’s decision, Hull says: “They just say ‘we have to honour the old agreement.’”
As a result of her status removal, Hull’s education will no longer be funded by the federal government, though the government granted her a transition year during the 2018-2019 academic year. “They said they were going to be gracious in giving us a transition year to find other sources of funding,” she says.
Friends of Hull have established a GoFundMe page where people can donate money towards financing her education. So far, they have reached $4,278 of its $25,000 goal, with donations coming in daily.
Conditions were put in place for Mi’kmaq people to be recognized under a numerical system, which has resulted in Hull’s status removal. Chair of the Department of Equity Studies, and Coordinator of the the new Indigenous studies program and Mi’kmaw, Bonita Lawrence, says the criteria has made it easy for statuses to be revoked.
“One of the criteria is you have to be in touch with your band. It really means, ‘are you still in touch with the administration unit—the band?’ ‘And do you live in Newfoundland?’” she says.
“She had been recognized, and that’s the other thing that happens in this kind of situation. Canada just had no interest in recognizing a band with that many members, and that’s why Canada imposed things so that people who were initially recognized as Indian, find that their recognition is pulled away, particularly if they don’t live in Newfoundland.”
The numerical system, put in place by the Harper government in conjunction with the Chief of the Qualipu Mi’kmaq First Nation band at the time, involves criteria the government says Hull lacks.
According to Hull, people need to achieve 13 points to qualify, which she is just short of. “I got nine points because I was a member of a band that existed pre-confederation in 1949. I got zero points for communications and visits back to Newfoundland, even though I had affidavits that said I had visited Newfoundland numerous times,” she says.
For cultural practice, Hull, again, received zero points.
“How are you going to put people through residential schools and say ‘oh sorry, you’re not really Indigenous because you don’t have a culture anymore.’ Even still, I had affidavits that said I had practiced some cultural things,” she says.
“At the beginning they said I could send a picture of myself attending a powwow, showing that I go to powwows, and that can be my cultural thing. Then halfway through, they said powwows are not traditional to Mi’kmaq,” she adds.Regarding the situation, Lawrence says the system has made it impossible for Newfoundland Mi’kmaq students to seek education in other provinces.“They’ve established these conditions, and that means Mi’kmaq students clearly […]
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