Gehl v Canada
Challenging Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act
A follow-up to Claiming Anishinaabe, Gehl v Canada is the story of Lynn Gehl’s lifelong journey of survival against the nation-state’s constant genocidal assault against her existence. While Canada set up its colonial powers—including the Supreme Court, House of Commons, Senate Chamber, and the Residences of the Prime Minister and Governor General—on her traditional Algonquin territory, usurping the riches and resources of the land, she was pushed to the margins, exiled to a life of poverty in Toronto’s inner-city.
With only beads in her pocket, Gehl spent her entire life fighting back, and now offers an insider analysis of Indian Act litigation, the narrow remedies the court imposes, and of obfuscating parliamentary discourse, as well as an important critique of the methodology of legal positivism. Drawing on social identity and Indigenous theories, the author presents Disenfranchised Spirit Theory, revealing insights into the identity struggles facing Indigenous Peoples to this day.
"Gehl’s book provides readers with important insights into the personal struggles faced by Indigenous women who challenge colonialism in Canada." —Herizons
“Congratulations . . . to Dr. Lynn Gehl for her successful challenge of the Indian Registrar’s refusal to allow her to be registered under the Indian Act. . . . Good win, Lynn!”
—The Honourable Murray Sinclair
“With knowledge and experience from years of advocacy before Parliament as well as the courts, and the depth of perception typical of all her scholarly work, Dr. Gehl assesses what more is needed before the Indian Act system can be truly egalitarian. Her book is unique and inspiring.” —Mary Eberts, from the foreword
“[R]emarkable . . . a monument in Indigenous struggles with the colonial Crown.” —Veldon Coburn, Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at University of Ottawa
“Gehl embodies essential Indigenous wisdom, bravery, and responsibility in her work to dismantle the systems of colonial oppression. Her work serves as a beacon in a network of pathways for our people to make their way home.” —Chief Wendy Jocko, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation
“The legal decision in Gehl v Canada will have profound effects for the future, ensuring that hundreds of thousands of Indigenous mothers will be able to pass their status on to their children. This victory, the product of decades of struggle by Lynn Gehl, is chronicled here. Read it and learn!” —Bonita Lawrence, author of Fractured Homeland
“What a humbling honour and privilege to be able to read Dr. Gehl’s profound and wise contribution and take her direction regarding the vital action required of all who are committed to promoting equality and justice.” —Senator Kim Pate
“The status of women under the Indian Act had been disputed for decades. Lynn Gehl led an important part of that struggle bravely and sometimes without much support. This book takes us deeply through the history of this critical struggle for women’s rights.” —Judy Rebick, author of Heroes in My Head and founding publisher of rabble.ca