It’s been a long time coming, but Indigenous women will now be treated the same as men under the Indian Act.

That means they can receive the same status and category of membership as the men and their descendants.

In the past, women lost their status when they married non-Indigenous men, while men who married non-Indigenous women kept their status.

Under the S-3 legislation, descendants born before April 17, 1985, who lost their status or were removed from band lists due to marrying non-Indian men, dating as far back as 1869 can now be registered as First Nations members.

Registration in the Indian Act means First Nations individuals will receive federal benefits and services, including access to post-secondary funding and non-insured health benefits.