By Josie Fiegehen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
TORONTO, ONT-The Native Women’s Resource Centre in Toronto (NWRCT) is offering Status Card Clinic’s by appointment.
Nicole Balthazar is the Investing in Women’s Future Coordinator for the NWRCT, and the muscle behind the Status Card Clinic. One of the core needs identified by the community was the need for assistance in gaining status.
“A lot of the time the resources that are offered in the community, you need to show status. A lot of the clients don’t have that, whether it’s because they’re a part of the 60’s scoop or adoption, or just life happened,” Nicole comments to SaultOnline.
Many individuals don’t know where to begin when looking to obtain status. Nicole shares that the most common inquiry is the question of, do I even qualify?
“They know that their family members are status or they know that they’re native of some sort, but they themselves are not status. So then it’s just backdating the ancestry trying to figure out their genealogy for them to even see if they qualify for status, which in and of itself is ridiculous. I always tell them, the card itself is not going to determine how indigenous you are, there are a lot of factors.”
The process is confusing to say the least for the average person.
Personally, my family fought for over 20 years in order to obtain status.
“We’ve been able to status so many individuals, over 300-400, so it’s been a lot in a matter of a year and seven months. So it’s been a lot of people showing interest.” The NWRCT is not just for Toronto residents. Nicole has been able to assist people across Turtle Island in gaining status.
“I think there should be more organizations and more work going towards status card clinics, so that everyone, not just for women only, but for the whole population to get their status or to get that opportunity to obtain it.”
Many First Nations and Metis people have questions regarding status, and answers are few and far between.
If you have any questions about obtaining status, contact Nicole at iwf?nwrct.ca
Josie Fiegehen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of SaultOnLine.Com . The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.