Plain Talk 5: Indian Act

5.2.5 Voting Rights

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Voting Rights

The Indian Act did not allow First Nations people to vote in a federal election until 1960. Even though for centuries, First Nations people had capably established their own systems of government and managed their own societies and communities, under the Indian Act, First Nations people were not permitted to vote in federal elections. This ban continued until 1960. They could not sit on juries, and they were exempt from conscription in time of war. However, it should be noted that the percentage of volunteers was higher among First Nations people than any other group. One way for First Nations to vote was to surrender up their First Nation Status, or in other words, enfranchise. First Nations were encouraged to enfranchised and even offered incentives such as land.

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