Mary Sandra Lovelace Nicholas
Born: April 15, 1948
Place of Birth: Tobique Reserve, New Brunswick
Sandra Lovelace Nicholas was an aboriginal activist who appealed to the United Nations to have a Canadian law changed.
She married an American non-Indian, Bernie Lovelace, in 1970 and moved with him to California, USA.
The fact that she married a non-Indian caused her name to be removed from the Indian Register in Canada.
After the marriage failed a few years later, Lovelace Nicholas and her children returned to the Tobique Reserve.
It was then she learned, being a female, she had lost the right to housing, education, and health care normally granted to an Indian.
The Indian Act did not apply in the same way to males who, if they had married a non-Indian, would still retain their full status and benefits as an Indian.
At that point Lovelace Nicholas joined activist groups that were trying to have the Act changed.
This law had been upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court so, in 1979, Sandra Lovelace Nicholas appealed to the United Nations to consider the unfairness of this ruling.
Two years later, after getting considerable information, the UN ruled that Canada acted in disregard of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Many male Indians were not happy with the UN ruling but Lovelace Nicholas continued to push for a change in the Act.
Finally, in 1985, Canada changed the Indian Act so that female Indians would have the same rights accorded to males who marry non-Indians.
Sandra Lovelace Nicholas was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Martin in 2005.
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Last Updated: January 4, 2017
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