Manitoba bill would help ensure birth certificates reflect Indigenous names

WINNIPEG –

The Manitoba government is moving to ensure birth certificates can better represent the names of Indigenous people and those of other cultures.

A bill now before the legislature would establish a wider range of letters, characters and symbols beyond the traditional ones found in the English and French languages.

The bill would also allow for single names, instead of first and last ones, in accordance with cultural practices.

Government Services Minister Reg Helwer says the change will meet the needs of residential school and `’60s Scoop survivors who want to reclaim their birth names.

He says it will also serve Indigenous and other families who give their children traditional names connected to their culture.

The proposed changes would apply to name registrations for newborns and for people applying to legally change their names.

“Throughout the residential school period, it was common for institutions to rename children when they were enrolled, erasing traditional Indigenous names to cut the ties a child had with their cultural identity and family,” Indigenous Reconciliation Minister Alan Lagimodiere said in a press release Thursday.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called upon governments to enable survivors to reclaim their birth names. This change would allow us to take the first step toward implementing call to action Number 17.”

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2022.

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