It was on the day of February 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court of Ontario convened to review two cases brought forth from the Federal Court of Appeal, concerning the rights of two Aboriginal women. This case not only brought an issue of human rights to center stage, it dragged with it the idea that the Canadian Constitution embodied some blurred or contradictive values. Jeannette Vivian Corbiere Lavell and Yvonne Bedard, both born as North American Indians and acting as respondents, were summoned to present their cases to the Court. The claim was that:
The provisions of s. 12(1)(b) of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. 1-6, are rendered 'inoperative' or 'not working' by s. 1(b) of the Canadian Bill of Rights, 1960 (Can.), c. 44, as denying equality before the law to the 2 respondents .
The two women felt that they were catalogued under an unjust act which allowed for an unfair amount of discrimination cast towards them on the basis of their sex.
Their argument was simple; they sought equality of condition (by having s. 12(1)(b) repealed by the 1960 Bill of Rights) as compared to their male Native American counterparts. Appearing for several days before the Supreme Court of Ontario, and after much debate, these two women prove that the smallest person can make a difference, or at least pave the way for debate to come. It was for their actions these two are considered to be some of the most inspirational Native women's rights activists of this century.
Jeannette Vivian Corbiere Lavell was born on June 21, 1942, on the Wikwemikong Reserve located in the province of Ontario and was and was registered via the Indian Register. It was on April 11, 1970, that Corbiere married David Lavell and lived happily until December 7, 1970,