Aboriginal women will have more rights to property if a marriage fails, Indian affairs Minister Jim Prentice proposed late last month.

Prentice is looking to the Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada for guidance on legislation he hopes will level the playing field for women in abusive relationships. The public is also being consulted.

Too often, Native women are thrown into poverty once they leave their husbands. This is due partly to the fact that provincial rights to property ownership and sharing do not apply to most reserves or Aboriginal people in Canada.

NWAC blames the situation on the separation of matrilineal ideals among Native peoples who have had to adopt a foreign, patrilineal way.

The first public consultation was held in Alberta on October 8.