TORONTO - An Ontario woman's long and byzantine quest to gain Indian status — lost because her grandmother was "enfranchised" under a discredited federal government statute — is set to enter a new phase.

Federal Court will soon have to decide whether a 1952 cabinet decision that stripped Angel Sue Larkman's grandmother and her descendants of their Indian status was the result of fraud.

"I'm really sad that she couldn't be here to see this because she was a big part of it," Larkman said of her grandmother, who died two years ago.

"I feel like I need to win this for her — to make right the wrong that was done."

Larkman's struggle to become Indian, which she began in earnest in 1992, has been through several layers of court up to the Supreme Court over the years without any final decision on her situation.

The saga began when her grandmother, Laura Flood, of the Matachewan First Nation west of Kirkland Lake, Ont., lost her Indian status through "enfranchisement."

The legal framework — started in 1857 — aimed to eradicate aboriginal culture and fold First Nations into mainstream society.

The enfranchised received Canadian citizenship, land and some money. In return, they had to renounce their Indian status for themselves and all living and future descendants. They also lost their tax exemption and right to live in their aboriginal communities.

More than 11,000 Indians lost their status to enfranchisement, excluding the many more family members affected, statistics indicate.

"It's just another version of residential schools — 'civilizing First Nations for their own benefit'," said Sunil Mathai, Larkman's lawyer.

The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 described enfranchisement as a "euphemism for one of the most oppressive policies adopted by the Canadian government in its history of dealings with aboriginal peoples."

With the advent of the charter the law was abolished in 1985 and ensuing changes to the Indian Act allowed the enfranchised, along with their children, to be reinstated as Indians.

Larkman's grandmother and mother — but not Larkman and her siblings — regained their status in 1988.

"It felt unfair that somebody else made some rules that we had to follow yet it didn't mesh with the rest of our family," Larkman said.

"We always believed we were Indian. We knew we grew up with grandmother and were all descendants of hers. It felt like, 'How come you get to tell me whether I'm an Indian or not?' It was really hurtful."

Larkman, 40, an office manager in Timmins, Ont., maintains her grandmother was the victim of fraud. She says she only came to realize the circumstances when her initial request for registration as an Indian was turned down in 1995.

Records show Flood was enfranchised after documents in her name were sent to the local Indian agent. However, she could only write her name, and was unable to read.

Flood maintained the chief of the Matachewan First Nation and the Indian agent placed an already filled-in application in front of her and told her to sign, court records show. She did so because she trusted the chief and "always obeyed" the Indian agent and had no idea she would lose her status. She also said she received none of the money she should have.

Cabinet signed an order-in-council in December 1952 enfranchising her.

In a decision in March 2008 that followed seven years of hearings, the Ontario Superior Court sided with Larkman and Flood, ruling the enfranchisement invalid because it was either involuntary or the result of fraud.

The federal government appealed, arguing Superior Court had no jurisdiction. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in Ottawa's favour, saying only the Federal Court could invalidate an order-in-council. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case in October 2009.

Almost a year later — and two months after her grandmother died — Larkman turned to Federal Court, asking it to review the enfranchisement. The government argued the timelines to ask for a review had long been exceeded.

This month, the Federal Court of Appeal sided with Larkman.

"This case is far from normal," the court said in allowing her to file her application for review with Federal Court, something she has now done.

Mathai said he's hoping the case will finally get heard in December.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Oka Crisis

    Canadian soldier Patrick Cloutier and Saskatchewan Native Brad Laroque alias "Freddy Kruger" come face to face in a tense standoff at the Kahnesatake reserve in Oka, Quebec, Saturday September 1, 1990. Twenty plus years after an armed standoff at Oka laid Canada's often difficult relationship with its native peoples bare in international headlines, the bitterly contested land remains in legal limbo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Shaney Komulainen)

  • Oka Crisis

    A warrior raises his weapon as he stands on an overturned police vehicle blocking a highway at the Kahnesetake reserve near Oka, Quebec July 11, 1990 after a police assault to remove Mohawk barriers failed. Twenty plus years after an armed standoff at Oka laid Canada's often difficult relationship with its native peoples bare in international headlines, the bitterly contested land remains in legal limbo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom Hanson)

  • Oka Crisis

    A Quebec Metis places a stick with an eagle feather tied to it into the barrel of a machine gun mounted on an army armored vehicle at Oka Thursday, Aug. 23, 1990. The vehicle was one of two positioned a few metres away from the barricade causing a breakdown in negotiations. Twenty plus years after an armed standoff at Oka laid Canada's often difficult relationship with its native peoples bare in international headlines, the bitterly contested land remains in legal limbo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Grimshaw)

  • Oka Crisis

    A Mohawk Indian winds up to punch a soldier during a fight that took place on the Khanawake reserve on Montreal's south shore in 1990. The army broke up the fight by shooting into the air. Twenty plus years after an armed standoff at Oka laid Canada's often difficult relationship with its native peoples bare in international headlines, the bitterly contested land remains in legal limbo. (CP PHOTO)

  • Ipperwash

    Two aboriginal protesters man a barricade near the entrance to Ipperwash Provincial Park, near Ipperwash Beach, Ont., on Sept. 7, 1995. (CP PHOTO)

  • Ipperwash

    Ken Wolf, 9, walks away from a graffiti-covered smoldering car near the entrance to the Ipperwash Provincial Park in this September 7, 1995 photo. A group of aboriginal protesters were occupying the park and nearby military base. (CP PHOTO)

  • Caledonia Protests

    Caledonian activist Gary McHale (right) is confronted by a Six Nations Protester as he attempts to lead members of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) in carrying a makeshift monument to Six Nations land in Caledonia, Ont., on Sunday February 27, 2011. CANACE claim inequality in treatment for Caledonian residents from Ontario Provincial Police compared to that of the Six Nation population. They planned to plant a monument of six nation property to demand an apology from the OPP, but were turned back by protesters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

  • Caledonia Protests

    First Nations people of the Grand River Territory stand with protest signs as they force the redirection of the Vancover 2010 Olympic Torch Relay from entering The Six Nations land Monday, December 21, 2009 near Caledonia, Ontario. The Olympic torch's journey across Canada was forced to take a detour in the face of aboriginal opposition to the Games, with an Ontario First Nation rerouting its relay amid a protest from a splinter group in the community. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Caledonia Protests

    Six Nations protesters guard the front entrance of a housing development in Hagersville, Ont., just south of the 15-month aboriginal occupation at Caledonia on Wednesday, May 23, 2007. The protest was peaceful. (CP PHOTO/Nathan Denette)

  • Caledonia Protests

    Mohawk protestors block a road near the railway tracks near Marysville, Ont. with a bus and a bonfire Friday April 21, 2006. The natives showed their support to fellow natives in Caledonia, Ont. where they were in a stand off with police regarding land claims.(CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)