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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

False Indigeneity claims: Who are the enablers in academia? - University World News

Darryl Leroux, associate professor in the department of social justice and community studies at Saint Mary’s University, Canada, has observed a growing trend among North Americans in recent decades when it comes to claims to Indigenous identity, in particular, the claims that have arisen from French descendants who favour ‘Métis’ identity in their transition from French to Indigenous status.

The desire to shift from a white identity to embrace Métis heritage is an “aspirational descent” phenomenon, according to Leroux, author of the book Distorted Descent: White claims to Indigenous identity. He asserts that this is in effect a land claims strategy, which translates into a repeated narrative that encourages false claims to be Indigenous.

This narrative annihilates the voices and presence of the original Indigenous communities as the lawful owners of the land.

In a 2017 article, Leroux and Adam Gaudry, assistant professor in the faculty of Native studies and department of political science at the University of Alberta, describe the self-imposed, self-identification trend as “settler self-Indigenisation”, contending that, in the United States, the Cherokee community – where only a third of those who claim a Cherokee identity are enrolled in one of the three federally recognised Cherokee tribes – is seeing a significant number of white settlers attempting to “race-shift” to self-identified Indigeneity.

Competing for recognition

Unfortunately, within these reconstructions of...



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