Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:30Z by Steven

Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

University of Manitoba Press
September 2019
296 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-846-7

Darryl Leroux, Associate Professor
Department of Social Justice and Community Studies
Saint Mary’s University, Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the twenty-first century: otherwise white, French descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined “Indigenous” identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an “Indigenous” identity today.

After setting out the most common genealogical practices that facilitate race shifting, Leroux examines two of the most prominent self-identified “Indigenous” organizations currently operating in Quebec. Both organizations have their origins in committed opposition to Indigenous land and territorial negotiations, and both encourage the use of suspect genealogical practices. Distorted Descent brings to light to how these claims to an “Indigenous” identity are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing along the way the shifting politics of whiteness, white settler colonialism, and white supremacy.

For more information on the rise of the so-called ‘Eastern Metis’ in the eastern provinces and in New England, including a storymap, court documents, and research materials, visit the Raceshifting website, created by Unwritten Histories Digital Consulting.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction—Self-Indigenization in the Twenty-First Century
  • Part One: The Mechanics of Descent
    • Chapter One—Lineal Descent and the Political Use of Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Two—Aspirational Descent: Creating Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Three—Lateral Descent: Remaking Family in the Past
  • Part Two: Race Shifting as Anti-Indigenous Politics
    • Chapter Four—After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming “Métis” in Two Regions of Quebec
    • Chapter Five—The Largest Self-Identified “Métis” Organization in Quebec: The Métis Nation Of The Rising Sun
  • Conclusion—White Claims to Indigenous Identity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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She was being raised as a white child in Texas while her Haitian father was fighting racism in Montreal

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2019-11-12 19:54Z by Steven

She was being raised as a white child in Texas while her Haitian father was fighting racism in Montreal

The Doc Project
CBC Radio
2019-10-28

Shari Okeke, Producer


Rhonda Fils-Aimé and her father, Philippe, at a family gathering this year in Braunfels, Texas. (Submitted by Rhonda Fils-Aimé)

Rhonda Fils-Aimé was adopted by a white family as a baby, and her biological father, Philippe, had no idea

Until she was 49 years old, the only information Rhonda Lux had about her family background was that she was German, French and Indian. That’s what her adoptive mother had told her, and for most of her life, Rhonda didn’t question it.

Rhonda was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1968 and was left in a children’s shelter.

“I was adopted by a white family and raised in a white community,” she said.

Only recently, in 2017, did Rhonda discover the truth about her racial heritage and manage to find her father, Philippe — who she learned had been part of an historic protest against racism in Montreal

Read the article and listen to the story (00:28:31) here.

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Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-11-24 22:38Z by Steven

Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

National Post
2017-11-23

Graeme Hamilton


Robin Robichaud shows his t-shirt after a meeting for the Wobtegwa aboriginal community, a new Metis group.
Christinne Muschi /National Post

The arrival of new players is stirring up tension with established Métis groups and raising concern among First Nations leaders

SHERBROOKE, Que. – The scent of burning sage lingers in the air as drummers begin a song of welcome. They are traditions dating back centuries, but on this Sunday afternoon the ceremony opens a gathering of one of the country’s youngest Aboriginal groups — the two-year-old Wobtegwa Métis clan.

The meeting, held in a high school auditorium, has brought together members from a corner of Quebec stretching northeast from Montreal past Quebec City and south to the United States border. Some of those present have long known of their Indigenous roots; for others the discovery has come recently. But they have all come together to push for government recognition of their rights.

“This clan is sovereign on its territory,” Yves Cordeau, band chief for the Lac-Mégantic region informs the group.

If the claim comes as news to many in Quebec, it’s because the province’s Métis awakening is recent. Raynald Robichaud, the Wobtegwa’s clan chief, says even members of his own family discouraged him from returning to his Aboriginal roots. “We knew we had a great-grandmother who was aboriginal, but our family absolutely did not want to talk about it, because they were afraid,” he says. “For us now, the fear is gone, and people are coming back.”…

…Checking a box on a census or connecting to family heritage is one thing. But as groups like the Wobtegwa lay claim to special services and territorial rights — in some cases, the same land as other Aboriginal groups — a backlash to the influx of new Métis is emerging. Some critics question the motivation of those who “become” Métis, and the impact of their activism on more established groups. Others question the right to self-identify at all…

…Leroux, Gaudry and organizations representing western Métis maintain that mixed ancestry alone does not make one Métis. True Métis — as recognized by the Constitution as one of Canada’s three aboriginal groups — must have roots in Manitoba’s historic Red River settlement, they say. That can include Métis all the way west to British Columbia and into Ontario, but not as far east as Quebec and the Maritimes

Read the entire article here.

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Whispering Grounds whispers thoughts of origins and nature

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Media Archive on 2012-08-23 02:28Z by Steven

Whispering Grounds whispers thoughts of origins and nature

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph
2011-10-19

Amanda Halm

Whispering Grounds, an exhibit of 13 charcoal drawings by artist Annie Lalande, is currently on display at the Bank National Financial Group Gallery, a space dedicated to visual arts in the Palais Montcalm.

Incongruous lines and organic shapes sweep across paper to symbolize the bi-racial identity that swirls inside the artist…

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