USask community health professor’s claims of Indigenous ancestry questioned

The heritage of a neighborhood well being and epidemiology professor on the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is being questioned by a few of her colleagues.

Dr. Carrie Bourassa, who can also be the scientific director on the Canadian Institute for Well being Analysis, identifies as a lady of Métis ancestry.

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A CBC investigation found Bourassa’s ancestry leads again to her great-grandparents who have been Czech-speaking Russians that settled in Punnichy, Sask., in 1911.

That investigation discovered no proof that Bourassa has Métis heritage.

In response to the investigation, Bourassa launched a press release which mentioned she was adopted by Clifford Larocque, a Métis chief in Saskatchewan, after her grandfather handed away.

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“Our neighborhood is aware of who I’m and embraces me. In our Métis methods, within the occasion of a loss, neighborhood members would undertake the person who had no household and they might then mechanically be seen as household. We see this as customized adoption. These adoptions have been extra significant and have stronger bonds than colonial adoptions,” learn the assertion which was posted to the Morning Star Lodge analysis lab’s web site.

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Whereas she famous that, “blood quantums are usually not our approach,” she is working with a Métis genealogist to analyze her lineage.

International Information reached out to Bourassa for an interview, however she mentioned she is declining media requests at the moment.

Final week, Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN-S) launched a press release about false or inadequate claims to Indigenous ancestry.

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Whereas it didn’t point out Bourassa’s case instantly, it mentioned false info can result in people gaining financially or of their careers particularly on the subject of applications aimed toward serving to Indigenous folks.

“These sorts of ameliorative alternatives and applications are an essential a part of addressing the historic disenfranchisement and silencing of Indigenous peoples and their voices, together with the Métis,” the MN-S assertion mentioned.

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Bourassa acknowledges that she isn’t recognized as Métis primarily based on MN-S requirements, however that she is a part of different native Métis organizations which aren’t overseen by MN-S.

“In Saskatchewan, figuring out who’s a Métis citizen is the only dedication of the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan and nobody else,” MN-S President Glen McCallum mentioned.

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“Being Indigenous can’t be decreased to a matter of particular person alternative or self-identification alone. It’s about shared tradition, heritage, and historical past. By its very nature, it is a collective expertise and shouldn’t be left to people divorced from the Indigenous Nations to which they declare ancestral ties and shared expertise,” the assertion learn.

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MN-S famous it requested all Saskatchewan post-secondary establishments to alter their definition of Métis to match the one laid out by the group when it got here to recognition for employment, scholarships and different applications.

It mentioned none have adopted its definition, however it’s presently working with USask on this file.

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Final week, the college launched a press release on the CBC investigation which acknowledged it respects the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous peoples and that it really works with neighborhood companions when hiring particularly for folks with Indigenous ancestry.

“Professor Bourassa was not employed by the college due to her Indigenous standing and Indigenous ancestry was not a requirement of the position. The standard of professor Bourassa’s scholarly work speaks for itself and has drastically benefitted the well being of communities throughout Canada,” mentioned USask provost and vice-president of educational Airini.

© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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