Author Topic: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage  (Read 1992 times)

Offline Sparks

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Recent nrews from Canada:

https://thestarphoenix.com/news/saskatchewan/u-of-s-strips-top-researcher-of-role-after-indigenous-ancestry-questioned

Quote
Saskatchewan
U of S strips top researcher of role after Indigenous ancestry questioned

U of S provost Dr. Airini said Bourassa is now on indefinite, unpaid leave and has been stripped of all her duties as faculty.

Author of the article: Zak Vescera — Publishing date:Nov 01, 2021

A top University of Saskatchewan academic has been stripped of her roles and duties at the school and will step back from a national research job after a CBC investigation threw her claims of Indigenous ancestry into question.

The university said it will launch a formal investigation into statements shared by Dr. Carrie Bourassa, one of the country’s foremost researchers in Indigenous health, who is accused of fabricating claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage. school and will step back from a national research job after a CBC investigation threw her claims of Indigenous ancestry into question.

U of S provost Dr. Airini said Bourassa is now on indefinite, unpaid leave and has been stripped of all her duties in the school’s College of Medicine.

“The university has serious concerns with the additional information revealed in Dr. Bourassa’s responses to the media and with the harm that this information may be causing Indigenous individuals and communities,” wrote Airini, who uses just one name.

Canadian Institutes for Health Research president Dr. Michael Strong said he called Bourassa on Monday and they agreed she will also step back from her roles as scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, the top funder of Indigenous health research in the country, also without pay or any indication of when she may return.

“Maintaining the trust and confidence of Indigenous communities is essential to the work of CIHR,” Strong wrote. “I will communicate a plan for the ongoing leadership of the Institute in the coming days.”

It is a sudden and dramatic reversal for the university and the federal research body, which defended Bourassa last week despite a CBC investigation highlighting inconsistencies and contradictions in her claims about her heritage.

Bourassa declined comment Monday. In an interview with the StarPhoenix last week, she stood by her claims she was Métis and Anishinaabe but acknowledge “large gaps” in her background a lack of genealogical evidence to support her claims, though she was worked with genealogists for about two years. She said she identified as Métis because she was adopted by a Métis community leader at age 20. She also conceded that a previous claim she made to Tlingit heritage through her great-grandmother was false, but said she believed she would find proof of such a connection eventually.

Bourassa said then she had no intention of resigning from any of her roles.

“What would the reason for me be for me to step back? Maybe you could answer me that. I haven’t done anything wrong,” she said.

“If our elders say to me, ‘Carrie, you need to step back,’ I would do it,” Bourassa added.

Many Indigenous academics demanded stronger action from CIHR and the university.

Lilian Dyck, Canada’s first female First Nations Senator and a former vice-president of research at the U of S, said the school’s defence of Bourassa cast doubt on its commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“To honor and respect Indigenous peoples and to live up to the spirit and intent of Reconciliation, the senior administrators at the University of Saskatchewan must ensure that there are meaningful and significant consequences for falsely claiming to be Indigenous, as Carrie Bourassa has done,” Dyck wrote in an online statement.

Dr. Raven Sinclair, a social work professor at the University of Regina, was emotional when she heard Strong’s statement.
“CIHR seemed to take such a cold, distant stance. Then they listened. This is rare for us,” Sinclair said.

She added that she felt compassion for Bourassa.

“When you’re upset about something, it’s hard to tap into your compassion. But this can’t be easy for her,” Sinclair said.

“She’s created this situation, she’s going to to have to find a way to rectify it for herself and make amends. I don’t think that’s an impossible task, but it might be difficult.”

Read more, with additional links, at CBC Canada:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/carrie-bourassa-indefinite-leave-indigenous-1.6233247

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2021, 02:48:22 pm »
You beat me to it.

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https://www.cbc.ca/newsinteractives/features/carrie-bourassa-indigenous

With a feather in her hand and a bright blue shawl and Métis sash draped over her shoulders, Carrie Bourassa made her entrance to deliver a TEDx Talk at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in September 2019, where she detailed her personal rags-to-riches story.

“My name is Morning Star Bear,” she said, choking up. “I’m just going to say it — I’m emotional.”

The crowd applauded and cheered.

“I’m Bear Clan. I’m Anishinaabe Métis from Treaty Four Territory,” Bourassa said, explaining that she grew up in Regina’s inner city in a dysfunctional family surrounded by addiction, violence and racism.

She said her saving grace was her Métis grandfather, who would often sit her on his knee and tell her “you’re going to be a doctor or a lawyer.”

“He would make me repeat it over and over as there was chaos going on, usually violence,” Bourassa said. “And why would he make me say that? Because there was nobody in my family that had ever gone past Grade 8.”

As it turns out, Bourassa went on to become one of the most prominent and respected voices on Indigenous health in the country. She is a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, where she directs the Morning Star Lodge, an Indigenous community-based health research lab.

She is also the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, a federal agency that is the leading funder of Indigenous health research in Canada.

In an email, the CIHR calls Bourassa “a Métis woman, a highly regarded Indigenous researcher” who “has been a selfless leader and a tireless champion for all Indigenous Peoples in this country.”

Earlier this week, CIHR took to Twitter to celebrate that Bourassa was just named one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women for 2021 by WXN, a Toronto-based women’s advocacy group.

In addition to claiming Metis and Anishinaabe heritage, Bourassa has also asserted that she’s a descendant of the Tlingit, a small group of Indigenous people from the Yukon and British Columbia.

But some of her colleagues, like Winona Wheeler, an associate professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Saskatchewan, say Bourassa’s story is built on a fundamental falsehood.

Wheeler, a member of Manitoba’s Fisher River Cree Nation, says genealogical records show Bourassa is not Indigenous at all, but rather of entirely European descent.

“When I saw that TEDx, to be quite honest, I was repulsed by how hard she was working to pass herself off as Indigenous,” Wheeler told CBC. “You’ve got no right to tell people that’s who you are in order to gain legitimacy, to get positions and to get funding. That’s abuse.”

“It makes you feel a bit sick,” said Smylie. “To have an impostor who is speaking on behalf of Métis and Indigenous people to the country about literally what it means to be Métis … that’s very disturbing and upsetting and harmful.”

In its review of Bourassa’s genealogy, CBC has traced all of her ancestry lines back to Europe. CBC was unable to locate any Indigenous ancestor.

Bourassa declined CBC’s request for an interview, but in an email to CBC on Tuesday, she said she’s “deeply offended by anyone disputing my links to the Métis community.”

Bourassa didn’t offer any genealogical evidence that she is Métis, Anishnaabe or Tlingit. Instead, she said she became Métis in her 20s, when she was adopted into the community by a Métis friend of her grandfather, Clifford Laroque, who has since died.

“Even though Clifford passed, those bonds are even deeper than death because the family has taken me as if I was their blood family. In turn, I serve the Métis community to the best of my ability,” she wrote.

She says she has been adopted into five other communities as well. She didn’t offer any explanation as to why she claimed to have been born into a family with Métis, Anishnaabe and Tlingit roots.

In a statement released by Bourassa after CBC’s story was published, she reiterated that she identifies as Métis and that the elders who support her do not rely on “blood quantums” to assess Indigenous identity. She said that she has hired a Métis genealogist to investigate her ancestry.

‘The modern-day Grey Owl’
Caroline Tait, a Métis professor and medical anthropologist at the U of S, has worked with Bourassa for more than a decade.

She said early on in Bourassa’s career, she only identified as Métis. But more recently, Tait said, Bourassa began claiming to also be Anishinaabe and Tlingit. Tait said she also began dressing in more stereotypically Indigenous ways, saying the TEDx Talk was a perfect example.

“Everybody cheers and claps, and it’s beautiful,” said Tait. “It is the performance that we all want from Indigenous people — this performance of being the stoic, spiritual, culturally attached person [with] which we can identify because we’ve seen them in Disney movies.”

Tait said Bourassa’s shifting ancestry claims made her and other colleagues suspicious. They also recently learned that Bourassa’s sister had stopped claiming to be Métis after she examined her genealogy. So Tait, Wheeler, Smylie and others decided to review that genealogy for themselves.

“We start to see that no, as a matter of fact, [Bourassa’s ancestors] are farmers,” Tait said. “These are people who are Eastern European people. They come to Canada, they settle.”

Tait said genealogical records show that Bourassa’s supposed Indigenous ancestors were of Russian, Polish and Czechoslovakian descent.

“There was nowhere in that family tree where there was any Indigenous person,” said Wheeler.

Tait was so troubled by what she found that, with the support of Wheeler and others, she compiled the information in a document and submitted formal academic misconduct complaints against Bourassa with the U of S and the CIHR. In her email to CBC, Bourassa said the U of S complaint was dismissed.

“She is not Métis. She is the modern-day Grey Owl,” Tait said, referring to the famous British-born conservationist from the early 1900s who fooled the world into believing he was a Native American man.

CBC independently examined genealogical records related to Bourassa’s ancestry, including birth certificates, ship passenger manifests, census records, probate files, newspaper clippings and local family histories.

CBC also examined Bourassa’s public claims about her ancestry. The most specific account CBC was able to locate was in a 2018 talk she delivered at the Health Sciences North Centre in Sudbury, Ont., when she addressed her relationship to the Tlingit.

Bourassa said she first learned about that connection 16 years ago, during a mysterious naming ceremony when she says she received the spirit name Ts’iotaat Kutx Ayanaha s’eek, or Morning Star Bear.

She told the audience she was puzzled to learn her spirit name was in the Tlingit language.

“I couldn’t understand why my name would come in Tlingit when I’m an Anishinaabe Métis. It was very confusing to me,” said Bourassa.

She said she met a Tlingit elder in October 2017 on a trip to the Yukon and made a surprising discovery.

My great-grandmother was Tlingit. She married an immigrant.

“We started talking and, if you can believe it, we’re relatives,” Bourassa told her audience.

“My great-grandmother was Tlingit,” she said, referring to Johanna Salaba. “She married an immigrant. They moved from the far northern B.C. into Saskatchewan and they had a family.”

However, CBC has passenger manifests showing Bourassa’s great-grandmother Salaba left Russia in 1911 with her mother and sister to connect with her father, who had been granted land in Saskatchewan’s Punnichy area, where many Eastern European people settled.

Census records identify Salaba as a Czech-speaking Russian, unable to speak English.

CBC spoke with a 99-year-old relative of Johanna, Marie Salaba, whose husband, Phillip, was Johanna’s nephew. Marie says in the 1940s, she and Phillip used to visit with his aunts, including Johanna, also known as Jennie.

“I met them, but I never had any visits with them, because they talked Czech and I didn’t. But my husband did,” said Marie Salaba.

In about 1913, Johanna married Joseph Knezacek.

Census records show he was a Russian-born farme
r who immigrated to Saskatchewan in 1890. Knezacek’s first wife, Sophia, died in 1912, leaving behind seven children.

Joseph and Johanna had 10 children together, according to the birth registry, census records, obituaries and published family history accounts.

Their second-youngest child was Ladislav “Laddie” Knezacek. According to a 1992 Regina Leader-Post obituary, Laddie is Bourassa’s grandfather.

“This grandfather that [Bourassa] was always talking about was not Indigenous,” Wheeler said.

Clockwise from top left: Bourassa's great-grandfather Joseph Knezacek and his first wife, Sophia, with their children in the early 1900s. (Treasury of Memories) Joseph and Johanna Knezacek (nee Salaba), Bourassa's great-grandmother and great-grandfather, in the early 1930s. (Submitted by Tracey Pelletier) Bourassa, middle, with her grandfather Laddie Knezacek and her grandmother Gertrude Knezacek. (TEDx Talks/YouTube) Johanna Salaba and two of her grandchildren in the early 1940s. (Submitted by Giles Norek)
Bourassa has relayed parts of her life story in print and in many talks across the country. Born in 1973, she says she was raised by her teenage parents and her Métis grandfather and faced “intergenerational trauma,” the consequences of racism and colonialism.

“Everybody around me was either an alcoholic, drug addict or suffered from some sort of addiction. There was a lot of violence in my family,” she said in a 2017 episode of the Women Warriors podcast. “There was a lot of sexual abuse. It was endemic.”

Bourassa said her family on her mother’s side was Métis, but that fact was kept quiet.

“Self-hatred, denial and preservation meant hiding our Métis status,” Bourassa wrote in her 2017 book, Listening to the Beat of our Drum.

She said her grandfather, a Regina car salesman, told her “it was a very tough time to be a half-breed family,’’ as he would endure racist slurs. Bourassa said she did, too, noting, “I had a tough time in school anyways with bullying and taunts — ‘squaw,’ ‘half-breed,’ you name it and I was called it.”

In a 2019 Twitter post, Bourassa wrote, “I was around 7 years old with my gramps and we were walking together. Someone shouted out ‘dirty breed’ to him… and that’s when I knew what racism was.”

Even so, she said her grandfather tried to pass down some Métis traditions. “He did take me out to an aunty’s to pick berries, and they tanned hides, made mukluks and moccasins, and beaded,” she said.

Bourassa says as a child, she was just focused on survival and didn’t have time to dream about a better life. But she said thanks to her grandfather’s inspiration, she has been able to break that cycle.

‘Not rooted in fact'
Bourassa’s parents, Ron and Diane Weibel, declined an interview with CBC. However, a statement provided to CBC by their other daughter, Jody Burnett, on behalf of the family, says Bourassa’s “description of our family is inaccurate, not rooted in fact and moreover is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not Carrie Bourassa is Métis.”

They said they have no further comment.

However, through publicly available information, CBC has been able to piece together some details of Bourassa’s early family life.

The Weibels own and operate Berry Hills Estates, a real estate development in the Qu’Appelle Valley, where they offer people the chance to build a dream home “on one of Saskatchewan’s most sought-after lakes.”

On their website, they provide their own account of their family’s early years.

“We lived in Regina most of our lives, married young, had two children, started businesses of our own, one of which we ran for over 30 years,” the website says.

Their longest-running business, Ron’s Car Cleaning, started in the mid-1970s, shortly after Bourassa was born.

“It was the No. 1 detail shop in the province for, like, forever,” said Jason Coates, a former employee of the Weibels, who said Diane Weibel was a brilliant, hard-working businesswoman.

“[The Weibels] were always doing really well,” said Coates. “That’s because she would work her ass off.”

In 1979, when Carrie was about six years old, the Weibels purchased a home in a middle-class neighbourhood in Regina’s north end, according to land title records.

On the weekends, Ron Weibel was active at the racetrack, as one of the most prominent and successful racing enthusiasts and organizers in Regina. A 1986 Regina Leader-Post article described Weibel’s 1982 Corvette as “the envy of most of the estimated 1,000 race patrons.”

In her 1998 master’s thesis at the University of Regina, Bourassa did not mention her grandfather but thanked her husband, Chad Bourassa, and his parents, as well as mom and dad “Ron and Diane Weibel, who not only insisted that I pursue my dream, but also sacrificed their financial stability so that I could do so.”

Wheeler says she’s offended by the way that Bourassa has described her childhood, “feeding into stereotypes” of poverty, violence and substance abuse.

“Maybe she did have a dysfunctional childhood and it was full of pain. But to bring that into a discussion about her identity and under this flimsy umbrella of her Indigeneity, I think, was really manipulative, because it suggests that she is Indigenous, that she experienced Indigenous poverty.”

Wheeler said Bourassa’s claims of Indigeneity are offensive.

“It’s theft. It is colonialism in its worst form and it’s a gross form of white privilege.”

Sister abandons Métis heritage claim
In an email to CBC, Burnett, Bourassa’s sister, wrote “growing up as a child, I didn’t identify as Métis.”

That changed in 2002, when Bourassa invited Burnett to a meeting with the president of a Métis local organization, Clifford Larocque. Burnett said at that meeting, “Cliff provided confirmation that our family had [Métis] lineage in B.C.” She said he assured Burnett that she did have Métis ancestry and “should be confident in representing myself as such.”

She said at that meeting “I was not shown any documentation — rather, it was shared with me verbally.” Laroque did provide Burnett, however, with a certificate of membership in a Métis local. According to the email from Bourassa, Larocque provided her with a membership in the Métis local in 2006.

Burnett began identifying publicly as Métis. In her 2012 PhD dissertation at the University of Regina on the problems of gambling in Indigenous communities, Burnett also described a difficult childhood.

“As a Métis woman growing up in a family that was constantly struggling with addiction, work in this area became very important to me,” Burnett wrote. “Both my grandmother and my aunt had problems with gambling. They lost their financial stability, weakened their family units.”

According to acknowledgments in her thesis, Burnett received funding for her education from a number of bodies that provided financial assistance to Indigenous people.

Burnett told CBC she hasn’t claimed to be Métis since 2014, when her “husband completed a family tree through a genealogical software program. From that point on, I did not feel certain of my heritage and as such, have stopped identifying as Métis.”

This angered Bourassa, according to a 2018 email Bourassa wrote to her colleague Caroline Tait. The email exchange began one October evening, when a colleague at an event told Tait that Burnett had renounced her Métis identity and that Bourassa was not truly Indigenous.

At the time, Bourassa was living in Tait’s house, as she had just arrived in Saskatoon to take up a new role at the U of S.

Tait decided to write a quick email to Bourassa to clear up what she assumed was a rumour. Bourassa confirmed the story about Burnett was true.

“My sister and my aunt decided to turn their backs on the Métis community because they are self-serving, selfish people and [have] no interest in serving their communities,” Bourassa wrote to Tait, who provided the email to CBC.

“All they were looking for was a way to make some money. My sister got thousands of dollars in Métis scholarships that put her through her Masters and PhD.” Burnett says when she applied for and received that funding she believed she was Métis and a legitimate recipient of it.

Bourassa also defended her own ancestry, writing, “I have twice done my genealogy and received Métis local memberships and I am accepted in the community.”

CBC asked Bourassa for a copy of those genealogies, but she hasn’t provided them.

Bourassa not on Métis citizenship registry
On her Facebook page, Bourassa says she’s a member of First Indigenous Riel Métis Local #33 (FIRM 33).

Wendy Gervais, the elected representative for the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN-S) in the Regina region where FIRM 33 is located, says that organization is not connected to the Métis Nation.


“They are not a recognized, legal local,” said Gervais. “They’re not part of our governing body.”

Gervais said in Saskatchewan, proving you are a Métis person is relatively simple — you just show you are on the provincial citizenship registry.

“If someone were questioning who I am, here’s my citizenship card, here’s my genealogy. This is who I am,” said Gervais. “Any person carrying a Métis citizenship card has produced their documentation to prove who they are.”

Janet Smylie, a Métis family medicine professor from the University of Toronto, decided to review Bourassa's genealogy herself. (Submitted by Janet Smylie)
In fact, during a 2012 address to a House of Commons committee examining Métis identity, Bourassa acknowledged she didn’t qualify for the registry.

“I can have my local membership, but I know I am not eligible for that provincial registry,” Bourassa said.

While Bourassa has declined an interview, CBC has learned that behind the scenes she has been preparing for a potential story for months.

In a July email sent from her CIHR account, Bourassa told a group of supporters she had become aware that CBC was investigating her.

“CBC has been relentlessly targeting Indigenous female leaders and I have been one of the biggest targets,” she wrote in the email, which was provided to CBC. “I will NOT be taking any interviews and the strategy is that we focus on CBC not me.”

It is now time to support and celebrate strong Indigenous female leaders as opposed to use them as targets of these kinds of attacks.

She noted in the email that staff at CIHR had assisted her in drafting a response statement “in the event that CBC does run a story.” She asked the recipients for feedback on the draft statement, which indicated it is “appalling” that the CBC was focusing on “Indigenous identity fraud.”

“It is now time to support and celebrate strong Indigenous female leaders as opposed to use them as targets of these kinds of attacks.”

CBC asked CIHR if it was appropriate for communications staff at a federal agency to assist Bourassa in writing a statement like this. In an email, a spokesperson replied, “CIHR strongly supports Dr. Carrie Bourassa in refuting any claims doubting her Indigenous identity.”

CBC has also been provided with a six-page draft entitled “Open letter in support of Dr. Carrie Bourassa,” dated Sept. 7, 2021.

The draft letter offers a series of quotes in support of Bourassa, although most didn’t include attribution. The letter concludes with the names of about 30 people, including five members of Bourassa’s CIHR IIPH board.

The letter says the signatories support Bourassa as a “strong and resilient Indigenous woman,” and it says those questioning that “should be ashamed and need to reflect on their own colonial thinking.”

The letter says Indigenous academics criticizing Bourassa are on “a witch hunt.”

“The Elder ‘believes it is repugnant that professional Indigenous people should stoop to attack each other in their line of work,” the letter says, without specifying who the elder is.

The letter indicates that when evaluating someone’s claim to Indigenous identity, community acceptance and self-identification are more important than genealogy.

The letter also says, “I see their gifts, how they contribute to our community and I see the pride they show in who they have become, which is what matters to me. Ancestry.com has nothing to do with it.”

One of the 30 names at the bottom of this letter is Christopher Mushquash, the vice-chair of Bourassa’s CIHR IIPH board. When asked by CBC if he endorsed the letter, Mushquash said he had seen a draft and “asked that my name not be included [in] an open letter.”

Another board member, Dawn Martin-Hill, was puzzled by her inclusion in the letter.

“I couldn’t understand why I never received a copy from Director [Scientific Director Carrie Bourassa] for approval,” she wrote in an email to CBC. “I asked Carrie, ‘Why would you release a letter with my name on it?’”

Can't stay silent
Wheeler said the fact that the letter advocates sidelining genealogical proof is alarming at a time when Indigenous people are fighting for their rights and their land.

“That’s opening the doors to every Tom, Dick and Harry to claim Indigeneity,” she said. “Then suddenly out of the woodwork, everybody’s Indigenous because they feel like it.”

According to an email from the University of Saskatchewan, if Indigenous identity or experience is required for a role, the university “accepts self-declaration in matters of employment.”

Wheeler said that’s not enough.

“When I apply for an academic job, I have to give them a copy of my certificate for my PhD,” she said. “But if I’m applying for a position that’s targeted only for Indigenous people, I’m not required to provide anything except self-identification. Now that’s lowering standards.”

Smylie said she decided to speak up, despite the risks to her career, because the consequences of continued silence are grave.

“If I was to stay quiet and let somebody who’s an impostor regularly inform the nation and lead the nation like in Indigenous health, then I guess then I wouldn’t [have] earned the right to call myself Métis anymore,” she said. “And that will be the end of our people.”

Offline verity

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2021, 02:37:54 am »
Quote
Wheeler says she’s offended by the way that Bourassa has described her childhood, “feeding into stereotypes” of poverty, violence and substance abuse.

“Maybe she did have a dysfunctional childhood and it was full of pain. But to bring that into a discussion about her identity and under this flimsy umbrella of her Indigeneity, I think, was really manipulative, because it suggests that she is Indigenous, that she experienced Indigenous poverty.”

Wheeler said Bourassa’s claims of Indigeneity are offensive.

“It’s theft. It is colonialism in its worst form and it’s a gross form of white privilege.

White women who had rough childhoods need to stop trying to appease their pain with false claims of Indigenous heritage.

There are other examples of white women doing this discussed here on the forums.

Bourassa's TEDx talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/carrie_bourassa_noojimo_mikana_a_healing_path_research_as_reconciliation

I wonder about her hair and skin color.

Is this a minstrel performance of pain? Is she not well, or both? Her speaking style changes and levels when she speaks of academics and money.


Offline verity

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2021, 03:14:34 am »
I should clarify: I don't know what kind of childhood she had.

Salary information https://careers.usask.ca/agreements/compensation/salary-list.php

Carrie    Bourassa    Professor    College of Medicine    $208,555.00 (annual pay) $138,689.28 (other)

A reddit discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/stupidpol/comments/qh92ph/a_very_canadian_story_white_woman_passes_off/


Offline Sparks

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2021, 02:48:00 am »
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-queens-university-launches-process-to-verify-claims-to-indigenous/

This article is partly about Dr. Bourassa, but also reporting this:

Quote
Queen’s University launches process to verify claims to Indigenous identity

Queen’s University is launching consultations on how to assess Indigenous identity claims in hiring, a first step in establishing what could be a national model for universities struggling to deal with allegations of identity fraud among their faculty.

Queen’s in Kingston said it realized this year that it had not applied the required rigour to questions of identity in hiring and other processes, such as scholarships, where belonging to an Indigenous community can be a factor.

Kanonhysonne Janice Hill, associate vice-principal for Indigenous initiatives and reconciliation, said universities across Canada are asking themselves how to establish a fair and consistent process to ensure that positions and awards intended for Indigenous faculty, staff and students actually go to Indigenous people.

“Across the postsecondary sector, and in many other sectors in our country, there have been claims of fraudulent Indigenous identity,” Prof. Hill said. “Many initiatives are put in place to advantage Indigenous populations. And so we have to be sure that the people those programs are intended for are the ones that are actually the recipients.”

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2021, 06:16:35 pm »

I wonder about her hair and skin color.

Is this a minstrel performance of pain? Is she not well, or both? Her speaking style changes and levels when she speaks of academics and money.

Could be tanning makeup, esp when you compare to that earlier photo. Or it could be her Russian ancestry includes Siberian, or any of her eastern Europe ancestry includes Romany.

This seems different to me than the Dolezal case where she had obvious mental health issues. This seems done for money initially, taking scholarships and funding intended for Natives. Then done for huge salary. Canada's govt often has no problem giving money for Nuage projects and pretending it's Native. If she'd gone ahead and admitted to being Euro but Nuage she could still have gotten a job, just not the scholarships.

Offline verity

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2021, 12:14:13 am »
Her 2008 thesis "Destruction of the Métis nation: Health consequences" can be found through a search using Google Scholar https://scholar.google.com/ . Other academic writings available also.

The genealogy work done on her family is really impressive. Through the articles detailed above in this thread we are shown the right way to do the research. Step by step, working our way back, with actual records (not relying on unsourced family trees or vague stories).

This quote from Bourassa:

Quote
She also conceded that a previous claim she made to Tlingit heritage through her great-grandmother was false, but said she believed she would find proof of such a connection eventually.

As if the power of belief will change actual records and community identifications.

Canada's govt often has no problem giving money for Nuage projects and pretending it's Native.

Another example of this is the Psychology of Vision /Chuck Spezzano scam http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=4179.0

Offline verity

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2021, 12:51:03 am »
Quote
The revelations about Carrie Bourassa's claims to Indigeneity were, in retrospect, not especially surprising to those of us who research Indigenous identity.

Her story followed a fairly predictable arc. It started with hazy, increasingly confusing and contradictory claims to Indigeneity, moved on to accusations of bullying and lateral violence, then to defenders and detractors arguing with each other on her behalf, followed by attempts to shore up earlier claims and, eventually, silence.

Indigenous identity fraud is encouraged in academia. Here's how to change that
What is it about university structures that allows these dynamics to continue?
Chris Andersen · For CBC Opinion · Posted: Nov 04, 2021
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/opinion-chris-andersen-indigenous-identity-fraud-1.6236018?fbclid=IwAR2g3HekDVJv0IxAS6XuLYj1cBREGceNiwQLdTUdjsfdk-2AaKvm5u4cxHc

Offline Sparks

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2021, 07:37:43 pm »
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/article-the-carrie-bourassa-story-is-yet-another-example-of-a-kind-of-cultural/
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The Carrie Bourassa story is yet another example of a kind of cultural Munchausen Syndrome

Opinion piece written by "Drew Hayden Taylor … an Anishnawbe playwright and humorist".

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Carrie Bourassa, a University of Saskatchewan professor, told the world her ancestry was Métis, Anishnawbe and Tlingit. But she has been unable to verify her ancestry following reports questioning those claims.
DAVE STOBBE/UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN

About the Munchausen Syndrome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factitious_disorder_imposed_on_self

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Munchausen

Offline Sparks

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2021, 05:49:24 pm »
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/federal-health-research-funding-body-cuts-ties-carrie-bourassa-1.6252691

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Federal health research funding agency cuts ties with Carrie Bourassa, who falsely claimed Indigenous ancestry

U of S professor has provided no evidence for her many claims of being Indigenous

Geoff Leo · CBC News · Posted: Nov 17, 2021 3:07 PM CT | Last Updated: November 17

Carrie Bourassa is out as the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health. (Morgan Modjeski/CBC News) [Photo caption]

Canada's federal agency for funding health research has cut ties with University of Saskatchewan Prof. Carrie Bourassa, following a CBC News investigation casting doubt on her claims to Indigeneity.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Until recently, Bourassa was the scientific director of the Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health (IIPH), one of 13 CIHR institutes. It provides much of the funding in Canada for health research focused on Indigenous people.

Read more by clicking the link.


Offline Sparks

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2021, 12:14:30 am »
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/universities-addressing-indigenous-identity-fraud-after-carrie-bourassa-1.6266901
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Universities across Canada addressing Indigenous identity fraud in wake of Carrie Bourassa investigation

First Nations University in Sask. planning for national dialogue on Indigenous identity

Geoff Leo · CBC News · Posted: Nov 29, 2021 4:23 PM CT | Last Updated: November 29

Many interesting links; several of them about Dr. Carrie Bourassa.

Offline Diana

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Re: Dr. Carrie Bourassa — claims of Métis, Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2021, 09:32:24 am »
New and very informative article about Carrie Bourassa. Lots of pictures with descriptions and explanations. And she DOES die her hair black. It appears as a child she had beautiful brown hair, and her sister is a blonde.

https://nypost-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/nypost.com/2021/12/01/how-carrie-bourassa-passed-herself-off-as-indigenous-for-years/


How disgraced health expert Carrie Bourassa passed as indigenous for years
By Isabel Vincent

December 1, 2021 | 3:01pm


Carrie Bourassa’s Instagram page describes her as an “Indigenous feminist” and “proud Metis” with an addiction to lattes.

Only her penchant for caffeine was true.

Bourassa, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a leading expert on indigenous issues, has been exposed as a fraud. A family tree prepared by a group of academics who were suspicious of her ancestral claims shows that Bourassa is of Swiss, Hungarian, Polish and Czechoslovakian origins and has not one ounce of indigenous blood.

Yet for decades, Bourassa has identified herself as Métis — a group recognized as one of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, along with First Nations and Inuit. She also claims some traces of Tlingit and Anishinaabe heritage in her background.

“When I was very young, I knew I was not a Caucasian person,” Bourassa recently told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. “I knew there was something very different about me.”

In a 2019 Tedx Talk, Bourassa wore a blue woven cloak and held a feather as she introduced herself as Morning Star Bear, a spirit name translated from the Tlingit language. She said she grew up in a dysfunctional family that struggled with alcoholism and violence in the western Canadian city of Regina. Her only saving grace was the Métis grandfather she called “gramps,” who took her on excursions to tan hides, pick berries and gave her moccasins and mukluks — boots made of sealskin worn in the Canadian Arctic.

But after a recent report by Canada’s national broadcaster, the CBC, raised serious questions about Bourassa’s heritage, the University of Saskatchewan announced last month that it had placed her on paid leave while it conducts a sweeping independent investigation into her origins led by an attorney who is an expert on indigenous law.

Bourassa was also suspended as scientific director of the indigenous health branch of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In recent days, university administrators and indigenous leaders across the country, who traditionally rely on self-identification in determining indigenous ancestry, are calling for more rigorous standards.

“It’s a crazy story,” said Caroline Tait, a Métis professor of medical anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan who has worked with Bourassa for more than 10 years and recently helped expose Bourassa’s origins. “It’s crazy that she got away with it for so long. The whole country is horrified.”

Carrie Bourassa, 48, grew up in a white middle-class family in Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan with a population of just under 240,000 residents. Her father, Ron Weibel, was a small businessman who owned car cleaning companies in the city.

“We lived in Regina most of our lives, married young, had two children, started businesses of our own, one of which we ran for over 30 years,” said Weibel on his website, Berry Hills Estates, which sells custom homes near Katepwa  Lake resort, an hour outside Regina.

“Our lives were hectic, to say the least, with two shops to run and two daughters with school and sports activities, we were always on the go!” continued Weibel, who is the president of Berry Hills Developments, according to his LinkedIn page.

But Bourassa remembers her childhood differently, and credited her grandfather for helping her escape a grim existence.

In the introduction to her 2017 book, “Listening to the Beat of Our Drum: Indigenous Parenting in Contemporary Society,” Bourassa describes her grandfather urging her to get an education to escape the poverty and violence that was rampant in her family, which included an alcoholic grandmother and absent parents.

“My gramps was gently whispering to me, and telling me I would be safe,” wrote Bourassa. “But he said something else — he said, ‘My girl, you will be the one to stop this. You are going to grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer. You do not want to be like this. You hear me?’”

Family photographs tell a different story. Bourassa is pictured as a little girl with her white maternal grandparents, Ladislav and Gertrude Knezacek. Ladislav, who was born in Saskatchewan in 1928, is also pictured in uniform. His family originated in Hungary, and Ladislav appears nothing like the Métis “gramps” Bourassa describes in her speeches. Gertrude’s family arrived in Canada from Bohemia, a part of Czechoslovakia, before she was born in 1933. Another photo shows Bourassa, her husband, Chad, and their two daughters happily celebrating Christmas.

Bourassa went on to become one of the most important indigenous health experts in Canada. In addition to her teaching position at the University of Saskatchewan, she was scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, a federal agency that helps distribute millions of dollars in grants for indigenous health research in Canada. Bourassa once bragged that she made nearly $400,000 as an academic, a source told the Post.

In her personal narrative, Bourassa has long credited Clifford LaRocque, a Métis elder, long deceased, with helping her identify with the group when she was in her early 20s. She said LaRocque adopted her after he claimed to have researched her ancestry in 2002. Bourassa told the CBC that she never saw the proof he said he found. “He was a well-respected leader in my community,” Bourassa told a Canadian Senate panel in June 2012. “He knew many of the Métis families. Even though many of us had gaps in our histories, he was able to help fill those gaps with his immense historical and geographical knowledge.”

Carrie Bourassa’s family tree, compiled by academics, shows no indigenous blood in her ancestry.

Both Bourassa and her younger sister, Jody Burnett, began to identify as Métis as young women. The designation came with a few perks, namely thousands of dollars in educational grants that the federal government typically hands out to indigenous Canadians. Both Bourassa and her sister would go on to earn PhDs in their respective fields. Burnett has a doctorate in educational psychology, and Bourassa earned her PhD in 2008 in indigenous health. Burnett did not return The Post’s requests for comment.

In the introduction to her thesis, which she completed in March 2008, Bourassa thanks the Weibels for their support. “I would also like to thank my parents, Ron and Diane Weibel who sacrificed so that I could achieve my dream. You have been cheering me on and encouraging me from the very beginning and I am so blessed to have you as my parents.

Calls and an email to her parents were not returned this week.

Bourassa continued to identify as Métis as she rose in academe. But her sister renounced her own identification. Burnett hasn’t claimed to be Métis since 2014, she told the CBC, when her “husband completed a family tree through a genealogical software program. From that point on, I did not feel certain of my heritage and as such, have stopped identifying as Métis.”

Burnett’s decision to stop identifying as Métis angered Bourassa. In a 2018 email to Tait viewed by The Post, Bourassa wrote, “My sister got thousands of dollars in Métis scholarships that put her through her Masters and PhD and I was so proud at first — until she was done and then would have nothing to do with the Métis people who supported her.”

Tait and other academics began to have doubts about Bourassa after a student questioned her background a few years ago, Tait told The Post.

“We began to map out her kinship,” said Tait. The effort resulted in a 77-page complaint that she and other academics presented to the University of Saskatchewan earlier this year. “We went to the school hat in hand and asked them if they could please take this on because we saw it as an example of research misconduct. A lot of us rely on Carrie for funding our projects, and the whole thing just seemed wrong.”

When university administrators refused to act on the complaint, Tait enlisted the help of the CBC. “At the time that they denied the claim, I told them we would work with a journalist to make it all public,” she said. “There’s been enormous outrage across the country over this.”

Bourassa, a mother of two daughters who is married to a retired Regina cop who also identifies as Métis, did not return The Post’s calls for comment, but has said that she has twice traced her own roots and has received memberships in local Métis groups in Regina. She said she didn’t take positions or funding away from indigenous people but built her career solely on her own merit.

A press release issued on her behalf by Team Bourassa — “an Indigenous collective who choose anonymity at this time” — said she is exercising her right to self-identify as indigenous and has not inappropriately taken opportunities or educational funding from indigenous people.

“Dr. Carrie Bourassa has not falsely identified as Indigenous nor taken space away from Indigenous peoples, either in the form of student funding, grants or career advancements,” the statement said. “She has earned her professional status and merit through hard work, self-funding and sheer determination.”



Offline Diana

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There's a good interview with faculty on Saskatoon Morning show in this article. It's about 8 minutes long.



https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/university-saskatchewan-indigenous-verification-policy-1.6459520

U of S will have Indigenous verification policy in place this fall


Policy meant to ensure Indigenous programming, funding goes to Indigenous people
CBC News · Posted: May 19, 2022 12:56 PM CT


A task force at the University of Saskatchewan is creating an Indigenous verification policy.

The policy is meant to ensure Indigenous programming and funding goes to people who are actually Indigenous.

This comes after some high profile cases of professors across the country who were unable to provide evidence of their Indigenous identity.

Last fall, the CBC reported on the legitimacy of a U of S professor, Carrie Bourassa, who is on administrative leave after claiming to be Metis, Anishnaabe, and Tlingit.

Angela Jaime, interim vice-provost of Indigenous engagement at the U of S and chair of the task force, said faculty, staff and students will need to show documentation starting this fall when applying for Indigenous jobs and programming.

"Those documents will be determined by the Indigenous community, the task force itself that has representation from the Indigenous community both inside the institution and out," said Jaime, who is a member of Pit River Nation in Northern California and Valley Maidu Tribe in the Sacramento Valley.

Examples of documentation would include a Métis Nation-Saskatchewan citizenship card or a letter from the registry that states the individual meets the criteria to be a citizen.

"We're not adjudicating people's identities," Jaime said. "We're not using the term identity in any of the work that we're doing, but rather membership and citizenship of Indigenous communities. So we're looking for that documentation to help provide a path forward."

Kurtis Boyer, a faculty representative from Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and a citizen of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, said the U of S has brought Indigenous communities into the decision making process.

"Before now, Indigenous communities have not been included in this process. And so I think that's a good change," Boyer said.

He said Métis nations are in the process of rebuilding in many areas, including relationships with universities and colleges.

"I think the goal of any Indigenous person when at the university is to transmit knowledge, to protect and be part of that reclamation process of those stories and that culture and that heritage in those institutions," Boyer said.

"That's why it's very important to have people that are genuine there, and genuine in heart. Because in that role, when we have genuine people in that role, the universities are going to be a part of supporting that reclamation process of this nation."

Jaime said the new policy is about "creating a space that is meant for Indigenous people, resources that are meant for Indigenous people to make sure that we don't have fraudulent claims going forward.

"We're working to do an even better job going forward in creating that space of funding resources positions [and], senior leadership positions. And we want to be very clear that it's important that Indigenous voices are holding those spaces."

The task force will submit the policy for final approval next month.

With files from Saskatoon Morning

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Offline Diana

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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/carrie-bourassa-resigns-1.6473964

Carrie Bourassa, who claimed to be Indigenous without evidence, has resigned from U of Sask.


Investigative report by university expected 'in the near future'

Geoff Leo - CBC News
Posted: June 01, 2022


The University of Saskatchewan has announced in a brief statement that Carrie Bourassa has resigned.

Bourassa was a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology. She also ran an Indigenous community-based health research lab at the university.

For years, she claimed to be Métis, Anishinaabe and Tlingit, but an October 2021 CBC investigation found no evidence that she had any Indigenous ancestry. All of her relatives appear to be of European ancestry.

Following publication of that story, Bourassa was suspended and placed under investigation by the U of S. In November, the university announced that Métis lawyer Jean Teillet would conduct that probe.

Indigenous or pretender? Some colleagues say a leading health scientist is faking Indigenous ancestry
Health scientist Carrie Bourassa on immediate leave after scrutiny of her claim she's Indigenous
A statement from Preston Smith, the dean of the university's college of medicine, seems to indicate that with Bourassa's resignation, the investigative report will focus on policy improvements instead of Bourassa's conduct.

"Given Dr. Bourassa is no longer with the university, an investigation being conducted by Jean Teillet will now focus on recommendations for improvements to relevant University of Saskatchewan policies and processes," he wrote.

Smith indicated that the university expects to receive the report "in the near future."

In November, Bourassa was dismissed from her role as the scientific director of the Indigenous health arm of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). In that role, she oversaw the distribution of research funds to Indigenous health-focused projects across Canada.


Geoff Leo
Senior Investigative Journalist