Author Topic: Gail Tremblay  (Read 879 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Gail Tremblay
« on: July 03, 2022, 06:15:03 pm »
Got a request about her. The genealogy research below isn't mine, passing it along.


She's claimed some variation of "Mi'kmaq and Onondaga" for 40 plus years. This is prominent in her bios as artist, poet, academic (currently at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA).

The buzz at Evergreen is that she is not who she claims she is.

Tremblay appears to be highly regarded as an artist and poet.

When she teaches, some of her abrasive nature is excused by students with a version of "that's just how strong Native women are". She also is seriously visibly disabled, her ongoing medical challenges are not stabilized (she screams in pain sometimes in class, she does not have adequate caregivers etc.), my guess is this also makes folks less likely to question her.

Her main gallery rep is Froelick Gallery in Portland OR. Once they were notified about the Indian Arts and Crafts Act the only changes they made:

from "Gail Tremblay  (Mi'kmaq and Onondaga)"

to "Gail Tremblay is descended from Onondaga and Micmac ancestors"

But she doesn't even have descent.

She was born 15 Dec 1945 in Buffalo NY. 1950 federal census she, sister, parents are all listed white, as are her paternal grandparents living next door. No one else in her family ever identifies as anything other than white. Census, vital records, military, obits, society news - all white.

Her claims in media and artist bios since about 1980:

"Onondaga Indian"

"Onondaga, MicMac and French Canadian descent"


"father's father was of the Onondoga tribe, her father's mother was of the Mic Macs in Nova Scotia"

"Indian artist of Onondoga, MicMac heritage"

"Onondoga, MicMac, Canadian descent"

"member of the Onondaga and Micmac nations of upstate New York"

"Native American artist of the Micmac tribe (mother) and Iroquois/Onondaga (father)"

"member of Onadoga tribe"

"Gail Tremblay (Mi’kmaq and Onondaga) is a contemporary artist, educator, and Indigenous Elder"


In 1996 for an art installation piece she included an "army blanket she was issued as a freshman at Haskell Indian College in Kansas".

Roland G Tremblay 1917 - 2013
Leela Mae Young 1923 -

Paternal grandparents
Peter Ernest Tremblay 1886 - 1957
Maria B Demers 1887 - 1977

maternal grandparents:
Walter Frederic Young Sr 1898 - 1979
Rae Mildred Holcomb 1896 - 1952

At least 4 generations of this family, no sign of descent, heritage, or of membership in a Nation.

Gail Tremblay's past stories/teachings for media read oddly primitive, sorta pan Indian. Signs of her adjusting her claims perhaps to keep up with times and deflect questions.

Her art pieces go for big $$$

Along with selling through Froelick Gallery, she is active as an artist in other shows including

Her current faculty page has no claim but it used to read "Onondaga and Micmac ancestry"

She is listed "(Micmac/Onondaga)" on The Evergreen State College Longhouse page

Keep this in mind:

"In order to be considered Onondaga, your line MUST be enrolled by 1875, as all those considered legitimate were already tracked. Also, enrollment/membership in the Onondaga Nation is based on MATRILINEAL descent. In other words, the mother must be an enrolled member in order for the children to be enrolled. Keep in mind that our records list ONLY members. If an enrolled Onondaga man married a non-Onondaga woman, the names of the wife and the resulting non-enrolled children DO NOT APPEAR in our records

As an additional point of information, too often we receive inquiries from individuals who erroneously believe they descend from the “Iroquois Tribe”."

Sent in info to Indian Arts and Crafts Board

Gail Tremblay is English and French Canadian. Yet she has represented herself as Native for at least 40 years as a working artist, poet, someone to interview about Thanksgiving, and as a teacher.

Offline Diana

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Re: Gail Tremblay
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2022, 11:10:54 pm »
I looked at both sides of Gail Tremblay's family and got as far as the early 1800s, 1813, 1812, 1814 and 1826. All of Father's side are French Canadian immigrants. I wouldn't be surprised if Gail Tremblay was fluent in French. Her mother's side are all from Connecticut and Massachusetts. There are some early ggggrandparents from New York and one ggggrandfather was an immigrant from England. There no way this person is even remotely Indian.