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Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: "Disputed History"


Disputed history

"Prominent scholar and former judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says she is a treaty Indian of Cree ancestry — but her claims don’t appear to match the historical record. Her story illuminates a complex and growing discussion about Indigenous identity that’s playing out across the country. . . "

Currently METL is employed at UBC in the Peter Allard Law School and as the Director of the Residential School Survivors' Dialogue Centre.  Incredibly prominent, former judge, currently defended both by UBC and Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Claims about her fraudulent ancestry have been around since the 1990s as well as concerns about misrepresenting credentials.

Related stories:

Cree Lawyer Jean Ballantyne says pretendians should be charged with fraud:

There are updates and comments several places:

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond responds:

She gets support too, though:

The latest is further investigation from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC):

"Missing book, non-existent honour, leaked membership list among new Turpel-Lafond revelations"

This time concerns are raised about claims in her CV of writing books that don't seem to exist, a "QC" designation (Queens's Council - prestigious for Canadian lawyers serving at least 10 years) that can't be confirmed, and claims of membership in Law Societies (provinces of Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan) that appear to be false.

In principle, the chiefs' argument is right, that nations decide who is one of them. It's understandable they defend her because she's been part of so many important decisions and cases. Quite a few racists who don't give a damn about NDN causes will and are jumping on this to discredit NDN causes and undermine legal decisions.

But the fault falls on her for what seems pretty clear lying about who she is. She could have accomplished the same things as an ally, and her lying undermines everything she's done. This is different from the Margaret Noodin case, where she seems to have actually believed herself Native. METL even seems to have altered her appearance, from wavy even frizzy reddish brown hair as a teen to straightened darker hair.

From an academic, legal, and govt standard, her falsified resume and honors matter much more than her identity claims. That may be enough to force her out of her positions. Does anyone see any reason not to place her under Frauds?


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