Author Topic: Nibiiwakamigkwe AKA Kay LeClaire AKA Kathryn Le Claire in Madison, Wisconsin  (Read 194210 times)

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Re: nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire - Madison, Wisconsin
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2022, 12:16:34 am »
The earliest reference that I can find online for "nibiiwakamigkwe" is February 19, 2019. nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire is in a picture at the top of the article. I've attached the picture, as well.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Share Your Voice: Madison (American Indian Engagement Session)
Story by Dean Witter - Wisconsin Historical Foundation and Wisconsin Historical Society
https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS15994
https://web.archive.org/web/20220615001316/https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS15994

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Nibiiwakamigkwe, Oneida, Anishinaabe, Métis, provided insight into a rendering intended to celebrate the tradition of Wisconsin supper clubs.

“It really does look like a warm, inviting space,” Nibiiwakamigkwe said. 

“But my memories of supper clubs when I was little (include) walking in and seeing blatant images of red face, tobacco Indians … these really not OK things,” she added. “When I walk into a supper club, I don’t always feel that warmth and that community (feel) because I’m aware that this place wasn’t made for me.”

Also highlighting a similar shared experience by a friend who is African American, Nibiiwakamigkwe acknowledged the difficult task facing the Society, “(My friend) walked into the supper club and every head turned around and looked at her, so she just turned around and walked out, because how can you feel safe in the kind of space that was created and designed, and is currently curated, to not include you?”

“I just hope that you include Native perspectives throughout all of (the exhibits) because we still live here and we’re still a part of it," Nibiiwakamigkwe added. "I see that you’re trying to do that here and I do appreciate it. I hope you’ll continue to look into that.”

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Re: nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire - Madison, Wisconsin
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2022, 05:29:33 am »
In 2019/2020, nibiiwakamigkwe (aka Kay LeClaire or Kathryn Le Claire) publicly challenged the name of a new music venue and restaurant, The Winnebago, in Madison, Wisconsin. The issue was covered in two articles which are partially quoted and linked in full below. The second article was written by nibiiwakamigkwe.


1. East side venue’s name change decision follows months of quiet pressure (Tone Madison), October 22, 2019 - By Scott Gordon

Article Link: https://tonemadison.com/articles/east-side-venues-name-change-decision-follows-months-of-quiet-pressure/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20220707041301/https://tonemadison.com/articles/east-side-venues-name-change-decision-follows-months-of-quiet-pressure/

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Shortly after a new music venue and restaurant opened on the east side in February, at least one Madison resident contacted the business directly to challenge its choice of a name: The Winnebago. Said Madison resident is of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Métis, and Onyota’a:ka (Oneida) heritage, and asked Tone Madison to use their Anishinaabe name, nibiiwakamigkwe. In an exchange of messages with venue co-owner and booker John DeHaven over the course of the spring, nibiiwakamigkwe provided a detailed history of the erasure and cultural appropriation white people in the Madison area have practiced at the expense of Indigenous people.

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Along with that, nibiiwakamigkwe suggested several practices the venue could adopt to make it more welcoming to people of color and other marginalized people, including hiring a diversity coordinator and offering reparations in various forms.

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The initial lack of action from the venue, after nibiiwakamigkwe sent over an extensively researched historical primer, also frustrated them, as did John DeHaven’s request for access to tribal elders. “Our Elders, knowledge-keepers, are so valuable, and to loan them out to people who have chosen a name that harms us is disrespectful to them,” nibiiwakamigkwe says.

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The conversations between nibiiwakamigkwe and John DeHaven also illustrate how people of color are often burdened with educating white people. “There has been a long-standing expectation that we will educate others for free, at great time and emotional expense to ourselves,” nibiiwakamigkwe says. “That is exploitation and neo-colonialism.” They recommend that white people seeking to understand Indigenous issues go first to online resources like Native Appropriations, ndn.o, lilnativeboy, and @dearnonnatives, and they add: “If you want to slide into their DMs with a question, be sure to drop them some gas money through their Patreons or PayPals.”


2. Not Yours to Use (Our Lives - Dear Queer White People), February 12, 2020 - By Nibiiwakamigkwe

Article Link: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/not-yours-to-use/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20211028174035/https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/not-yours-to-use/

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Aaniin, boozhoo niindinawemaganidog. Hello, my relatives! My Anishinaabe name is nibiiwakamigkwe, which means watery ground or wet earth woman. I am an Anishinaabe (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, marten clan), Onyota’a:ka (Oneida Nation of New York, bear clan), and Métis (Red River Settlement) Two-Spirit and uninvited guest of 7 years here in Tee Jop, on HoCaak Land. Dr. Sami Schalk has created space here for me to talk about the intersection of queer and Indigenous issues. Ambe! (Let’s go!) On February 25, 2019, I read about a new music venue opening on the near east side. As an artist and consumer of art, I wanted to be happy, but couldn’t get past the name. Winnebago??? Do they know? It’s an easy enough fix, I thought. They aren’t even fully open yet. The same day I sent off a quick Facebook message on the venue’s page. What followed was an extended exchange with whom I later learned was John DeHaven, co-owner. He asked to learn more. I further explained the colonial implications behind using the name. He asked to talk with my Elders about a name change. I stopped responding. Our Elders are sacred to us, and we don’t rent them out to people. I gave up replying: I had explained, in detail, and he still didn’t want to take action to change the name.

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While artists I adore and queer friends found a fantastic, seemingly inclusive space, I was never able to bring myself to go. Their name alone meant the space could not include me or other Indigenous folks. Representation matters, and how we define ourselves and who defines us have lasting impacts on our history and sovereignty. I am connected with three separate Indigenous nations, and when I google them, the primary searches are: a Louis Vuitton handbag (Métis), an upstate New York cult that decided to make flatware (Oneida), and an immediate redirect to a Lakota/Dakota exonym (Anishinaabe to Ojibwe). These kinds of cultural dissonance—who we are versus what society associates with us—are incredibly problematic and especially damaging to Native youth and those that are vulnerable. I couldn’t support this kind of disrespect to the Ho Chunk that I had experienced so heavily. In October 2019, after the success of GenderFest and strong community support, one of my non-Native friends rhetorically asked if anyone would ask The Winnebago to change its name. It was a completely real question to me, and I finally shared those transcripts from months ago. People saw, people shared, and many of Madison’s queer folks and artists agreed a name change was necessary and a boycott was needed to back the effort.

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I am from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, but I identify as Anishinaabe.

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Ok, they changed the name, aren’t you happy?

I’m glad the owners have decided to no longer profit from the identities of Indigenous peoples. But it took them nine months after my initial contact, and coincidentally around the time that multiple predominantly-white bands (miigwech Dumpster Dick and Sylvia), producers, and patrons decided to no longer attend the venue with its original name. The name change is in response to their anger and the potential loss of white people’s money rather than misrepresentation of and education from Indigenous peoples. Once again, white folks’ emotions, labor, and intentions carry more weight than ours. This is why allyship and accountability are so important, but holding these prejudices is not something that is easily forgivable of the owners. So I’m glad the name is going, but I’m not happy the institutions that allowed it to be stolen in the first place remain. For over 500 years, Indigenous Peoples have not controlled our narratives and representations. Our exclusion has been built into inclusion for others. The foundation of any equality work cannot be oppression. Let’s do better. Miigwech bizindawiyeg! (Thanks for listening!)

Like this? Follow me on IG @wetearthwoman or drop some bannock money to my PayPal at wetearthwoman@*****.com.

Text formatting added for emphasis.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Re: nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire - Madison, Wisconsin
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2022, 10:53:22 pm »
From February 19, 2019 through February 12, 2020, Nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire (KL) claimed to be Oneida, Anishinaabe, and Metis in publicly available interviews and articles. Then, in an article on May 19, 2020, KL claimed to be Cuban (in addition to Oneida, Anishinaabe, and Metis). KL claimed to be Cuban in all the articles, interviews, and presentations I was able to find online through August 31, 2020. In an interview on May 11, 2021 (and everything that followed), KL no longer identified as Cuban. Why?

Something significant happened at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in September 2020. On September 3, 2020, Jessica Krug, an associate professor of history at George Washington University, admitted to falsely claiming to be Black and Latina. Krug had completed her PhD at University of Wisconsin – Madison. On September 4, 2020, C.V. Vitolo-Haddad, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, was the subject of an anonymous post to Medium which alleged Vitolo-Haddad was falsely claiming to be Black and/or Latina. Vitolo-Haddad later acknowledged they were "Italian with a possible, but unconfirmed, distant ancestor who is Ethiopian." The anonymous writer was motivated to action after reading about Jessica Krug and seeing the parallels between Krug and Vitolo-Haddad. In my opinion, KL shares many of those same parallels with Krug and Vitolo-Haddad.

Is it a coincidence that KL stopped claiming to be Cuban after the publicity surrounding Krug and Vitolo-Haddad? Maybe.

Below is a timeline of KL’s identity claims with excerpts from linked sources. I've also included sources with links related to Jessica Krug and C.V. Vitolo-Haddad on the timeline.

February 19, 2019 – February 12, 2020: 4 Sources
May 19, 2020 – August 31, 2020: 5 Sources
May 31, 2021 – December 8, 2021: 5 Sources
Unknown Date: 1 source   

Prior to claiming to be Cuban…

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February 19, 2019 – Wisconsin Historical Society
American Indian Engagement Session Story – By Dean Witter


Nibiiwakamigkwe, Oneida, Anishinaabe, Métis, provided insight into a rendering intended to celebrate the tradition of Wisconsin supper clubs.

Direct Link: https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS15994
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20220615001316/https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS15994

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September 5, 2019 – MADISON.COM
Exhibit at Al. Ringling Gallery in Baraboo to celebrate Wisconsin female artists – By Nicole Aimone


Nibiiwakamigkwe, an artist from Madison with Oneida ancestry, will display beadwork that represents a native medicine wheel.

Direct Link: https://madison.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/exhibit-at-al-ringling-gallery-in-baraboo-to-celebrate-wisconsin/article_c6e73b2f-e4ef-5bca-a878-0a3024e19fc5.html
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20190909040035/https://madison.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/exhibit-at-al-ringling-gallery-in-baraboo-to-celebrate-wisconsin/article_c6e73b2f-e4ef-5bca-a878-0a3024e19fc5.html

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October 22, 2019 – Tone Madison
East side venue’s name change decision follows months of quiet pressure – By Scott Gordon


Said Madison resident is of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Métis, and Onyota’a:ka (Oneida) heritage, and asked Tone Madison to use their Anishinaabe name, nibiiwakamigkwe.


Direct Link: https://tonemadison.com/articles/east-side-venues-name-change-decision-follows-months-of-quiet-pressure/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20200423135003/https://tonemadison.com/articles/east-side-venues-name-change-decision-follows-months-of-quiet-pressure/

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February 12, 2020 – Our Lives Magazine: Dear Queer White People
Not Yours to Use – By Nibiiwakamigkwe


I am an Anishinaabe (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, marten clan), Onyota’a:ka (Oneida Nation of New York, bear clan), and Métis (Red River Settlement) Two-Spirit and uninvited guest of 7 years here in Tee Jop, on HoCaak Land.


Article Link: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/not-yours-to-use/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20211028174035/https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/not-yours-to-use/

While claiming to be Cuban…

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May 19, 2020 – Tone Madison
Conduit: Nibiiwakamigkwe on the challenges to Indigenous artists – By Scott Gordon


Nibiiwakamigkwe is a Métis, Onyota’a:ka, Anishinaabe, Cuban and waabishkiiwed Two-Spirit artist working in traditional Indigenous craftwork and contemporary Woodlands style to foster awareness of land protection, Indigenous cultural landscapes, and the complexity of identity.


Direct Link: https://tonemadison.com/articles/conduit-nibiiwakamigkwe-on-the-challenges-to-indigenous-artists/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20200713225201/https://tonemadison.com/articles/conduit-nibiiwakamigkwe-on-the-challenges-to-indigenous-artists/

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July 1, 2020 – Our Lives Magazine: Dear Queer White People
Center the Movement, Not You – By Nibiiwakamigkwe


As a non-Black Native and Latine person, it’s my duty to show up and support Black folks right now. But also, as a non-Black Native and Latine person, I’m seeing plenty of white people acting foolish and centering themselves in attempts to help.

Direct Link: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/center-the-movement-not-you/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20210228090404/https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/center-the-movement-not-you/

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August 4, 2020 - CDMC Conversation Series: nibiiwakamigkwe
Indigenous Arts as Decolonial Action


Transcription starts at 1:00
Dakota Mace: Hello, everyone. My name again is Dakota Mace, I am a Diné artist and photographer, but I have been working at CDMC as a collection photographer. But to jump into introductions, nibiiwakamigkwe is a good friend of mine and I really wanted to not only feature their work, but also have a conversation about their art practices. So, nibiiwakamigkwe is Métis, Oneida, Anishinaabe, Cuban, and waabishkiiwed Two-Spirit artist working in traditional Indigenous craftwork and contemporary Woodland styles. Their work fosters awareness of land protection, Indigenous cultural landscapes, and the complexity of identity. This includes the relatedness of Indigenous art and artists to language preservation, land rights, environmental justice, and the impact of cultural appropriation.

Direct Link: https://cdmc.wisc.edu/event/cdmc-conversation-series-nibiiwakamigkwe/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20220627211525/https://cdmc.wisc.edu/event/cdmc-conversation-series-nibiiwakamigkwe/

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August 31, 2020 – Tone Madison
Willy Street’s giige brings healing tattooing practices to the forefront – By Holly Marley-Henschen


“So much of Indigenous and queer culture is education, and we would like to continue moving in that [direction] where, once people are more informed, that makes a safer and better environment for everyone,” says collective member nibiiwakamigkwe, a Two-Spirit artist whose heritage includes the Bear Clan of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York, Métis, Anishinaabe, and Cuban. nibiiwakamigkwe works in an administrative role with giige.

Direct Link: https://tonemadison.com/articles/willy-streets-giige-brings-healing-tattooing-practices-to-the-forefront/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20201123220609/https://tonemadison.com/articles/willy-streets-giige-brings-healing-tattooing-practices-to-the-forefront/

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September/October 2020* – Our Lives Magazine
The Great Madison LGBTQ+ Artist Survey of 2020


Kay LeClaire/nibiiwakamigkwe | @giige.co | giige.co/gigiigemin | nibiiwakamigkwe is a Métis, Onyota’a:ka, Anishinaabe, Cuban, and waabishkiiwed Two-Spirit artist and organizer working in traditional Indigenous craftwork and contemporary Woodlands style to foster awareness of land protection, Indigenous cultural landscapes, and the complexity of identity. They are committed to the long-term cultural work and community care tactics that transform social systems.

Article Link: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/OL80.pdf


*This publication was the September/October 2020 edition of Our Lives Magazine. It published information that respondents submitted as part of a survey to become part of a LGBTQ+ artist directory. It would have been submitted  by KL prior to September 2020.

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September 3, 2020 – Jessica Krug's False Claims of Black and/or Latina Ancestry Revealed

Direct Link: https://medium.com/@jessakrug/the-truth-and-the-anti-black-violence-of-my-lies-9a9621401f85
Direct Link: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/09/04/prominent-scholar-outs-herself-white-just-she-faced-exposure-claiming-be-black


September 4, 2020 – C.V. Vitolo-Haddad False Claims of Black and/or Latina Ancestry Revealed

Direct Link: https://medium.com/@polite_keppel_dinosaur_57/cv-vitolo-haddad-another-academic-racial-fraud-c5c41fe32110
Direct Link:https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/09/14/more-cv-vitolo-haddad-and-jessica-krug%E2%80%8B

No longer claiming to be Cuban…

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May 11, 2021 – WORT 89.9 FM Madison
Shutting Down Line 5


I’m Marten Clan from the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Ojibwe and I sit in the Bear Clan of the Oneida Indian Nation.

Direct Link: https://soundcloud.com/wort-fm/shutting-down-line-5

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Jun 21, 2021 – The Cap Times
Q&A: nibiiwakamigkwe wants Madison to 're-Indigenize' Pride – By Addison Lathers


nibiiwakamigkwe, 27, a Métis, Onyota'a:ka, Anishinaabe and Two-Spirit person, was born and raised in northern Wisconsin. They moved to Teejop, or Madison, to study botany at the University of Wisconsin, and have stayed in the city ever since.

Direct Link: https://captimes.com/news/local/q-a-nibiiwakamigkwe-wants-madison-to-re-indigenize-pride/article_91cc52d8-1b52-51de-b76e-75bb7780217f.html
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20221112164145/https://captimes.com/news/local/q-a-nibiiwakamigkwe-wants-madison-to-re-indigenize-pride/article_91cc52d8-1b52-51de-b76e-75bb7780217f.html

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July 1, 2021 – Our Lives Magazine
The Artist – By Our Lives Magazine


My name is nibiiwakamigkwe, which translates to watery ground or wet earth femme person. I have two spirits and use they/them pronouns. I’m marten clan from the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Ojibwe, I sit in the bear clan of the Oneida Indian Nation, and am a Métis descendant of the Red River settlement in Manitoba.

Direct Link: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/the-artist/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20210727020429/https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/the-artist/

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November 16, 2021 – Tone Madison
A flag raising spotlights UW-Madison’s dismal record on Native relations – By Nibiiwakamigkwe


nibiiwakamigkwe (they/them/awi, pictured here with illustrator Nipinet, on the left) is an Onyota’a:ka, Anishinaabe, Métis, and waabishkiiwed Two-Spirit artist and organizer working in traditional Indigenous craftwork and contemporary Woodlands style to foster awareness of land protection, Indigenous cultural landscapes, and complexity of identity.

Direct Link: https://tonemadison.com/articles/a-flag-raising-spotlights-uw-madisons-dismal-record-on-native-relations/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20211127002203/https://tonemadison.com/articles/a-flag-raising-spotlights-uw-madisons-dismal-record-on-native-relations/

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December 8, 2021 – Little Book Wisconsin
Artist Profile: nibiiwakamigkwe – By Rachel Werner


nibiiwakamigkwe (they/them/awi) is an Onyota'a:ka, Anishinaabe, Michif, and waabishkiiwed Two-Spirit artist and organizer working in traditional Indigenous craftwork and contemporary Woodlands style to foster awareness of land protection, Indigenous cultural landscapes and complexity of identity.

Direct Link: https://www.littlebookwi.com/blog/artist-profile-nibiiwakamigkwe
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20221112210236/https://www.littlebookwi.com/blog/artist-profile-nibiiwakamigkwe

Possible timeline outlier...
KL is currently the Community Leader in Residence with the Center for Design & Material Culture (CDMC) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The CDMC website includes “Cuban” in KL’s bio. I’ve been trying to identify when KL was hired for the role to confirm the timeline presented above. An article from November 16, 2021 (information above) included a description of how KL is connected to the University of Wisconsin – Madison but did not include this position. However, KL did participate in the CDMC Conversation series on August 4, 2020 (information above). KL was identified as “Cuban” in the materials related to the event and while being introduced. In my opinion, it is most likely that KL’s Community Leader in Residence bio carried over from their previous work with CDMC.

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Unknown Date – University of Wisconsin - Madison
Center for Design & Material Culture, School of Human Ecology


Artist nibiiwakamigkwe has joined the CDMC through a grant from the Equity & Justice Network Community Leader-in-Residence Program to collaborate and think through these questions, with the goal of developing a scalable and adaptable toolkit and curriculum around cultural appropriation.

nibiiwakamigkwe is a Two-Spirit Métis, Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Cuban and waabishkiiwed artist working in traditional Indigenous craftwork and contemporary Woodlands style.


Equity & Justice Initiatives, Community Leader in Residence Program
Direct Link:https://cdmc.wisc.edu/equity-justice-initiatives/

Offline niigankwe

  • Posts: 6
Re: nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire - Madison, Wisconsin
« Reply #33 on: December 27, 2022, 04:00:13 pm »
Is the link certain between Kathryn Le Claire (the person in question) and the parents you have the genealogy for (Carol Ann Johnson and Brian John Le Claire)? Is there a chance that Carol and Brian's child Kathryn Le Claire is someone else with the same name?

I was put in touch with one of the members of the collective of which Kay is part owner, Nipinet, who let me know that they've seen legal documents that her legal name is Kathryn Le Claire and her parents are Carol and Brian. They, too, have screenshots of Kay's appearance changing over time and first hand accounts of tanning and dyeing their hair. I don't know if it helps.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Re: nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Kathryn Le Claire - Madison, Wisconsin
« Reply #34 on: December 27, 2022, 06:07:10 pm »
Is the link certain between Kathryn Le Claire (the person in question) and the parents you have the genealogy for (Carol Ann Johnson and Brian John Le Claire)? Is there a chance that Carol and Brian's child Kathryn Le Claire is someone else with the same name?

I was put in touch with one of the members of the collective of which Kay is part owner, Nipinet, who let me know that they've seen legal documents that her legal name is Kathryn Le Claire and her parents are Carol and Brian. They, too, have screenshots of Kay's appearance changing over time and first hand accounts of tanning and dyeing their hair. I don't know if it helps.

Thank you for confirming my research, shkodenhskwe. In my opinion, this is a really egregious case of red/brown face.

Here's another statement from KL I've recently found:

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Claims to have been "born up at Red Cliff" -

“I’ve got a really long relationship with water… I was born up at Red Cliff … I was there for the first 6 years and Lake Superior is right
there so there’s that really strong healthy respect for bodies of water, and a ton of iron in the water, it was all well water. When we moved to southern Wisconsin I actually developed really severe anemia because my body was so used to having all that water from the well water and the lakes that we were swimming in.” - nibiiwakamigkwe

Direct Link: https://onewatermadison.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/zine-1-pdf-download.pdf
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20221227174303/https://onewatermadison.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/zine-1-pdf-download.pdf

Public records indicate KL's parents lived in Pewaukee and then Sussex since 1984 until after KL was in college. I was unable to find any record that indicated the family had lived "up at Red Cliff."

Offline niigankwe

  • Posts: 6
I was able to grab a screenshot from their FB in 2017 where they admit to being a "white woman." See attachment.

[Just changed title slightly and moved to Frauds. -Al]
« Last Edit: December 28, 2022, 02:23:48 pm by educatedindian »

Offline cellophane

  • Posts: 59
I was put in touch with one of the members of the collective of which Kay is part owner, Nipinet, who let me know that they've seen legal documents that her legal name is Kathryn Le Claire and her parents are Carol and Brian. They, too, have screenshots of Kay's appearance changing over time and first hand accounts of tanning and dyeing their hair. I don't know if it helps.

Did you get the impression then that Nipinet knows that Kay is white? What does Nipinet think about this?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2022, 12:32:32 am by educatedindian »

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
I was contacted through private message by someone that facilitated putting Nipinet into contact with me. After spending a significant amount of time on general research and genealogy for this thread, I had many questions about how “nibiiwakamigkwe” came to exist and whether the people around them had been suspicious - or possibly even complicit. I appreciated the opportunity to ask Nipinet some of those questions.
 
As I expressed earlier in this post, I understand how the actual Native American (NA) individuals around “nibiiwakamigkwe” aka Kay LeClaire aka Kathryn Le Claire (KL) could have found themselves in this situation.

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KL has genuinely Indigenous people around them. Sometimes all it takes is one person to give you legitimacy and others follow...then when the red flags pop up it's hard to question the person. Especially when your work is intertwined with them.

Nipinet told me they met KL in the fall of 2019 through friends that vouched for KL. KL’s faux NA identity would have already been established at that point in time. Nipinet questioned some aspects of KL’s story but attributed the inconsistencies to other factors in KL’s life. I don’t believe Nipinet thought that KL’s entire NA identity was a lie though. As for “What does Nipinet think about this?” I’ve been given permission to say that Nipinet is angry.

I was able to put this thread together as an objective outsider because I only had publicly available information. I hadn’t heard more detailed stories and explanations from KL. We didn't have personal history together as friends or colleagues. I didn’t have feelings, positive or negative, towards KL at the beginning. My only thought initially was that KL’s claims seemed genealogically unlikely, not impossible, but unusual.

Now Nipinet and others with personal knowledge of KL are taking over where I left off. For example, I found information that called into question the provenance of a piece of KL’s art. I didn’t feel comfortable adding it to NAFPS without additional evidence. Others close to the situation have confirmed those suspicions with a great deal of hard work. This runs deep and it’s my belief (and hope) that the details are going to be shared beyond this forum soon.

KL wrote an article about the name of a music venue and restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, previously known as The Winnebago, back in 2020. A quote from that article below highlights the unbelievable hypocrisy of Kay LeClaire aka Kathryn Le Claire.

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"Once again, white folks’ emotions, labor, and intentions carry more weight than ours. This is why allyship and accountability are so important, but holding these prejudices is not something that is easily forgivable of the owners. So I’m glad the name is going, but I’m not happy the institutions that allowed it to be stolen in the first place remain. For over 500 years, Indigenous Peoples have not controlled our narratives and representations. Our exclusion has been built into inclusion for others. The foundation of any equality work cannot be oppression. Let’s do better."

Not Yours to Use (Our Lives - Dear Queer White People), February 12, 2020 - By Nibiiwakamigkwe
Article Link: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/not-yours-to-use/
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20211028174035/https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/not-yours-to-use/

Native Americans (including myself) have already started investing emotion and labor towards fixing the damage left by Kay LeClaire aka Kathryn Le Claire. I wonder if KL will expect more forgiveness than they were willing to give?

I can be reached by email at advancedsmite@protonmail.com with questions about the sources used to compile this thread.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Someone directed my attention to a specific timestamp of a podcast in which KL provides a more detailed description of their alleged ancestry. KL even claims to be an "Austrian Jew" which is bolded and underlined in the transcribed excerpt below.

May 18, 2020 - Tone Madison Podcast "Conduit: Nibiiwakamigkwe on the challenges to Indigenous artists"
Direct Link: https://soundcloud.com/tonemsn/conduit-nibiiwakamigkwe-on-the-challenges-to-indigenous-artists


Transcription begins at 1:07:19.
Quote
Yeah. So, well, also, “Hi!” Fellow Latina person here. My dad is Cuban. <laughter> But my Spanish is terrible, so I apologize. So, for me it’s always kind of acknowledging the breakdown of everything. And I want to acknowledge that I’m still French Canadian, and a little bit of Swedish and a little bit of Austrian are in there. And I think a really good way that I’ve been fighting this is by acknowledging my ancestors a little bit better. When Native children are born, we receive this little - besides our tribal enrollment cards, we receive this nice little piece of paper called a CDIB, Certificate Degree of Indian Blood, which is just as messed up as you think it is – as it sounds. <laughter> And it’s basically saying, “how much Native are you” and so for me, mine says 3/8. And then 1/4 - I’m 1/4 Cuban and then I am 3/8, you know, Europe (folx?). And so, for me I like to acknowledge that by saying well three of my great-grandparents are Native, which is true. And you know two of them are Cuban and 3 of them are European and white. Or specifically, you know, breaking down the different locations that they’re from. So, it's been really good to kind of look at in terms of that way instead of “Oh, I am <trails off>” breaking me down physically into 3/8, 3/8, 1/4. Um, acknowledging grandparents and great-grandparents or possibly, if you have a very very diverse background, great-great-grandparents. <laughter>

Just for better acknowledgement of where you come from - has been really nice for me. And I know that isn’t always available to everyone. For a lot of Native people, it’s very available because, again, they track us like racing greyhounds and it’s weird. <laughter> But, however, you know, I think acknowledging the living people behind who you are has been really good. It’s, you know, it’s a way of preventing yourself from being divided up. You know, I am completely Anishinaabe, I am completely Onyota'a:ka, I am completely Metis, I’m completely Austrian Jew, I’m still completely Swedish, I’m completely French Canadian, and completely Cuban. It’s having that acknowledgement that I can be all of those things, all at once, has been really good.

However, I do acknowledge that I have white passing privilege which means that a lot of artwork I do is collaborative because I think that it’s really good to have – I mean, first of all, I think it’s really good to employ more artists no matter what you do. If you can employ one, maybe you can employ two? So, I prefer to do that whenever I can. And that also allows me to kind of exercise the privilege that I have in the way that I look and the way I present myself and transfer that a little bit for another person. This isn’t really done as a way of charity or something. It’s more of like they can offer a perspective that I can’t, and I would prefer to…<technical issues with audio quality>

However, I’ve gotten a little more assertive when that privilege has been questioned by those that have more white privilege than I do. I think it is kind of problematic when, you know, a Euro-American, a white person, you know someone who really benefits from the colonial state says “Well, how Native are you really?” or “Are you sure you’re Native?” Or something. Well, I’m pretty sure, yeah. <laughter> You know? Usually, my favorite response when someone asks “Well, how Native are you?” is - I’ll just say “Very.” And be done with it. And, you know, so it’s one of those situations where you don’t really owe them an explanation and that is still a form of continued colonial violence. If they are repeatedly trying to question your place in your community, it’s really only your own community’s place to decide whether or not you’re a part of it.

Offline Diana

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Well it looks like Advancesmite has got ol faker Kathryn Leclaire on the run. She has deleted her Facebook page and her Instagram account.  It appears word gets around fast!

https://www.facebook.com/fakeindians?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Thank you, Diana. Diana reviewed KL's maternal and Le Claire family genealogy which was essential to disproving KL's claims.

I've been sent screenshots of Facebook conversations that KL had with two different people. In both conversations, KL claims to have "bleached" her skin. The screenshots are attached and the content is transcribed below.

Quote
Facebook Conversation with Anonymous #1

Important Context - "CV" refers to C.V. Vitolo-Haddad. A date was not included with the screenshot but it would likely be after C.V. Vitolo-Haddad's fraudulent claims were revealed on September 4, 2020.

Kay LeClaire: Tbh, this CV and Sawyer stuff is hitting hard. My mom forced us to bleach our skin. She used Ambi “dark spot corrector.” It was so traumatizing, and when I quit a few years ago, she told me I would get spotted like a cow. There is some permanent damage, especially on my hands and face. For CV to claim that’s what happened is gut-wrenching.

Anonymous #1: Oh shit, I’m sorry. They were so reckless with how they appropriated experiences that weren’t their own. I can’t imagine not understanding how harmful that is, to be able to perpetuate those lies.

Kay LeClaire: Yeah, and like, this invalidates my lived experiences. People around here will associate this part of me with CV’s excuse. Me neither.

Quote
Facebook Conversation with Anonymous #2

Anonymous #2: Hi Kay! I wanted to reach out because I’ve admired a lot how you embrace your native roots. My <removed> had indigenous Latin Americans <removed>. I wonder if you know of any good ways to find out more about these kinds of histories or if there are any good groups in the midwest for conversing more about these histories. I have been <removed> encouraging me to seek out my history to see where these feelings and energies come from. Thanks for reading, I know this is a lot to offer a mere stranger, and I understand if you don’t have the emotional labor to spare. I appreciate your regardless. <heart emoji>

Kay LeClaire: Boozhoo <removed>. Thanks for your message– I’m so happy to connect! I was raised in my culture, then hardcore abandoned it from late high school through college and a bit after (honestly earlier too: I started bleaching my skin and hair when I was 11). I didn’t think I could be a professional person and indigenous, so I sort of gave up. It wasn’t until I started handling my PTSD diagnosis that I realized so much of my strength came from my culture and I was losing so much by acknowledging it. I don’t know much about Central and South American Indigenous peoples, but I consider us all family. <removed> is very into recovering <removed> indigenous Latinx history. I totally recommend going to one of <removed> workshops or reaching out, just be respectful of <removed> mental energy: <removed> but genuinely loves so many people and wants to help. I’m also down for tea if you want to talk reconnection. I’m part Cuban, but don’t claim Taino (because my ancestors probably killed them, not gonna lie), but am still working out what it means to be a settler, Indigenous, and Latinx all at once <heart emoji>

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
Kathryn Le Claire provided a statement to Robert Chappell from Madison365.

January 3, 2023: Madison Indigenous arts leader, activist revealed as white - By Robert Chappell, Madison 365

https://madison365.com/indigenous-arts-leader-activist-revealed-as-white/

Quote
“I am sorry,” they wrote. “A lot of information has come to my attention since late December. I am still processing it all and do not yet know how to respond adequately. What I can do now is offer change. Moving forward, my efforts will be towards reducing harm by following the directions provided by Native community members and community-specified proxies. Currently, this means that I am not using the Ojibwe name given to me and am removing myself from all community spaces, positions, projects, and grants and will not seek new ones. Any culturally related items I hold are being redistributed back in community, either to the original makers and gift-givers when possible or elsewhere as determined by community members. Thank you.”

LeClaire declined to answer follow-up questions, including who gave them their Ojibwe name and what information came to their attention.

I've attached a screenshot from a TikTok that KL made on 2/23/2021. In the comments, KL states "my name was given by an elder near Cass Lake, Minneapolis (sic)."

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 187
I was interviewed for the Madison365 article and would like to clarify the intention behind an included quote about Native American population growth that I'm concerned could be misinterpreted. My personal belief is that the United States Census Bureau needs to ask more specific questions on the census to accurately document Native American population growth. I do believe some of those questions should be "Are you an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe? Which tribe or band?" I believe there should be additional questions and clarifying language about whether you identify as Native American (but are not an enrolled member) that would help pinpoint organic population growth versus erroneous self-identification. I also believe that tribes need to unite on this issue - Native American population data from the 2020 census is a harbinger of significant trouble ahead.

The article "How the Native American population in the US increased 87% says more about whiteness than about demographics" by Circe Sturm does a great job explaining the issue I was referencing in my Madison365 quote:
https://theconversation.com/how-the-native-american-population-in-the-us-increased-87-says-more-about-whiteness-than-about-demographics-170920


I do not believe that tribal enrollment or blood quantum are necessarily capable of indicating who is truly Native American. Personally, I am happy that some bands of the Minnesota Chippewa are reviewing enrollment criteria. My general belief is that if your closest ancestor with a DOCUMENTED connection was born before 1820 (at the latest) that you may need to think about your reasons for wanting to identify as Native American. I have an ancestor that was born in Switzerland in the 1700s and have taken a DNA ancestry test that indicates I'm possibly* 2% Swiss - I'm not going to add "Swiss" to a professional bio or include that information when I fill out the U.S. Census. Also, there is a significant amount of information online that may falsely lead people to believe they have a Native American ancestor and lead to inaccurate self-identification. Google "Chief Moytoy" to better the size of the problem. How many white people may be inaccurately claiming Cherokee ancestry based off false information?

I would like to thank Robert Chappell from Madison365 for telling the story of "nibiiwakamigkwe" aka Kay LeClaire AKA Kathryn Le Claire. Native American identity is a sensitive issue that many journalists would not have even entertained covering - much less covered it in such a well-researched and thorough manner. Initially, I was hesitant to participate beyond confirming the sources of information used in this thread, but felt comfortable the story was in good hands after talking to Robert Chappell. 

To be clear - the quote below was not intended to infer that tribal enrollment is the only important factor in determining who is Native American.


Quote
AdvancedSmite, the New Age Fraud Forum user who uncovered the deception, said the appropriation of Native identity is a larger issue than any one person.

They noted that the self-identified Native American population grew by 85% between the 2010 and 2020 census, from just over five million to well over nine million.

“That’s not population growth,” they said. “It’s a major issue. The government needs to ask if you are an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe.


“You can’t assume … that Kay LeClaire is an isolated incident … the pretendian problem is a long term, strategic issue,” they wrote in a later email to Madison365, adding that people who falsely claim Indigenous heritage are then passing that false claim on to their children, who may unwittingly accept it, perpetuating a falsehood through generations. “It’s a fight for our future and identity.”

*DNA tests (like Ancestry and 23andMe) only provide estimates of ancestry composition. Ancestry estimates are subject to fluctuation when companies update their reference panels. In my opinion, any ancestry estimate below 3% needs to be considered possibly inaccurate without solid genealogical documentation. That documentation should be obtained through solid genealogical research using the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Offline Sparks

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The article "How the Native American population in the US increased 87% says more about whiteness than about demographics" by Circe Sturm does a great job explaining the issue I was referencing in my Madison365 quote:
https://theconversation.com/how-the-native-american-population-in-the-us-increased-87-says-more-about-whiteness-than-about-demographics-170920

There is a thread in here about that article and links to a book by Circe Sturm:

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=5575.0
[How the Native American population in the US increased 87% (in ten years)]

Offline Diana

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Great job Advancesmite 👏. My hat is off to you.