Author Topic: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: "Disputed History"  (Read 6855 times)

Offline ska

  • Posts: 162
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: "Disputed History"
« on: October 21, 2022, 09:22:05 pm »
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:

Offline ska

  • Posts: 162
Re: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: "Disputed History"
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2022, 11:55:09 pm »
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.

Offline educatedindian

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4743
Re: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: "Disputed History"
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2022, 05:01:13 pm »
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?

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1413
Re: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: "Disputed History"
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2023, 03:44:18 am »

This article was published a week ago. It's much about Turpel-Lafond; many other names are mentioned.

Time to revoke: When honorary degrees bring dishonour
Nathan M Greenfield  11 March 2023

On 24 February, both McGill University in Montreal and Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, rescinded honorary doctorates that had been granted to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

A lawyer and former law professor, Turpel-Lafond was thought to be the first ‘Treaty Indian’ to be appointed a judge in Saskatchewan when she was appointed as an administrative judge in 1998. She served as British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth from 2006 to 2015. Additionally, Turpel-Lafond has worked on land claims in both the United States and Canada.

Last October, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that its genealogical investigation into Turpel-Lafond’s ancestry, which had been questioned by some in the Indigenous community for decades, revealed that far from being a ‘Treaty Indian’, the term that denotes being a member of a First Nation recognised by the Canadian government, Turpel-Lafond’s ancestors were of European descent.

Since it came to light that Turpel-Lafond fabricated her Indigenous background and further investigations revealed she had made up part of her publishing record and some of her academic activities, she has joined a long list of luminaries in North America who have seen their honorary degrees revoked. They include Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Rudi Giuliani, former US president Donald J Trump and Ye, the American rapper formerly known as Kanye West.

For the many in Canada and especially for the Indigenous community, Turpel-Lafond did more than simply pad her résumé.

“I was angry, furious,” Michelle Good, a citizen of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and a lawyer, told University World News when asked about her reaction to Turpel-Lafond having faked her Indigeneity.

“This is so representative of colonial violence,” said Good, author of Five Little Indians (2020), which tells the story of survivors of Canada’s infamous residential school system, which for more than a century took Indigenous children away from their parents and raised them according to the precepts of the Catholic, Anglican and other Christian faiths. The conditions in many of these residential schools and treatment of the Indigenous children were so deplorable that thousands died while under government-sponsored care.

“Aside from assuming the identity, she [Turpel-Lafond] made claims about experiencing some of the horrendous social violence that Indigenous people have suffered, which she did not. She did not, but that is why she was held in such high esteem: the claims to have come from this hardscrabble life, [to have] suffered abuses, experienced addiction issues and abuses in her family, and nonetheless was able to graduate law school at an incredibly young age and go on to this sterling career.

“The harm she’s done far outweighs the work she’s done,” said Good, who herself is a survivor of the ‘Sixties Scoop’, a government programme that between 1961 and the early 1980s removed 20,000 Indigenous children from their homes, in most cases without the consent of either their families or their communities, to be raised by white families.

The problem of ‘ethnicity shopping’  [Not quoted; about other pretenders.]

Curious claims
In the months since the revelation of Turpel-Lafond’s masquerade, she has returned honorary degrees bestowed on her by Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo, British Columbia) and Royal Roads University (Vancouver Island).

In mid-February, the University of Regina (Saskatchewan) revoked the honorary degree it had granted her in 2009. The university announced the revocation with a statement that acknowledged Turpel-Lafond’s years as a child advocate and her work for Indigenous rights, but said, “her accomplishments are outweighed by the harm inflicted upon Indigenous academics, peoples and communities when non-Indigenous people misrepresent their Indigenous ancestry”.

Statements by both McGill University and Carleton University had similar themes, with the former noting that the ad hoc committee formed to consider the issue “found evidence calling into question the validity of information about academic credentials and accomplishments appearing on Ms Turpel-Lafond’s curriculum vitae. It also recognised that her claims about being a Treaty Indian were the subject of important questions”.

The questions concerning the “validity of information about [her] academic credentials and accomplishments” refer to Turpel-Lafond’s claim to having earned an MA in international law from the University of Cambridge when, in fact, she had earned a diploma; and having earned her PhD from Harvard in juridical science in 1990 when she did not earn the degree until 1997. Further, she claimed to have written a book about customs surrounding Indigenous adoption; no such book exists.

CBC reported that on her 2018 CV posted online, Turpel-Lafond claimed to have supervised Carol Aylward’s LLM in 1993 when Aylward was a graduate student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The now retired Aylward, who had directed the university’s Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq Initiative, told CBC, “I don’t know why she would put that claim [on her CV]. It makes no sense.”

Perhaps the most curious fabrication on Turpel-Lafond’s CV was her claim that she had been granted an honorary degree by First Nations University of Canada (Regina, Saskatchewan), as many in the Indigenous community would know that this university does not grant honorary degrees.

Celebrities who fell from grace.  [Not quoted; about other pretenders.]
Previous revocations in Canada  [Not quoted; about other pretenders.]
A chequered history  [Not quoted; about honorary degrees.][/b]
Vetting the candidates  [Not quoted,][/b]
Honorary degrees come with a responsibility  [Not quoted,][/b]