Professor’s claims to Indigenous ancestry questioned, UBC, Indigenous groups stand by professor

In an article for CBC, senior investigative journalist Geoff Leo has raised questions about University of British Columbia professor Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s claims to Indigenous ancestry. Some Indigenous scholars have additionally called on Turpel-Lafond to present proof of her ancestry since she has publicly said she is of Cree descent. UBC’s director of university affairs Matthew Ramsey said that “Indigenous identity was not a criterion” for positions held by Turpel-Lafond at UBC, and that her “identity is her own and the university is not going to comment on it.” Some Indigenous organizations in Saskatchewan and BC have expressed support for Turpel-Lafond, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) issued a statement saying that “[w]e understand that Chief Kelly Wolfe of Muskeg Lake First Nation, and her kinship family, all confirm that Dr Turpel-Lafond is part of their community under their Indigenous laws.” CBC reports that Turpel-Lafond has said she will not share private records, but that she has said her father was adopted from a Cree family.

CBC (1) | Globe and Mail (Acct. Req.) | Vancouver Sun | CBC (2) | CBC (3)