USask shares report addressing broader issue of Indigenous identity fraud in academia

A new report commissioned and released by the University of Saskatchewan addresses the broader problem of Indigenous identity fraud in academia. Report author and Métis lawyer Jean Teillet discussed how universities have taken positive action by creating positions for Indigenous individuals, but issues arose when they relied on self-identification to fill these positions and underestimated how this would be exploited. “It’s poison,” said Teillet. “It seeps out everywhere and then everybody is tainted by it and everybody’s damaged.” Teillet explained that universities tend to be ignorant of the complexities of Indigenous identity, resulting in inadequate checks and balances for detecting fraud. In the case of USask, Teillet encouraged the institution to take actions such as employing clear standards and warnings when handling false claims at the institution, creating a dedicated complaints process for false claims, and taking steps to evaluate how the university’s culture may undermine its Indigenization Strategy and Indigenous members. P.S. USask has now implemented its Indigenous membership/citizenship verification policy and launched the deybwewin | taapwaywin | tapwewin: Indigenous Truth policy website to share information about it.

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