The impact of sexism and the Indian act on the addressal of false claims of indigeneity: Opinion


An editorial from Dalhousie University Assistant Professor and Mi’kmaq woman Cheryl Simon highlights the way that sexism, as built into the Indian act, has disenfranchised Indigenous women and worsened issues of false claims of Indigeneity. “In response to the CBC report that cast doubt on [Mary Ellen] Turpel-Lafond’s claims, male-dominated organizations … came out in support of Turpel-Lafond,” writes Simon. “However, the response from Indigenous women has been vastly different.” Simon highlights comments from Cindy Blackstock, Vice-Chief Aly Bear, and Dr Kim Tallbear as well as the Indigenous Women’s Collective’s call for Turpel-Lafond’s honorary degree to be revoked. To explain these differences, Simon discusses the history of the Indian act and the British doctrine of coverture, which led to discrimination and disadvantage for many Indigenous women. To address the issue of fraudulent claims of Indigenous identity, she calls for the complete involvement of Indigenous women. “In academia, those making the false claims tend to be female,” Simon concludes, “and it is Indigenous women who they are displacing.” The Conversation Note: Archived stories may contain dead links or be missing source links.

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