Race-shifting to Indigeneity is so prevalent in Canada, that to say it’s rampant wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration. The big question is, who’s going to be responsible for halting these destructive behaviors? The Canadian Government; the Indian Act department, CIRNA; every Indigenous nation encroached upon? Where do employers, educators and media fit in?
Over the last few years, I’ve learned “pretendians” vary in reason for their desire to be Indigenous and that they cut a wide swath in professions, learning institutes, and even within Indigenous communities.
When we point out an uncovered discovery publicly, this is about far more than ‘shaming’. This is more than ‘gate-keeping’. This is protection and an effort to stanch the continuing effort to dilute, diminish and degrade the teachings & traditions and resources of entire cultures.
The sheer numbers today make the fight against race-shifting feel futile at times because Indigenous peoples are striving to re-educate an entire country that has decades of deliberate mis-education and obfuscation about them. While they pursue that, they also have to put out as many of these current fires as possible; it’s a constant, agonizing game of whack-a-mole.
How do the Indigenous fight the enormous numbers of non-Indigenous who have chosen to speak over them and for them because of reasons like this:
- They want part of the mythical ‘free money’ they were told repeatedly by Canada that the Indigenous receive.
- They want the hard-won restoration of harvesting rights of the Indigenous.
- They want the hard-won land titles, such as they are.
- They want to act on behalf of Canada as “consent givers” for resources extraction.
- They want to make claims on those big money resources.
- They want to receive the jobs, grants, scholarships, and awards set up to lend a helping hand to the marginalized.
- They want the acclaim of being an ‘Indigenous success’.
- They want to write governance policy for the Indigenous.
- They want to continue to re-write history to wash over the truths.
- They heard they had an Indigenous ancestor somewhere in their background and now they are suddenly fulfilled as a whole being and must dance to the drums of ‘their ancestors’.
- They are bereft of culture and need to be fulfilled emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
These people aren’t readily identifiable as terrible trespassers. They are neighbors, co-workers, friends and sometimes, family. Many are exceptionally friendly, articulate and some are very charismatic, which makes for frustrating, vigorous protection by those around them when questioned.
Some of the roles where we’ve found these people are:
- Senatorial assistants & policy writers
- Facebook “Educator” pages, some with several thousand followers
- Radio show hosts
- Students in all levels of education
- Prison and medically centred “Indigenous Elders”
- Ceremonial Elders / Spiritual guides
- Other social media accounts for various “Indigenous products”
The list continues to grow.
What we often hear, when this is brought to the attention of an employer or a position of authority is, “what are we to do about it”? The efforts of the 2015 “Truth and Reconciliation Report” with its 94 calls to action have yet to be realized in a substantial way by the Canadian Government and its citizens.
This isn’t to step over those who are making an effort to follow-through, but how can that follow-through be meaningful and effective if the very people they’re turning to for direction and education are not Indigenous; are not involved in any community in a genuine way; and certainly have no idea of the issues and needs of the many and various Indigenous communities?
How is this not a national concern by this time? How is Indigenous identity still managed by the Canadian Government and its ‘self-identifying’ citizens, those who believe any claim of blood quantum is their entitlement?
Residential schools all finally shut down in 1996, but their teachings are still being readily applied. The point of those schools, to Canada’s great shame, was only about re-imagining and shifting who the Indigenous are. They wanted the Indigenous to be demeaned enough to be easily cleansed away. Canadians do not like the term genocide applied to their country, but hiding it isn’t making any of it go away. It only changes its shape until it’s palatable enough to ignore.
Now there are thousands of Canadians who’ve shifted their identities, insidiously continuing the legacy of removing Indigenous voices for gain. They are indeed very welcomed as a seemingly more palatable “Indians”.
2020 has been a year for critically exposing our societal failings and as a catalyst for revolution and evolution. What a revelation it would be, if we all started to seriously assess and question why it’s normal to assume the Indian Act system, with its +4,500 employees is still a reasonable normal in the 21st century? Surely at a minimum, we could ask why the Indigenous aren’t overseeing Indigenous identity and citizenship themselves on a national level?
Addendum: For a fuller picture of the race-shifting phenomenon, I recommend the book, “Distorted Descent”, by Dr. Darryl Leroux, along with the works of Chris Anderson, “Métis” Race, Recognition, and the Struggle for Indigenous Peoplehood; and “The Northwest Is Our Mother”, by Jean Teillet.
Also published at Medium.com https://medium.com/p/22fe175f4d60