Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:30Z by Steven

Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

University of Manitoba Press
September 2019
296 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-846-7

Darryl Leroux, Associate Professor
Department of Social Justice and Community Studies
Saint Mary’s University, Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the twenty-first century: otherwise white, French descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined “Indigenous” identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an “Indigenous” identity today.

After setting out the most common genealogical practices that facilitate race shifting, Leroux examines two of the most prominent self-identified “Indigenous” organizations currently operating in Quebec. Both organizations have their origins in committed opposition to Indigenous land and territorial negotiations, and both encourage the use of suspect genealogical practices. Distorted Descent brings to light to how these claims to an “Indigenous” identity are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing along the way the shifting politics of whiteness, white settler colonialism, and white supremacy.

For more information on the rise of the so-called ‘Eastern Metis’ in the eastern provinces and in New England, including a storymap, court documents, and research materials, visit the Raceshifting website, created by Unwritten Histories Digital Consulting.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction—Self-Indigenization in the Twenty-First Century
  • Part One: The Mechanics of Descent
    • Chapter One—Lineal Descent and the Political Use of Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Two—Aspirational Descent: Creating Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Three—Lateral Descent: Remaking Family in the Past
  • Part Two: Race Shifting as Anti-Indigenous Politics
    • Chapter Four—After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming “Métis” in Two Regions of Quebec
    • Chapter Five—The Largest Self-Identified “Métis” Organization in Quebec: The Métis Nation Of The Rising Sun
  • Conclusion—White Claims to Indigenous Identity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Those Who Belong: Identity, Family, Blood, and Citizenship among the White Earth Anishinaabeg

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-18 01:46Z by Steven

Those Who Belong: Identity, Family, Blood, and Citizenship among the White Earth Anishinaabeg

University of Manitoba Press
October 2015
214 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-796-5

Jill Doerfler (White Earth Anishinaabe), Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies
University of Minnesota, Duluth

Despite the central role blood quantum played in political formations of American Indian identity in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there are few studies that explore how tribal nations have contended with this transformation of tribal citizenship. “Those Who Belong” explores how White Earth Anishinaabeg understood identity and blood quantum in the early twentieth century it was employed and manipulated by the U.S. government, how it came to be the sole requirement for tribal citizenship in 1961, and how a contemporary effort for constitutional reform sought a return to citizenship criteria rooted in Anishinaabe kinship, replacing the blood quantum criteria with lineal descent.

Those Who Belong illustrates the ways in which Anishinaabeg of White Earth negotiated multifaceted identities, both before and after the introduction of blood quantum as a marker of identity and as the sole requirement for tribal citizenship. Doerfler’s research reveals that Anishinaabe leaders resisted blood quantum as a tribal citizenship requirement for decades before acquiescing to federal pressure. Constitutional reform efforts in the twenty-first century brought new life to this longstanding debate and led to the adoption of a new constitution, that requires lineal descent for citizenship.

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Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2017-05-18 01:27Z by Steven

Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

University of Manitoba Press
April 2017
240 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-774-3

Timothy P. Foran, Curator of British North America
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec

Defining Métis examines categories used in the latter half of the nineteenth century by Catholic missionaries to describe Indigenous people in what is now northwestern Saskatchewan. It argues that the construction and evolution of these categories reflected missionaries’ changing interests and agendas.

Defining Métis sheds light on the earliest phases of Catholic missionary work among Indigenous peoples in western and northern Canada. It examines various interrelated aspects of this work, including the beginnings of residential schooling, transportation and communications, and relations between the Church, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the federal government.

While focusing on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and their central mission at Île-à-la-Crosse, this study illuminates broad processes that informed Catholic missionary perceptions and impelled their evolution over a fifty-three-year period. In particular, this study illuminates processes that shaped Oblate conceptions of sauvage and métis. It does this through a qualitative analysis of documents that were produced within the Oblates’ institutional apparatus—official correspondence, mission journals, registers, and published reports.

Foran challenges the orthodox notion that Oblate commentators simply discovered and described a singular, empirically existing, and readily identifiable Métis population. Rather, he contends that Oblates played an important role in the conceptual production of les métis.

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Louis Riel and the Creation of Modern Canada: Mythic Discourse and the Postcolonial State

Posted in Biography, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2012-01-27 03:02Z by Steven

Louis Riel and the Creation of Modern Canada: Mythic Discourse and the Postcolonial State

University of Manitoba Press
November 2008
314 pages
6 × 9
Paper, ISBN: 978-0-88755-734-7

Jennifer Reid, Professor of Religion
University of Maine, Farmington

Politician, founder of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis, Louis Riel led two resistance movements against the Canadian government: the Red River Uprising of 1869–70, and the North-West Rebellion of 1885, in defense of Métis and other minority rights.

Against the backdrop of these legendary uprisings, Jennifer Reid examines Riel’s religious background, the mythic significance that has consciously been ascribed to him, and how these elements combined to influence Canada’s search for a national identity. Reid’s study provides a framework for rethinking the geopolitical significance of the modern Canadian state, the historic role of Confederation in establishing the country’s collective self-image, and the narrative space through which Riel’s voice speaks to these issues.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1: Setting the Stage: The North-West to 1885
  • Chapter 2: Canadian Myths and Canadian Identity
  • Chapter 3: Nation-states and National Discourses
  • Chapter 4: Violence and State Creation
  • Chapter 5: Revolution, Identity, and Canada
  • Chapter 6: Riel and the Canadian State
  • Chapter 7: Heterogeneity and the Postcolonial State
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
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The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Métis in North America

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Canada, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-01-09 02:49Z by Steven

The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Métis in North America

University of Manitoba Press
October 1985
306 pages
30 b&w illustrations, notes, index
Paper ISBN: 9780887556173

Edited by

Jacqueline Peterson, Professor Emerita of History
Washington State University

Jennifer S. H. Brown, Professor Emerita of History
University of Winnipeg

The New Peoples is the first major work to explore in a North American context the dimensions and meanings of a process fundamental to the European invasion and colonization of the western hemisphere: the intermingling of European and Native American peoples. This book is not about racial mixture, however, but rather about ethnogenesis—about how new peoples, new ethnicities, and new nationalities come into being.

Most of the contributors to this volume were participants at the first international Conference on the Métis in North America, hosted by the Newberry Library in Chicago. The purpose of that conference, and the collection that has grown out of it, has been to examine from a regionally comparative and multi-disciplinary vantage point several questions that lie at the heart of métis studies: What are the origins of the métis people? What economic, political, and/or cultural forces prompted the métis to coalesce as a self-conscious ethnic or national group? Why have some individuals and populations of mixed Indian and white ancestry identified themselves as white or Indian rather than as métis? What are the cultural expressions of métis identity? What does it mean to be métis today?

In the opening section of the book, John Elgin Foster, Olive P. Dickason, and Jacqueline Peterson grapple with the chronologies and locations of the emergent métis peoples in the first centuries after contact. In the second section, essays by John Long on the James Bay “halfbreed,” Trudy Nicks and Kenneth Morgan on an indigenous métis community at Grande Cache, Alberta, Verne Dusenberry on the landless Chippewa of Montana, and Irene Spry on the métis and mixed-bloods of Ruperts Land reveal the difficulties in generalizing about métis groups, some of whom have only recently begun to apply that label to themselves. Sylvia Van Kirk, R. David Edmunds, and Jennifer S. H. Brown explore the other side of métis genesis: the individuals and groups who never coalesced into lasting métis communities. The foreword is by Marcel Giraud and the afterword by Robert K. Thomas. First published in the mid-1980s, The New Peoples is considered a classic in the field of métis studies.

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