Darryl Leroux at UOttawa

Monday, September 23rd 2019

Join Darryl Leroux as he discusses the major findings from his book Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity.

Dr. Veldon Coburn (Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation) and Claudette Commanda (Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg) will speak about the impacts of the so-called “Eastern métis/Québec métis” movement in Algonquin territory.

Date: Monday, September 23, 6:30 pm
Location: Room 4007, Social Sciences Building, University of Ottawa, Ottawa.
Cost: FREE

Books will be available for purchase at the event ($25) in cash.

You can visit for example of some of the data from the book.

About the Book
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.

About the Presenters

Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation located in the province of Quebec. She has dedicated the last 30 years promoting First Nations people, history, culture, language, traditional knowledge and rights in various capacities: University of Ottawa student, professor, member and chair of the aboriginal education council; and in the public forum via speaking engagements. Most recently appointed as the first ‘Elder in Residence’ for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and to the University of Ottawa Board of Governors. She is the mother of four children and grandmother of ten grandchildren.

Veldon Coburn is Anishinaabe, an Algonquin from Pikwàkanagàn. Born and raised on his unceded Indigenous territory, Veldon returns to his ancestral territory to teach Indigenous Studies. Veldon arrived at Carleton after teaching at McGill University, graduate studies in political science at Queen’s and Regina, and undergraduate degrees in both economics and political science at Lakehead. In addition to his academic pursuits, Veldon has over a decade of professional experience in program and strategic Indigenous policy with the Government of Canada.

Darryl Leroux is associate professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at Saint Mary’s University in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). He has been working on the dynamics of racism and colonialism among fellow French descendants for nearly two decades.

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