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Darryl Leroux -- Book Launch

Wednesday Nov 13 2019 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium

Winnipeg launch of Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity (University of Manitoba Press) with special guest Chantal Fiola.

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.

Darryl Leroux is associate professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at Saint Mary’s University in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

Chantal Fiola is Michif (Red River Métis) with family from St. Laurent and Ste. Geneviève, MB. She is the author of Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Métis Ancestry and Anishinaabe Spirituality, which won her the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award. Dr. Fiola is an Assistant Professor in the Urban and Inner-City Studies Department at the University of Winnipeg. She is undertaking a SSHRC-funded research study exploring Métis relationships with ceremony in Manitoba Métis communities, and developing a Métis-specific research design and methodology. Chantal is Two-Spirit, Midewiwin, and a Sundancer.

See:

Distorted Descent

- by Darryl Leroux

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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.