Posted on November 4, 2021

‘Indigenous’ Academic Ousted From Government Gig Over Race Faking Claim

Brooke Leigh Howard, Daily Beast, November 2, 2021

A Canadian professor has resigned from a prominent role in the Canadian government’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health after being exposed for allegedly faking her identity. Carrie Bourassa has claimed that she has Indigenous Canadian ancestry, but a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation alleges it’s all an act.

Bourassa has said she’s of Métis and Anishinaabe heritage and a descendant of the Tlingit from the Yukon and British Columbia. She’s one of the “most prominent and respected voices on Indigenous health in the country,” who also runs an Indigenous community-based health research lab at the University of Saskatchewan, according to the CBC. But the news outlet found no evidence of Bourassa having Indigenous ancestry. In fact, after reviewing Bourassa’s genealogy, the CBC said all her roots seem to have originated in Europe.

In a statement to the CBC, Bourassa said she was “shocked” and “dismayed” by the allegations. Despite writing in a 2017 book that her grandfather was Métis, she was more vague to the CBC, saying she was adopted into the Métis community after her grandfather passed away when she was in her 20s.

“Our community knows who I am and embraces me,” she wrote. “In our Métis ways, in the event of a loss, community members would adopt the individual who had no family and they would then automatically be seen as family. We see this as custom adoption. Those adoptions were more meaningful and have stronger bonds than colonial adoptions. …In turn, I serve the Métis community to the best of my ability.”

Still, that didn’t explain why Bourassa claimed to have been born into an Indigenous family. She said that she was adopted into five other communities as well.

“It is apparent,” she continued, “that I must adhere to Western ideologies, such as blood quantum, to prove something that the communities I serve, the Elders who support me, and myself already know. Blood quantums are not our way, but I have been working with a Métis genealogist to investigate my lineage. The preliminary findings have identified inaccuracies in the published and circulated lineage… provided to CBC.”

After being called out, Bourassa agreed to step down from her position at the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health. Just last week, the institute congratulated her for being named one of Canada’s most powerful women. {snip}


Bourassa has also been placed on leave from the University of Saskatchewan as the school conducts an investigation.