CAP statement on Dr. Carrie Bourassa

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) added its voice in support of of the peaceful demonstration held at the University of Saskatchewan in early November calling for improved processes regarding Indigenous colleagues.

“CAP is pleased to see the demonstration and that the University of Saskatchewan finally did the right thing by placing Dr. Carrie Bourassa on leave, following her false claims of Indigenous heritage. For years, she claimed to be an Indigenous person, receiving education grants, career advancements, and was the scientific director of the Indigenous health arm of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—all while lying about her true ancestry,” said CAP National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin.

According to a Nov. 8 press release, this is not the first time non-Indigenous individuals have claimed to be from a minority community, and used that claim to their advantage, which is wrong.

“We call on the University of Saskatchewan to immediately introduce more rigorous and thorough vetting processes, so that imposters cannot take leadership roles and other positions that would impact Indigenous Peoples,” said National Chief Elmer St. Pierre. “We also call on all other private and public institutions of higher learning, government, and other workplaces to take a hard look at their own vetting processes, so that Indigenous peoples are not passed up for positions that are being taken by those who make false claims about their heritage.”

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve. Today, over 70 per cent of Indigenous people live off-reserve.

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