Day 6·Satire

Letter to a 'Métis cousin': An Indigenous comedian welcomes Sen. Lynn Beyak to the family

Senator Lynn Beyak's anti-racism training session got off to a rough start when she allegedly claimed she is Métis since her parents had adopted an Indigenous child. Métis comedian and actor Sheldon Elter decided to pen her a welcome letter.

'Dear Senator Lynn Stumbling Coyote Beyak,' writes Sheldon Elter

Sen. Lynn Beyak, in a still image from a video on March 27, 2017. Beyak has claimed to be Métis during mandatory anti-racism training. (CBC)

Métis comedian Sheldon Elter understands just how tricky it might be for Sen. Lynn Beyak to confirm her Métis ancestry.

"People don't understand that we had to go through a genealogy process to prove our ancestry was linked to the Red River Colony, along with a birth certificate and a family tree at least dating as far back as 1850," he said.

That's why he wrote a letter to the embattled senator, who he calls his "Métis cousin," welcoming her to his family.

According to a CBC report, Beyak claimed to be Métis during mandatory anti-racism training. She said that since her parents adopted an Indigenous child during her youth, she identifies as a Métis person. 

The training was a requirement of her suspension from the Senate after she came under fire for posting emails defending residential schools described as racist on her website.

She has since denied claiming that she is Métis.

Elter is a performer known for his one-man play Métis Mut and a member of the Métis community in Edmonton.

In his letter, he outlines experiences that he and Beyak might share, such as the rigorous process of applying for Métis status and getting tired of the question, "How Native are you?"

Click 'Listen' near the top of this page to hear the rest of Sheldon Elter's letter to Sen. Lynn Beyak or to download our podcast.