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Carrie Bourassa and false claims of Indigeneity

A CBC News investigation into a prominent University of Saskatchewan professor found no evidence to support her claims to Indigeneity. Reporter Geoff Leo breaks down the story, and the University of Ottawa's Veldon Coburn tells us how to address the issue.
In this 2019 TEDx talk in Saskatoon, Bourassa claimed publicly that she is Métis and Anishnaabe and has suffered the effects of racism. (YouTube.com)

The fallout from CBC's investigation into the ancestry claims of Carrie Bourassa — one of Canada's most prominent researchers on Indigenous health — has been swift. After the investigation found genealogical evidence that contradicts public statements Bourassa made about her family's Indigenous ancestry, she's been suspended from her roles at the University of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She's also facing public anger from those who say she unfairly took jobs and funding meant for Indigenous people. 

In a statement, Bourassa has disputed CBC's reporting, and said that she has been working with a genealogist to investigate her ancestry.

But this issue is much bigger than one person. Today, CBC senior investigative reporter Geoff Leo tells us about his investigation into Bourassa's claims. Then, we speak to University of Ottawa professor of Indigenous Studies, Veldon Coburn, about why these stories keep happening — and what to do about it.

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