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Distorted Descent

White Claims to Indigenous Identity

Darryl Leroux (author)

ISBN: 9780887558979

Publication Date: Sep 2019

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

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 brings to light to how these claims are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing the shifting politics of whiteness.
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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.
Pages 296
Dimensions 229 x 152 x 21
Date Published 30 Sep 2019
Publisher University of Manitoba Press
Subject/s Regional & national history   History of the Americas   Indigenous peoples   Social discrimination  
  • Introduction: Self-Indiginization in the Twenty-First Century
  • Chapter 1 Lineal Descent in an Age of Reconciliation
  • Chapter 2 Aspirational Descent: Creating an Indigenous Woman Ancestor
  • Chapter 3 Lateral Descent: Reconstructing Indigeneity in the Past
  • Chapter 4 After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming Métis in Two Regions of Quebec
  • Chapter 5 The Largest Self-Identified "Métis" Organization in Canada: The Métis Nation of the Rising Sun
  • Conclusion
Darryl Leroux is associate professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at Saint Mary's University in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). He has been working on the dynamics of racism and colonialism among fellow French descendants for nearly two decades.

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