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Indigenous Identity Fraud Summit opens with denunciations, statements of solidarity

First Nations, Inuit and Red River Métis leadership united Tuesday morning in Winnipeg to cement their alliance against what they call Indigenous identity fraud, which they say threatens their very existence as distinct peoples.

The two-day summit co-hosted by Chiefs of Ontario (COO) and Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) opened with denunciations and solidarity at the Fort Garry Hotel in Manitoba's capital.

David Chartrand, president of MMF, said in an opening statement on Tuesday, «We will stand with you, we will fight with you, and we'll defend with you your home — as we hope you defend ours.»

The summit is part of a push to call out the alleged collective misappropriation of their identities. The meeting is expected to yield at least one resolution concerning the phenomenon, sometimes also called ethnic fraud or race shifting.

Delegates described themselves as inhabiting a new era where their Indigenous identities are no longer persecuted and ridiculed, but celebrated and aggressively pursued by settlers who stand to gain.

«It was not that long ago that Canada told us that being a First Nations person is a bad thing,» said Glen Hare, Ontario regional chief elected by COO, which advocates for 133 First Nations in Ontario.

«Now that the tables have turned, this identity theft is becoming more and more common. We are seeing politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, academics, artists and many others suddenly identifying as Indigenous, Algonquin, Métis and Inuit — all to advance their careers and gain access to opportunities meant for Indigenous peoples.»

The event sparked disappointment from groups either excluded from the meeting or on the receiving end of the criticism.

Identity fraud a serious issue: Métis Nation of Ontario

The Métis

Read more on cbc.ca