University of Regina Statement on Indigenous Identity

News Release Release Date: November 5, 2021 1:30 p.m.

The University of Regina continues to monitor the growing concerns regarding claims to Indigenous identity by individuals who are unable to verify Indigenous ancestry, citizenship, or nationhood, and the widespread concern that such claims are “for the sake of personal, professional, positional, and financial gain.”1 We recognize that Indigenous people see Indigenous identity fraud in the academy as misappropriation of identity and culture, and as a form of ongoing colonialism.2  

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues’ states that the test of Indigenous identity exceeds self-identification as Indigenous peoples at the individual level and acceptance by the community as their member; Indigeneity requires historical continuity that is pre-colonial and pre-settlement.3 This is confirmed in the words of former Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair, the Honourable Murray Sinclair, who stated “self-identification is not sufficient for claiming Indigenous identity and citizenship”. His words serve as a call for Universities and Colleges to adopt policies and protocols to ensure that Indigenous people’s existing citizenship/membership policies and frameworks are respected and implemented in the academy and other institutions.

The University of Regina commits to establishing an Indigenous advisory body to work with our leadership to create a respectful, transparent, and professional system of reviewing Indigenous employment credentials that honor Indigenous identity, experiences, and kinship. Without compromising legislative requirements, we will develop policies and processes for vetting claims to Indigeneity in our recruitment and hiring practices for investigating allegations of Indigenous identity fraud.

The University of Regina’s policy development and review processes will be in accordance with the criteria outlined by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, in accordance with the principles of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as outlined in Canada’s Tri-Agency Dimensions Charter (2019), in accordance with the Principles of Reconciliation outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and in accordance with the principles of academic integrity and ethical conduct contained within our own institutional policies.

We look forward to discussions with Indigenous leaders and scholars who are currently developing policies and processes regarding Indigenous identity, and to working with the national university collective as we all seek to understand and respond to this issue going forward.

 

1 https://yellowheadinstitute.org/2019/08/20/research-ethnic-fraud-and-the-academy-a-protocol-for-working-with-indigenous-communities-and-peoples/

2 North American Indigenous Studies) Council (2015) statement on Indigenous Identity Fraud.
    https://naisa.org/about/documents-archive/previous-council-statements/#identityfraud

3 https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/5session_factsheet1.pdf

 

 

 

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