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Academia, Twitter wars, and suffocating social justice in Canada: the case of unrecognised Indigenous peoples


The “woke movement” is now under fire globally. Seeking to right social injustice and battle racism, the woke movement has laudable intentions, but its implementation can exacerbate social inequalities. In the case of Canada, a social movement seeks to ferret out “Pretendians” or those White individuals deemed to be falsely assuming, and thus appropriating, Indigenous identity. Though this movement may seem righteous, the problem arises that individuals targeted are those who are Non-Status Indians and have yet to be recognised by the state, as well as Métis (or mixed-heritage people) whose historical communities have yet to be sanctioned by governments or courts, and who are also portrayed as being “Fétis” or fake Métis. Our challenge as researchers is to do the deep ethnographic, historical, and legal research to provide a nuanced understanding of indigeneity that does not constrain it solely to colonial models as the case studies provided will demonstrate.

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  1. “Other Métis” is a designation found in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples report, volume 4. It includes all Canadian Métis peoples who are not members of the neo-nationalist Métis National Council which represents the interest of only the Western-based Metis of Canada, Red River, in particular (Canada 1997, pp. 193–196).

  2. Leroux, an independent scholar, has positioned himself at the forefront of those seeking to call out the Métis that he considers as race-shifters. In addition to being very active on Twitter, he has set up a website——that expressly defines Métis based on a very narrow spectrum “actual Métis are a western-based Indigenous people whose culture grew out of kinship relations with the Plains Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine, and Dene” that conforms to the Métis National Council’s narrative.

  3. Malette and Pulla (2022) report on collective research on the ethnohistory of the larger Maniwaki Region, including the Baskatong community. The historical evidence gathered shows a significant Métis presence before the area was flooded by construction of a dam.

  4. Coburn had misread Bain’s (2020) Flare magazine article, misleadingly titled “My Story”, which quotes Latimer relating Arnaquq-Baril’s story describing her grandparents as residential school survivors.

  5. The AAFN is not affiliated with the Algonquins of Ontario (AoO) with which the Province of Ontario is negotiating a land claims agreement on behalf of ten Algonquin communites. Only one Algonquin nation, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, has legal status under the federal Indian Act.


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Correspondence to Michel Bouchard.

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Bouchard, M., Malette, S. & Lawless, JA.M. Academia, Twitter wars, and suffocating social justice in Canada: the case of unrecognised Indigenous peoples. Dialect Anthropol 47, 97–107 (2023).

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  • Indigeneity
  • Academic mobbing
  • Social media
  • Identity
  • Neo-colonialism