Credit: Micheal Mayzel
An academic controversy:
The Eastern Métis and the “Negationism” of Professor Leroux: “Aiabitawisidjik wi mikakik”
Before entering the debates on Métis identity, we thus suggest that those who intend to do so should take some precautions, including taking stock of the vast diversity and complexity of the Métis cultures. Working on this subject requires time and patience. It requires sensibility coupled with serious research, supported by documentation and rigorous sourcing, as well as a researcher experienced in the intricacies of Métis politics and theories of ethnogenesis, which could be limiting for a culture which is so uniquely rhizomatic. Researchers must also take into account the vulnerability of an Indigenous population that has been subjected to many attempts at erasure. We must finally be cautious as we analyze the discourses of contemporary Métis, who can be read as symptomatic of these objectifying pressures of the legal and sociological type, which, especially in matters of Indigeneity, tend to obsessively ask us for our identity papers according to this “civil status morality”.
Criticizing research on the subject of Eastern Métis, Professor Darryl Leroux (St-Mary University) has been denying the authenticity/indigeneity of Eastern Métis (Acadian Métis in particular). Professor Leroux has formulated criticisms of “race-shifting,” leading to accusations of self-indigenization and cultural appropriation toward the Eastern Métis.
Professor Leroux’s methodology consists (mainly) in contemporary discourse analysis, selectively choosing narratives of Métis individuals who may express problematic views toward First Nations individuals (or other subjects, such as Islamophobia), to then conclude the falsity of the group’s entire ethnicity as not being “real” Métis (i.e. Appeal to motive).
Professor Leroux, moreover, accuses the Eastern Métis of evil intentions toward the First Nations peoples, in wanting to steal their rights or privileges away (i.e. Cui bono). Professor Leroux is active on Twitter or other social media, where he attempts to rally First Nations and Western Métis activists to support his views that Eastern Métis would in fact be working against other Indigenous peoples (including the case of Maxim Cormier).
In the following paper (21 pages), we explain why the accusations of Professor Leroux toward the Eastern Métis are based on abusive generalizations and the use of psychologism. We argue that Leroux also uses blood quantum logic and ancestors-that-would-be-too-far-away to ridicule the indigenous heritage of the Eastern Métis, while reducing their identity to a biological factor alone (Genetic Fallacy).
We make the argument that such denigration is misinformed from a historical and ethnological standpoint. We underscore that Professor Leroux does not engage with ethnological evidence which illustrates the presence of documented stigma linked with their Metis-ness, contributing to the creation of the distinctive identity of the Acadian Métis (click on the picture to access the full text in English):
Our paper can be found in French here, in Trahir (click on the picture to access the full text):