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In upcoming SFU lecture, Dr. Kim TallBear will speak about going beyond diversity and inclusion in the academy

Dr. Kim TallBear
Dr. Kim TallBear is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Society at the University of Alberta. Photo from KimTallBear.com.

A highly regarded Indigenous scholar who’s written on Pretendians and decolonial sexualities will deliver a free lecture at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Dr. Kim TallBear, a professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, will speak at 10 a.m. on January 4.

Her lecture is entitled “Beyond Diversity and Inclusion in the Academy: Restoring Indigenous Land and Life”.

TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Society. She was also one of the expert commentators in an October CBC fifth estate documentary about singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. It conclusively demonstrated that Sainte-Marie was born to Italian-American parents in Massachusetts and was not born to Indigenous parents and adopted, as she had claimed in the past.

In the documentary, TallBear spoke along with Vancouver Métis lawyer Jean Telliet, author of the landmark 20022 Indigenous Identity Fraud report for the University of Saskatchewan.

In her report, Telliet cited TallBear’s work on several occasions, including her chart headlined “Eight Stages of White Settler-Colonial Denial”. The eighth plank is “self-indigenization”.

“TallBear calls these false claims ‘a final act of theft in a long history of multiple layers and strategies of theft’,” Tellier wrote.

In the NDN POV video below, TallBear points out that “Pretendian” is a controversial term.

“Some people have decided that ‘pretend’ is too gentle of a word—that they’re actually doing something a lot more dangerous than just playing pretend,” she says.

In fact, she declares that it’s a way of disowning white privilege.

Watch the NDN POV video on Pretendians.

TallBear links self-indigenization to greed and ambition

TallBear is also a “Roundtabler” on the Media Indigena podcasts.

In a November interview with APTN News, TallBear stated that greed and ambition are often behind Indigenous identity fraud, but they are not the only motivations. More recently in a Linkedin post, she wrote that her usual work week “involves a minimum of 10 hours of work dealing with self-indigenizer fallout”.

She stated in the post that “self-indigenizers set an imposter standard for Indigenous voice, knowledge, and representation, and they frequently rise to the top of their fields”.

“Those in power resonate more with whites playing Indian than with actual Native voices,” TallBear wrote. “To continue holding them up is to support colonial acts of replacement.”

The SFU Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology is presenting Dr. Kim TallBear: Beyond Diversity and Inclusion in the Academy at 10 a.m. on January 4. She will speak in the ICBC Concourse Room at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver). Free tickets are available through Eventbrite.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.