Mistaken Identity

It’s a pandemic of poseur, Pocahontas Pretendians.  America has had a recent deluge of government functionaries at all levels, falsely claiming to have Native Heritage.  It happened again!  Two more Canadian female Federal politicians, one of them the Assistant Minister of Indigenous Affairs, have been found to be pretending to have Native blood.

This goes back as far as around 1900, when an English writer came to Canada, became a trapper, called himself Grey Owl, and lived with two different Indian women to get experience and information to write a book about ‘Being An Indian.’

In the 1970s, an Italian-American styled himself as an Indian named Iron-Eyes Cody.  The government even paid him to be in an ecological TV advertisement about keeping the highways clean by not throwing trash out of cars.

While there was money to be made, these two were unusual.  Until about fifty years ago, it was considered quite déclassé for a white person to be deemed even partly indigenous, any more than being thought to be even partly Negro.

Slowly that changed.  Twenty years ago, Eileen Edwards, a white chick from Windsor, called herself Shania Twain, in celebration of her non-existent Native Heritage.  Ten years ago, Justin Bieber claimed that he was enough Indian to get free gasoline, when even full-blooded natives had to pay.

It’s become a cottage industry.  Scarcely a week goes by without another claimant being exposed.  It’s hardly an official diagnosis, but I have been told that it is a form of Indigenous Munchausen’s.  People who are nothing and nobody as a white person, claim Native background and receive sympathy as a member of an oppressed minority.  They get undeserved respect, more than their fifteen minutes of fame, and often, impressive and well-paying positions.

It’s often unclear whether these people are intentionally lying, or whether they actually believe their delusions.  A little from Column A (Or here in Canada, Column Eh.), a little from Column B.