Quebec far-right leader claims he's aboriginal
A leader from Quebec's far-right La Meute group has claimed he is "aboriginal" despite having no indigenous ancestry. In a Facebook post, Sylvain Maikan said yesterday that "second-generation Quebecers" are aboriginal "in the literal sense of the word".
Many people from Quebec's 11 distinct indigenous nations are deeply offended by Maikan's statement. Indigenous communites like the Mohawk, Cree, Inuit, Innu and Anishinaabeg have lived in and around the land that is now Quebec for thousands of years.
Joseph Norton, the Grand Chief of Kahnawà:ke, told CJAD 800 News that any claims of an "aboriginal" identity by non-indigenous members of white-nationalist organizations like La Meute are illegitimate. "In reality, can they say they're Mik'maq, can they say they're Mohawk, Anishinaabeg, Innu?" he asked. "And the answer is no."
He said that members of the organization, which he dubbed "false", were merely seeking to "gain whatever benefits they can out of the system."
This is not the first time that white-nationalists in Quebec have attempted to appropriate indigenous identity as their own. Last year a member from the far-right group raised a Kanien'kehá:ka battle flag at a rally. Robert Proulx, the member who raised the flag, has since apologized.
Norton said he wishes the provincial and federal governments would intervene to "clarify the situation and the circumstance" around claims by far-right organizations to an "aboriginal" identity.
"Silence [from the Quebec and Canadian governments] is almost like saying, 'you know what, go ahead, do whatever you want,'" he added.