It never fails.
Leftist radicals love to appropriate minority identities. They’re all about helping minorities as long as it means helping themselves.
Meet Carrie Bourassa who loves shouting about “systemic racism”.
Canada’s history of colonization has laid the foundation for the implementation of racist health policy and the delivery of culturally unsafe health care, resulting in health disparities that are disproportionately experienced by Indigenous Peoples. Cultural groups that have experienced colonization also tend to encounter other levels of oppression, including epistemic and systemic racism. Epistemic racism is connected to the cultural erosion of Indigenous Peoples as westernized views and knowledge concerning health and well-being are prioritized, thus dominating and invalidating traditional Indigenous healing practices and customs. Systemic racism is exercised through Canada’s governance, where there is an unjust distribution of power that is built into law, policy and economic practice.
There’s pages more of this stuff. And just one problem. One really big problem.
With a feather in her hand and a bright blue shawl and Métis sash draped over her shoulders, Carrie Bourassa made her entrance to deliver a TEDx Talk at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in September 2019, where she detailed her personal rags-to-riches story.
“My name is Morning Star Bear,” she said, choking up. “I’m just going to say it — I’m emotional.”
The crowd applauded and cheered.
“I’m Bear Clan. I’m Anishinaabe Métis from Treaty Four Territory,” Bourassa said, explaining that she grew up in Regina’s inner city in a dysfunctional family surrounded by addiction, violence and racism.
You can guess the rest of the Elizabeth Warren story.
Bourassa went on to become one of the most prominent and respected voices on Indigenous health in the country. She is a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, where she directs the Morning Star Lodge, an Indigenous community-based health research lab.
She is also the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, a federal agency that is the leading funder of Indigenous health research in Canada.
Now it turns out that the systemic racism may be coming from inside the house.
But some of her colleagues, like Winona Wheeler, an associate professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Saskatchewan, say Bourassa’s story is built on a fundamental falsehood.
Wheeler, a member of Manitoba’s Fisher River Cree Nation, says genealogical records show Bourassa is not Indigenous at all, but rather of entirely European descent.
Janet Smylie, a Métis family medicine professor from the University of Toronto who wrote a chapter in a 2017 book on Indigenous parenting edited by Bourassa, says she has recently learned the truth about Bourassa’s identity after conducting her own research.
“It makes you feel a bit sick,” said Smylie. “To have an impostor who is speaking on behalf of Métis and Indigenous people to the country about literally what it means to be Métis … that’s very disturbing and upsetting and harmful.”
In its review of Bourassa’s genealogy, CBC has traced all of her ancestry lines back to Europe. CBC was unable to locate any Indigenous ancestor.
Bourassa has a furious response that’s big on buzzwords, but admits that her “heritage” comes by way of adoption.
“This entire smear campaign stems from lateral violence and I refuse to allow myself to be further abused in this way. True journalism should be a vessel of empowerment for Indigenous women as we are the most vulnerable in this country we call Canada.”
True journalism apparently means embracing a narrative while refusing to report the truth.
Here is my story: I was adopted by Clifford Larocque after my grandfather passed away. Our community knows who I am and embraces me. In our Métis ways, in the event of a loss, community members would adopt the individual who had no family and they would then automatically be seen as family. We see this as custom adoption. Those adoptions were more meaningful and have stronger bonds than colonial adoptions.
That’s a change of pace for Morning Star Bear.
In addition to claiming Metis and Anishinaabe heritage, Bourassa has also asserted that she’s a descendant of the Tlingit, a small group of Indigenous people from the Yukon and British Columbia.
Not to mention a direct descendant of the last Czar.
She says she has been adopted into five other communities as well. She didn’t offer any explanation as to why she claimed to have been born into a family with Métis, Anishnaabe and Tlingit roots.
Which are apparently indigenous to Russia.
Tait said genealogical records show that Bourassa’s supposed Indigenous ancestors were of Russian, Polish and Czechoslovakian descent.
Bourassa said she first learned about that connection 16 years ago, during a mysterious naming ceremony when she says she received the spirit name Ts’iotaat Kutx Ayanaha s’eek, or Morning Star Bear.
How do you say Morning Star Bear in Czech?
“My great-grandmother was Tlingit,” she said, referring to Johanna Salaba. “She married an immigrant. They moved from the far northern B.C. into Saskatchewan and they had a family.”
However, CBC has passenger manifests showing Bourassa’s great-grandmother Salaba left Russia in 1911 with her mother and sister to connect with her father, who had been granted land in Saskatchewan’s Punnichy area, where many Eastern European people settled.
Census records identify Salaba as a Czech-speaking Russian, unable to speak English.
Systemic racism against Russians is serious business.
Bourassa has relayed parts of her life story in print and in many talks across the country. Born in 1973, she says she was raised by her teenage parents and her Métis grandfather and faced “intergenerational trauma,” the consequences of racism and colonialism.
“Everybody around me was either an alcoholic, drug addict or suffered from some sort of addiction. There was a lot of violence in my family,” she said in a 2017 episode of the Women Warriors podcast. “There was a lot of sexual abuse. It was endemic.”
I blame colonialism. And systemic racism.
She said her grandfather, a Regina car salesman, told her “it was a very tough time to be a half-breed family,’’ as he would endure racist slurs. Bourassa said she did, too, noting, “I had a tough time in school anyways with bullying and taunts — ‘squaw,’ ‘half-breed,’ you name it and I was called it.”
You name it.
Even so, she said her grandfather tried to pass down some Métis traditions. “He did take me out to an aunty’s to pick berries, and they tanned hides, made mukluks and moccasins, and beaded,” she said.
It was nice of her to pass down these tales of her people which she absolutely did not pick up from a CBC documentary.
“Self-hatred, denial and preservation meant hiding our Métis status,” Bourassa wrote in her 2017 book, Listening to the Beat of our Drum.
They hid it really well.
However, through publicly available information, CBC has been able to piece together some details of Bourassa’s early family life.
The Weibels own and operate Berry Hills Estates, a real estate development in the Qu’Appelle Valley, where they offer people the chance to build a dream home “on one of Saskatchewan’s most sought-after lakes.”
On the weekends, Ron Weibel was active at the racetrack, as one of the most prominent and successful racing enthusiasts and organizers in Regina. A 1986 Regina Leader-Post article described Weibel’s 1982 Corvette as “the envy of most of the estimated 1,000 race patrons.”
It’s tough out there when your father races Corvettes and develops real estate.