Dozens of academics from across North America have signed an open letter calling on Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., to retract its statement defending faculty and staff members who were accused of falsely claiming Indigenous identity in an anonymous dossier.
"It was done so quickly," she said. "It appears to be a knee-jerk reaction, and it was done without consultation with the First Nations that it impacts or with the wider Indigenous faculty and staff and students at Queen's University.".
The letter comes less than a week after an anonymous report surfaced online, alleging six individuals affiliated with the university have few or no Indigenous roots, despite having claimed otherwise throughout their careers. .
"They doubled down, ignored troubling information about several of their employees, issuing a statement before coordinating any meaningful dialogue with all of the Indigenous faculty and staff at Queen's and with people within Indigenous communities."
However, it issued a statement on Friday rejecting the anonymous report and saying it was investigating its origins, adding that the university "respects and trusts the Indigenous protocols used to identify those it considers Indigenous."
"As primarily non-Indigenous institutions, universities are not the arbiters of who belongs with Indigenous nations, nor are they in the position to determine which communities are Indigenous and which ones do not," wrote Damien Lee, Canada Research Chair in Biskaabiiyang and Indigenous Political Resurgence, in an email to CBC