University professor says he faced backlash after researching the rise of the Eastern Metis

Darryl Leroux says he has faced a backlash for his research into people claiming they are Eastern Metis. He says his critics have contacted his employer and grant providers.

“There are obviously people who are going to be upset when you appear to be putting their individual identity claims into question” says Leroux, a Saint Mary’s University professor who is researching the rise of the Eastern Metis. “I think that my concern is about the movement overall.

“And we are talking about tens of thousands of people who are claiming to have Indigenous rights who weren’t even just 15 years ago.”

According to Leroux, in the span of 20 years, the number of people self-identifying as Metis in Nova Scotia has ballooned from 830 people to more than 23,000.

Leroux expects that number will only continue to grow.

Leroux is a professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He joined host Dennis Ward on Face to Face to discuss the rise of the Eastern Metis.

Some of Leroux’s research has focused on the use of Métis citizenship cards for tax breaks at point of sale.

“They’re used widely both on reserve and off reserve as a way to really defraud the system,” says Leroux. “In a way that actually harms Mi’kmaw people who face a lot of opposition to using status cards for instance for a point of sale rebates.”

The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and the Metis National Council also expressed their concern in a memorandum of understanding signed in September.

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