Emily Carr prof resigns after allegations she faked Indigenous identity

Sep 8 2022, 6:47 pm

A professor at Emily Carr University in Vancouver has resigned from her position after allegations emerged that she faked being Indigenous.

Gina Adams resigned from her position at Emily Carr on August 25, 2022, the university said in a statement posted Tuesday.

“We are committed to finding a way forward and will be undertaking an Indigenous-led external review to make recommendations for how we assess identity in a culturally-appropriate way when hiring for positions designated for Indigenous candidates,” Emily Carr said.

emily carr

Emily Carr University

The statement came out the same day that Maclean’s published a piece by Cree journalist Michelle Cyca titled “The Curious Case of Gina Adams: A ‘Pretendian’ investigation.”

Adams, an artist, was hired in 2019 as part of an effort by the university to recruit more Indigenous faculty. During her time at the university, she taught Indigenous-related courses including Aboriginal Material Practice. Her website bio still indicates she’s a tenure-track assistant professor position at the university.

Adams claims Ojibwe heritage through her grandfather, specifically through the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. In a heritage statement posted to her website, Adams said her grandfather was taken at age eight and sent to a federally-run residential school.

She recalls her grandfather telling her stories of hiding in the woods to avoid being sent away. After graduation, he never returned to his community and apparently changed his name at marriage to avoid laws forbidding mixed-race unions.

The grandfather apparently told others he was French-Canadian to avoid racism, Adams claims.

Over the course of Cyca’s investigation for the magazine, she discovered documents that identified that grandfather as white and born to French-Canadian parents. In addition, the residential school’s records didn’t mention any boy by her grandfather’s name attending.

The White Earth Nation’s enrolment office also told Maclean’s it has no records indicating Adams or her grandfather have any links to it.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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