She’s Sitting Bulls-t.
A Canadian medical researcher who rose to become the nation’s top voice on indigenous health has been ousted from her government job and her university professorship — after suspicious colleagues investigated her increasingly fanciful claims of Native American heritage and learned she was a fraud.
Carrie Bourassa, a public health expert who served as scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, was suspended on Nov. 1, five days after the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation published a lengthy expose on her background.
Far from being a member of the Métis nation, as she had long claimed, a laborious trace of Bourassa’s family tree revealed that her supposedly indigenous ancestors were in fact immigrant farmers who hailed from Russia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
“It makes you feel a bit sick,” said Janet Smylie, a Métis professor at the University of Toronto who worked with Bourassa on a book about indigenous parenting.
“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.”
Colleagues began to doubt Bourassa’s story as she began to add claims of Anishinaabe and Tlingit heritage to her tale — and took to dressing in stereotypically indigenous fashion.
It started to unravel in 2019, when she appeared in full tribal regalia — draped in an electric blue shawl, with a feather in her partially braided hair — to give a TEDx Talk at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
“My name is Morning Star Bear,” she said tearfully as the crowd cheered.
“I’m Bear Clan. I’m Anishinaabe Métis from Treaty Four Territory,” she proclaimed as she described an impoverished childhood beset by violence.
But colleagues at the university, where Bourassa held a professorship, smelled a rat…