Press Statement from the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
Following two articles by reporter Isabelle Hachey of La Presse Plus published last week, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) is concerned about an increasing number of people who claim to be "Indigenous", fraudulently pretending to be a member of a First Nation and on this basis, introduce themselves as merchants, through various platforms, of Indigenous products and services to the detriment of persons duly recognized by our Nations.
First and foremost, the AFNQL wishes to emphasize that the establishment of services that allow cultural security, a healing process or the exercise of a spirituality for First Nations people is not questioned. These support services are part of the spectrum of conditions that can promote individual and collective well-being of our communities and they are desired and necessary, and many individuals within our Nations are recognized to offer these kinds of support mechanisms.
“In a context where cultural appropriation raises legitimate concerns that are met by firm positions on the part of First Nations and recognized Indigenous groups around the world, nothing is more dishonest than misleading the public in such a blatant way by taking on false representation. Self-proclaimed "spiritual guide" or "shaman" without any affiliation to either of our First Nations is a scam, and this is totally disrespectful to any person who put their trust in these individuals. How far will they go? Exploiting the vulnerability of our members is unacceptable in every respect, but some do so freely, and even sometimes with the formal support of governments which makes them accomplices of such a travesty,” said the Chief of the AFNQL Ghislain Picard.
The AFNQL intends to propose to the chiefs who sit at its table the establishment of a listing of persons duly recognized by their Nations for the purposes of services which derive their source from the authentic Indigenous traditional, cultural or spiritual specificity.
The AFNQL also intends to call upon prison authorities to make sure background checks to verify the authenticity of the Indigenous affiliation of certain inmates be more rigorous.