INDIGENOUS FILMMAKER WANTS FINES, JAIL TIME FOR ‘PRETENDIANS’ WHO MISREPRESENT THEIR IDENTITY

Tamara Bell points to U.S. legislation with $250,000 fine or five-year prison term for false representation

Tamara Bell, shown at a news conference on Monday, says the federal government must enact new rules to authenticate Indigenous identity. (Mike Zimmer/CBC )

A Haida filmmaker is pushing for new legislation in Canada to penalize people who pretend to be Indigenous in order to access grants, awards and jobs intended for Indigenous people.

Tamara Bell said she wants those who misrepresent their identity to face fines and even prison time.

Bell’s move comes on the heels of Indigenous elders exposing filmmaker Michelle Latimer’s unfounded claims that she was Indigenous. Latimer, who recently directed the CBC television series Trickster and the documentary Inconvenient Indian, is in fact primarily French Canadian, Irish and Scottish.

“It is reprehensible in all measures, so I think as Indigenous people, we have to draw a line in the sand,” Bell said Monday at a news conference in Vancouver.

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