Indigenous staff and students at Queen's University allege the administration has kept them in the dark in the aftermath of an anonymous letter stating that six instructors, professors, and associates falsely claimed Indigenous identity. The anonymous report surfaced online earlier this month, and immediately after its release, the institution in Kingston, Ont., firmly denied the charges made in the report.
Following that denial, almost 100 Indigenous academics signed an open letter urging the institution to investigate the possible harm of misrepresentation among faculty and staff. The petition has also been signed by Wendy Jocko, Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagn First Nation, and Albert Dumont, an Algonquin poet, storyteller, and artist who was just named the City of Ottawa's English-language poet laureate.
One of the academics who signed the letter, Celeste Pedri-Spade, says the recent events have hurt her and that no one at the university has contracted out to answer questions about the situation. None of the six people named in the study have publicly refuted the allegations that their identities are being called into doubt.
"It's incredibly difficult to process as a Native woman," said Pedri-Spade, who was invited to Queen's last year to help establish a whole Indigenous curriculum. She stated that she has received inquiries from Indigenous students and people of her Anishinaabe nation who wish to have their queries answered.
"Those who are most wounded in this process are visible, racialized, Indigenous people, "provide she said, adding that the institution should safe space for this group to express their views.