CBC’s Misuse of Genealogy to Attack Indigenous Identity

Publicly broadcasting genealogical quackery

“BLOOD QUANTUM” by Marty Two Bulls, a Native American Political Cartoonist & Artist, Oglala Lakota. 2008.
Current Canadian Indian Status. Diagram by author.
Left: Jacques Rousseau among Inuit children in 1948. Right: Scan of L’HÉRÉDITÉ ET L’HOMME 1945. Purchased in January 2021. Link to partial translation.
Dominique Ritchot’s Jan 20, 2021 Tweet. Shared with CBC March 4th, 2021.
  1. Documents (typically church documents) do not explain the higher percent of Indigenous DNA versus genealogy: Over half of Quebec individuals in a pair of similar studies had genealogy indicating Indigenous ancestry but only a fraction showed up on paper. The 2012 study [n=794] compared maternal lineage DNA (mitochondrial DNA) versus genealogy which indicated most Indigenous women in these lineages were obscured or hidden for reasons that can only be speculated. The 2013 study [n=205] compared genealogical records with whole DNA analysis (autosomal DNA) suggesting only ~20% of the expected “Native American ancestry” was showing up on genealogical records. (Paragraph updated: June 14, 2021)
  2. False identification in documents: When you have mixed ancestry and your government: stalks, shames and terrorizes Indigenous people (children abducted, used for experimental drug treatments, sterilized, condemned as heathens etc.) would you not expect public and private identities to be different?
  3. Statistical uncertainty in connections: The rates of NPEs (Not Parent Expected or Non-Paternal Event) in genealogy is in the single digit percent for each generation. Errors compound for each generation (i.e. there is a ~10% chance one parent within a great grandparent tree is inaccurate. Everyone likes to think they are exempt because biological determinism is woven into our language ‘like father like son’ etc.). With thousands of connections there are guaranteed to be errors. Genetic genealogists know this and accordingly don’t make judgements on family trees prior to confirmation. This often takes years.
  4. Genealogy websites are unreliable: Ancestry websites all have “AS IS” legal disclaimers. Their structure is built on nuclear family kinships. They don’t recognize ceremonial adoption. Most trees published are anonymously built, require no primary source documents, contain no public changelogs and no official oversight. They encourage genealogical fanfiction.
Over-simplified diagram why there is a rise in self-identifying Métis. Diagram by author.

Rumor story formula about Example Person (EP)

What a CBC apology should look like

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