No, Justin Trudeau doesn’t qualify as Algonquin
iPolitics, Chief Lance Haymond and Darryl Leroux are wrong
Updated Jan 19th: Clarifying language to make it absolutely clear the iPolitics story was 100% bogus.
The Algonquin National Secretariat (ANS) admits the genealogical report on Justin Trudeau was wrong.
6 Years of Misinformation
Claims of Indigenous ancestry were first published in a March 2016 iPolitics story titled Justin Trudeau qualifies as Algonquin under new process, chief claims (re-reported in CTV News, CBC News, National Post and the Winipeg Free Press via The Canadian Press). They were the result of a report commissioned by the ANS.
Justin Trudeau himself has made no claims of Indigenous ancestry.
In an effort to verify the claims, I followed the genealogical PDF cited in the story and it led to the Marguerite Nicolet … the wrong Nicolet.
Marguerite Nicolet born in France 1645 is not the Marguerite Nicolet born in Trois-Rivières 1642, who is the half-sister of Marie Madeleine Euphrosine Nicolet born of Jean Nicolet and Gisis Bahmahmaadjimiwin from the Nipissing tribe, part of the Algonquin peoples.
Either way, Marguerite Nicolet is not Indigenous and not an approved ancestor for Algonquins of Ontario (AOO). The whole story was wrong.
With lots of money and land is at stake, why has this never been clarified?
Research or Politics?
‘Justin qualifying as an Algonquin’ is being used as a punchline to ridicule the AOO enrollment process. A narrative wedge used to divide people in prolonged land claims agreement.
Justin has talked about his Singaporean ancestry but no mention of any Indigenous ancestry. Probably because there is none to be found.
No author is officially listed in the iPolitics genealogy. However, the Feb 2016 PDF has “Sicani” listed as author in the metadata. A reference to Sicani Research & Advisory Services directed by Peter Di Gangi, Director of policy & research for the Algonquin Nation Secretariat.
Peter Di Gangi appears to have an anti AOO bias. He has repeatedly put “Algonquins of Ontario” in scare quotes. This was done in a Dec 2015 lecture summary; in two March 2016 press releases co-authored by Lance Haymond and a Oct 2017 Presentation to the House of Commons Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs published by the Algonquin Nation Secretariat (ANS).
Peter Di Gangi was also quoted in a Feb 2016 APTN story by Jorge Barrera titled Key Algonquin chief wants tighter rules on who can be part of massive Ontario modern treaty. The same segment in the ANS reported on by Jorge Barerra was quoted in Darryl Leroux’s Sept 2019 book Distorted Descent.
Peter Di Gangi and ANS deny direct authorship
Algonquin Nation Secretariat (ANS) was first reached by email then Peter Di Gangi was reached by phone. When Peter was asked over the phone if he had authored the document, he said he didn’t have a “photographic memory” and to contact the ANS for comment.
Acting Director for ANS, Alison McBride responded to my email shortly after my call with Peter. Alison wrote that Peter had called and mentioned I had phoned him. To my follow-up question of authorship, Allison wrote back saying “Sicani/ANS didn’t author the Trudeau genealogy. It was done and provided to us by a third party, who has since passed away.”
Asked why the work wasn’t verified, the ANS said “the third party was someone who had a long standing reputation, the information was viewed as reliable.” ANS claims “The Trudeau team responded when the story broke contradicting the information” but could not remember where the statement was made. “Following that, we would have corrected our data.”
A search through official press releases, and social media accounts of Trudeau and his team did not yield a statement.
The ANS correction seems to have been internal and kept private. It stretches credulity since CBC reported Chief Haymond repeating the same claim seven months later.
Darryl Leroux: champion of misinformation
A social media search showed that Darryl Leroux, associate professor at Saint Mary's University, most frequently mentions Justin Trudeau’s “qualification” for AOO membership. He also often links to his book when he does.
Enrollment Process Oversimplified
Suppose though, the connection was accurate. Even still, both Darryl Leroux and Lance Haymond would be oversimplifying the enrollment process.
Enrollment in AOO is more than a genealogical search. AOO’s 2013 Enrollment Applicant Form requires present day cultural or social connection with an Algonquin collective/community.
Even with a team of lawyers navigating this language, Justin’s current involvement in fighting Indigenous children in court would have most citizens spitting out their coffee. Suing Indigenous children is surefire way to reinforce one’s Canadian-ness and abandon any sense of one’s Indigeneity.
Justin Trudeau’s children could qualify*
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has one approved ancestor through her father’s side of the family. The connection was made with Nosorigines connection finder and the lineage to Marie Olivier (Manitouabeouich) Sylvestre (“AS-IS”) would need formal verification. (Two other unofficial lineages connecting to Jeanne Ounaut (aka Auneau) and Catherine Anenontha were also found.)
Genealogy is a personal process. It is inappropriate to make identity claims without consent of the person being mentioned.
Still, maybe their children will try a little harder than their dad and break the cycle of anti-Indigenous shenanigans.
No Comments from:
Chief Lance Haymond was reached for comment by telephone and later by email with an early draft of the story. He did not respond in time for publication.
Darryl Leroux was reached for comment by email and provided an early draft of the story. He did not respond in time for publication.
Kyle Duggan, author of the iPolitics story was reached for comment over Twitter DM with an early draft of the story. He did not respond in time for publication.
iPolitics main number and info email was reached regarding issuing a correction. They did not respond in time for publication.
Error submission was submitted to CBC News. No correction made in time for publication.
The Prime Minister’s office was contacted to see if either Justin or Sophie claim Indigenous ancestry. They did not respond in time for publication.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Voshart has spent too much time thinking about the political implications of Justin Trudeau’s ancestry.