University head steps back amid Indigenous claims scrutiny

Amid scrutiny about her claims to Indigenous ancestry, the president of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador apologised on Monday 13 March for hurt she may have caused by invoking Mi’kmaq heritage, reports The Canadian Press.

Vianne Timmons said she will take temporary leave as the school’s board of regents considers its next steps through an Indigenous-led roundtable. “While I have shared that I am not Mi’kmaq and I do not claim an Indigenous identity, questions about my intentions in identifying my Indigenous ancestry and whether I have benefited from sharing my understanding of my family’s history have sparked important conversations on and beyond our campus,” Timmons said in a written statement.

The scrutiny arose after an investigation published last week by CBC News raised questions about Timmons’ claims that her father’s great-great-grandmother was Mi’kmaq. A day before the story’s publication, Timmons released a statement under the title, “Indigenous identity is complex”. “I am not Mi’kmaq. I am not Indigenous. I did not grow up in an Indigenous community,” she wrote. “My family, through my father, is of Mi’kmaw ancestry and heritage. It is a distinction I have been careful to make because it is an important distinction.” However, Timmons listed membership with the unrecognised Bras d’Or Mi’kmaq First Nation in Nova Scotia in her professional credentials for years.
Full report on the CTV News site