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dated: 2022-11-19 03:14:28 .
Laughter erupted from First Nations members at an Edmonton hotel Friday when a group of chiefs were asked if Alberta’s premier was claiming aboriginal heritage.
Danielle Smith first spoke publicly about her Cherokee roots back in 2012, announcing on Twitter in September that she is “someone of indigenous (sic) descent.”
But an investigative report released this week by the Aboriginal Television Network (APTN) found no footage to support her claims, and Smith on Friday refused to provide any evidence or even repeat her claims.
“Premier Smith heard about his legacy from his loved ones. Her family has been talking about her lineage for years and is proud of her family history. The Prime Minister did not go deep into her lineage, but she is proud of her roots. ‘ her spokeswoman wrote.
CTV News Edmonton questioned several chiefs about the situation at a joint news conference held alongside Treaties 6, 7 and 8, where leaders gathered to speak out against Smith’s plans for the sovereignty bill.
“I think (she) needs to go to the pink palace here, the Canadian office,” said Arthur Noskey, head of Treaty 8, with a laugh.
The Canada Place building in Edmonton houses the Canadian Indigenous Service office.
“They are the ones who have that category, which bloodline you belong to, and maybe it will be found there. Maybe then we believe.”
Smith’s September charge came after one of his United Conservative Party leadership campaign team aides was fired over “offensive and completely unacceptable” footage of him mocking indigenous peoples.
my campaign to immediately terminate any contract or other dealings with the company involved.
As someone of Indigenous descent, I respect the heritage of Canada’s Indigenous peoples as one of the greatest treasures and strengths of our nation and province. /2
— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) September 28, 2022
“As someone of aboriginal (sic) descent, I respect the heritage of Canada’s aboriginal peoples as one of the greatest treasures and strengths of our nation and province,” Smith wrote.
Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation west of Edmonton spoke about how people falsely claiming Indigenous heritage have become a problem.
“What we recognize is that everybody wants to be a part of this indigenous community if there is an advantage,” Alexis said.
“At the university level, we have non-Indigenous people claiming to be Indigenous in order to get benefits, to get scholarships. There is always something behind it.”
The heads of Contracts 6, 7 and 8 speak to reporters in West Edmonton on November 18, 2022. (Sean Amato/CTV News Edmonton).
Chief Alexis and others urge Smith to stop the sovereignty bill and consult with the native population. He suggests that the law is further proof that the Prime Minister’s claims are false.
“A true aboriginal would not act against all the treaty peoples of this country,” he said.
NDP MP Richard Feehan was at that press conference and said Alexis’ words meant a lot more than his own about Smith’s aboriginal claim.
“I think he needs to talk to the First Nations about this,” Feehan told reporters.
“Not with people like me or the opposition. The chiefs of the First Nations, who are the representatives of the people, need to hear her, and she has clearly failed to do so in every possible way.”
A spokeswoman for Smith said she was not available to answer questions from reporters Friday.
Alberta Chiefs respond to Smith’s Native American claims
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