CANADALAND
#359 The Convenient “Pretendian”
Michelle Latimer was the buzziest Canadian director and showrunner of 2020. But it all came crashing down in December when a CBC investigation called into question her Indigenous identity claims.

Latimer’s documentary Inconvenient Indian premiered at TIFF and reaped plaudits and awards. It’s now been pulled from distribution. Her series Trickster, based on a novel by Eden Robinson, debuted on the CBC and was slated for a second season. It’s been cancelled.

Why does the Canadian cultural establishment make darlings of figures like Latimer? Ryan McMahon joins Jesse to discuss.

Then documentary filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, who is featured in Inconvenient Indian, considers the ethics and responsibility of storytelling, and why this controversy has been hurtful to so many Indigenous people.

And Steven Lonsdale, whose seal hunt Latimer filmed for Inconvenient Indian, explains what he’d like to see done with that footage.

Correction: In this episode, Jesse says that author Eden Robinson has promised to donate all future author royalties from the Trickster books to the Haisla Language Authority. In fact, Robinson has promised to donate future income from the Trickster TV series to the Haisla people.

Clarification: In an earlier version of this episode, Jesse said, “The CBC dug in to census records that say Latimer’s grandfather was not Indigenous or Métis, as [Latimer] had claimed, but French-Canadian,” a formulation that erroneously and unintentionally implied that the Métis are not Indigenous. We have amended the episode to remove this implication.

This episode is brought to you by the Rotman School of Management, Kilne, Athletic Brewing and Article.

Additional music by Audio Network.

February 14, 2021
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