She claimed to have ancestral ties to the Metis indigenous peoples of Canada, but a recent report revealed that a top health official’s kin more accurately hailed from Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
“My name is Morning Star Bear,” Carrie Bourassa told a TED Talk audience in 2019 at the University of Saskatchewan, according to the CBC report.
“I’m Bear Clan. I’m Anishinaabe Metis from Treaty Four Territory,” she continued, trying to further establish her indigenous credentials.
But Bourassa’s colleagues at the university sensed something was wrong after she added more tribal claims to her story and began dressing in indigenous attire, the New York Post reported.
When they pressured Bourassa to provide more substantive proof of her background, she changed her story, claiming to have been adopted by a Metis friend of her grandfather, the report said.
She had served as scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous People’s Health and as a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, the Post reported.
Her story has drawn comparisons to previous ancestry claims made by Rachel Dolezal, a former local NAACP activist who claimed to be Black, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who claimed Native American roots until her story failed to hold up.