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Senator says more awareness needed of 'invisible crime' of Indigenous identity theft

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OTTAWA -

A Manitoba senator says Indigenous identity fraud is a damaging but often "invisible crime" that inflicting serious harm on Indigenous women.

Mary Jane McCallum, who is Cree, wants the Senate to study the issue and raise more awareness about why it is so damaging.

There have been a series of high-profile cases in recent years of academics and those in the arts whose claims of Indigenous identity have been debunked.

McCallum says she has heard from students who were devastated upon learning someone they admired was not who they said they were.

The senator says she wonders "what that does to a person" and sees the issue as the latest fight Indigenous women like herself must have.

McCallum believes not enough Canadians understand the hurt someone causes by falsely presenting themselves as Indigenous, especially as those who are First Nations are still fighting citizenship within the Indian Act.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2023.

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