Dr. Darryl Leroux will discuss findings from his book Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity (University of Manitoba Press, 2019) that will be of particular interest to genealogists. An expert on French-Canadian genealogy, Dr. Leroux will focus on the genealogical mechanics that are leading an increasing number of white French-Canadians to identify as Indigenous. What he calls “practices of descent” explain how one must do something with certain ancestors to justify one’s nascent claims to an Indigenous identity. The three main practices of descent identified by Dr. Leroux are lineal descent, aspirational descent, and lateral descent, each of which provides amateur genealogists with the material to change certain ancestors’ identities to suit their own present-day interests.
Dr. Darryl Leroux is an associate professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at Saint Mary’s University. In 2019, he published Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity, which explores, in part, the genealogical mechanics at play in the phenomenon of self-indigenization. He has been researching the social and political dynamics of French-Canadian/Québécois genealogy for a decade, during which time he has published articles on the topic in academic journals such as Ethnic & Racial Studies, Journal of Critical Ethnic Studies, Social Studies of Science, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal.