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Former Artist-in-Residence at U. Wisconsin Who Claimed to be Native American is Actually White

Former Artist-in-Residence at U. Wisconsin Who Claimed to be Native American is Actually White

“Moving forward, my efforts will be towards reducing harm by following the directions provided by Native community members and community-specified proxies.”

This is a story that almost mirrors that of Elizabeth Warren. Do you think anyone in the media will ask her about it?

The College Fix reports:

U. Wisconsin Native American-in-residence turns out to be white

Another ersatz Native American has been discovered, this time a former artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin.

“Two-spirit” Kay LeClaire (pictured), who called herself “nibiiwakamigkwe” and founded the “queer Indigenous artists’ collective” known as giige, was outed on a message board called New Age Fraud Forum, according to a January 3 article in Madison 365

LeClaire was a “community-leader-in-residence” for the public university who focused on “Indigenous craftwork” and tattooing.

A user of the New Age Fraud site who claims to be Indigenous and a “hobbyist genealogist” first became aware of LeClaire via a Facebook ad for a discussion of Indigenous feminism. The user said LeClaire’s use of “nibiiwakamigkwe” was “unusual” as it is “typically something that would just be used in ceremony or with other people who are Ojibwe or a part of your community.”

The user added that LeClaire claiming to be Anishinaabe also was odd: “Band names are so important,” the user said, that “when someone just says Anishinaabe” it leads to suspicion.

Local Native tattoo artist Nipinet Landsem said LeClaire also claimed Métis heritage but didn’t seem to know much about it: “I thought it was interesting how [LeClaire] often wore, it wasn’t like full regalia, but (they were) often wearing furs and clearly Indigenous-made clothing and it was almost like flying a flag. ‘Hi, I’m an indigenous woman.’”

Landsem also noted that LeClaire would hit the tanning booth a lot, and if people questioned her about it she would accuse them of “colorism.” LeClaire also claimed her mother had forced her to “bleach” her hair, Landsem said.

LeClaire did not admit to anything outright and declined an interview with Madison 365. She did provide a statement, however:

I am sorry […] A lot of information has come to my attention since late December. I am still processing it all and do not yet know how to respond adequately. What I can do now is offer change. Moving forward, my efforts will be towards reducing harm by following the directions provided by Native community members and community-specified proxies. Currently, this means that I am not using the Ojibwe name given to me and am removing myself from all community spaces, positions, projects, and grants and will not seek new ones. Any culturally related items I hold are being redistributed back in community, either to the original makers and gift-givers when possible or elsewhere as determined by community members. Thank you.

According to a December 31 Instagram post from giige, LeClaire and the artist collective parted ways effective immediately.

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Comments

The Gentle Grizzly | January 7, 2023 at 10:21 am

Another red-skin commander who isn’t a red-skin commander. Sir, meet Senator Warren.

On the home page, the final word of the headline was reduced to “…”
My mind immediately constructed a bingo card of possible endings:

Nigerian
Polish
Tiffani Amber Thiessen
Subway sandwich artist
actual JFK assassin

I decided I could eliminate none of these possibilities as too outrageous for today’s news.