Gill twins removed from Inuit enrolment list, RCMP to investigate

Click to play video: 'Metis lawyer Jean Teillet explains how to deal with the Indigenous identity fraud'
Metis lawyer Jean Teillet explains how to deal with the Indigenous identity fraud
Jean Teillet urges organizations to set up Indigenous identity verification processes adding, "the first big thing that would stop a lot of this is just saying we're going to check." – Apr 6, 2023

Last week, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and Qikiqtani Inuit Association released a joint statement asking the RCMP to investigate Amira and Nadya Gill and their mother Karima Manji over their applications for enrolment under the Nunavut Agreement.

The Ontario twins began making headlines on March 30 after Nunatsiaq News reported Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. — the organization responsible for enrolling people in the Nunavut Agreement — was investigating allegations of potential enrolment fraud. Indigenous people have been raising alarm bells over the pair’s claims of Inuit ancestry for years.

Being on the Inuit enrolment list provided the sisters with opportunities to apply for things like funding and scholarships meant for Indigenous people. The pair have received thousands of dollars in grants from Indspire, and Amira has received scholarships from Hydro One and RBC.

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According to the joint statement, Manji applied for enrolment under the Nunavut Agreement in 2016 for her daughters and in 2018 for herself.

In 2016 Amira and Nadya’s applications were reviewed and approved based on information provided, which claimed that they had an Inuk birth mother.

In light of recent news, the statement reads “the Gills were asked by (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.) to provide evidence that they have an Inuk birth parent as claimed in their application. No response was received.”

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On April 6, 2023 they were removed from the Inuit enrolment list.

In an email sent on April 20, 2023 the RCMP said “(Nunavut Tunmgavik Inc.) released a statement asking the RCMP to investigate the actions of two applicants for enrolment under the Nunavut Agreement.”

“Please be advised that the Nunavut RCMP are following up on this request.”

Nadya and Amira Gill’s Inuit identity has been questioned by Indigenous people for years. urfavpup_ace / Instagram


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In an interview with Global News on April 6, Metis lawyer Jean Teillet said the RCMP would have to put a lot of thought into whether there’s actually a crime here.

“An investigation doesn’t mean (it) will necessarily lead to charges in order to charge there has to be a reasonable probability of securing a conviction, and then it would be a conviction for what?” she said.

“One has to ask, so what’s the damage? What’s the harm? What’s the crime with (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.)? And then you have to go to the other institutions and ask whether they would be interested in laying some kind of claim or charge … so there’s a lot of steps involved in trying to move this into a criminal investigation.”

Click to play video: 'Metis lawyer Jean Teillet talks about how deep-rooted the ‘pretendian’ problem is'
Metis lawyer Jean Teillet talks about how deep-rooted the ‘pretendian’ problem is
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Last year, Teillet published a report for the University of Saskatchewan exploring Indigenous identity fraud. She said news like this is just scratching the surface.

“Even if (the RCMP) took this case and they found (them) guilty … that wouldn’t change anything else out in the country. What needs to happen is that institutions need to set up verification processes essentially in order to stop this from happening. And one of the first things that would stop it from happening is if they said off the top, we will check,” she said.

“The ones who are already there, that’s a bigger problem … institutions have to step up their honesty game all the way down the line on this stuff and it’s not going to be easy.”

“(Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.) is going to have to do some soul searching and probably that’s a signal to just about all the other organizations too out there that they’re going to have to take a look at their own registries … (because) non-Indigenous people are going to lie and cheat in order to gain access to these registries.”

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