Table of contents

Introduction: Self-Indiginization in the Twenty-First Century
Ch. 1 Lineal Descent in an Age of Reconciliation
Ch. 2 Aspirational Descent: Creating an Indigenous Woman Ancestor
Ch. 3 Lateral Descent: Reconstructing Indigeneity in the Past
Ch. 4 After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming Métis in Two Regions of Quebec
Ch. 5 The Largest Self-Identified "Métis" Organization in Canada: The Métis Nation of the Rising Sun


Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the 21st century: otherwise white, French-descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined “Indigenous” identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an “Indigenous” identity today.


"While claiming an Indigenous identity may seem like a harmless form of cosplay, Leroux illustrates how damaging these practices can be to the
self-determination of actual Indigenous peoples. The two case studies show that the main catalyst to claim an Indigenous identity was to derail agreements that were being negotiated with the Innu and Mi’kmaw First Nations. Leroux’s book is itself an illustration of one of the forms that Indigenous allyship can take. "

- Darren O'Toole

"[Distorted Descent] is a deeply necessary book that responds to the challenges of the contemporary moment and charts a path for a more livable future. "

- Jeff Noh

"In the present climate of 'fake news' and claims to 'post-truth,' Leroux’s book provides essential data. Any hope for genuine reconciliation requires decolonization and the acknowledgment of the violent history of settler colonialism. Leroux’s contribution is a call to honest engagement."

- Dr. Jűrgen Werner Kremer

"Darryl Leroux masterfully gives a full account of the political reasons for this phenomenon [of race-shifting]. Distorted Descent provides both an extremely important argument as well as a prose that draws in the reader."

- Joseph R. Wiebe

“Leroux’s absolutely needed and timely study unpacks the contemporary practice of white settlers self-Indigenizing while also highlighting how this process actively harms Indigenous peoples and uplifts whiteness.”

- Jenny Ferguson

“The entire nation must confront these latest efforts to claim ‘Indigenous lands and life.’ Whether allies or accomplices, all Canadians must educate themselves and unlearn the stereotypes that pervade the national consciousness. They must channel their wealth, power, and expertise to support actual Indigenous organizations and communities fighting at the front lines. Most importantly, Canadians must nurture a sense of reciprocity and realize that they have been taking without giving for too long.”

- Sasha Chabot-Gaspé