Filmmaker Michelle Latimer is photographed in Toronto, on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Latimer says she made a mistake in naming the First Nations community of Kitigan Zibi as part of her ancestry without formally verifying it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer addresses questions about her Indigenous ancestry

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer addresses questions about her Indigenous ancestry

TORONTO — Canadian filmmaker Michelle Latimer says she made a mistake in naming the First Nations community of Kitigan Zibi as part of her ancestry without formally verifying it.

The Thunder Bay, Ont.-raised writer-director has issued a statement on Facebook to address what she says are recent questions raised about her ancestry.

The “Inconvenient Indian” documentary maker has claimed in the past to be of Algonquin, Metis, and French heritage,from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Maniwaki area in Quebec.

She apologizes in the statement for naming Kitigan Zibi as her family ancestry, based on information from relatives, before having verified that claim by the community first.

Latimer says in order to address the mistake, she’s reached out to elders and community historians in Kitigan Zibi, and the surrounding areas, to receive guidance and obtain verification.

She says she’s also hired a professional genealogist to understand her family history, and is listening to the advice of an Indigenous community of peers.

“At this point, on paper, I can formally trace through source documentation, one line of our Indigenous ancestry dating back to the 1700’s,” Latimer wrote in the statement issued Thursday.

“I have met with leadership from the community this ancestry directly ties to, and they have verified my family connections and confirmed that this is an accepted ancestral line.”

A representative for Latimer said Thursday she “will not be giving interviews at this time.”

The chief for the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Latimer has worked on many Indigenous-focused projects throughout her career.

The founder of the Toronto-based independent production company Streel Films was the showrunner, writer and director of the Indigenous resistance series “Rise,” which aired on Viceland and APTN.

Her latest work includes “Inconvenient Indian,” which is based on Thomas King’s 2012 non-fiction book and takes viewers on “a critical journey through the colonial narratives of North America.”

The documentary won two awards at September’s Toronto International Film Festival and is in the lineup for the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Jan. 28.

Latimer also directed the recent CBC series “Trickster,” which is based on Eden Robinson’s mythical novel about an Indigenous teen and his dysfunctional family.

In her statement Thursday, she wrote she understands the concerns about her ancestry, “given the long history of colonialism and violence in Indigenous Nations.”

Latimer also explained what she knows of her background, citing various accounts of her family residing in the Maniwaki/Kitigan Zibi area.

She recounted how her grandfather talked about the family being Indigenous, and said she and her family are working on confirming other Indigenous ancestors.

“Identifying and honoring the connection to our ancestries and the specific communities from which we come is complicated, but I am committed to being accountable to my community and moving forward in a good way,” Latimer said.

“As an artist of mixed Indigenous and settler ancestry, I know it is my responsibility to be clear and direct about my personal history and ancestral ties. This is a responsibility I have not only to myself, but also to my family, community, Indigenous filmmaking peers, and to all Indigenous people fighting for their sovereignty.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press


Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Most Read