In Canada a number of public figures have made the front pages for one reason: each has been alleged to be a ´Pretend Indian´. In other words, someone who claims distant indigenous identity but upon deeper scrutiny has been accused of stealing jobs and opportunities from real natives.
But why would someone fake an indigenous identity?
That question is the premise of The Pretendians, as we cross Canada revealing what really lies behind this explosive issue. We go on the hunt for knock-off west coast indigenous art, witness an explosion of dubious Status Indian Claims to get cheap fuel, and unpack where the claims of blood-quantum come from (that idea that one drop of Indian blood is enough to claim indigeneity). We meet people truly seeking, and asking, if they are indigenous - or not - and meets a university teacher fighting Pretendian persecution.
During the last thirty years of his career, Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of. An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright, a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on numerous documentaries exploring the Native experience. Most notably as a filmmaker, he wrote and directed REDSKINS, TRICKSTERS AND PUPPY STEW, a documentary on Native humour for the National Film Board of Canada, and for CBC, co-created SEARCHING FOR WINNITOU, an exploration of Germany’s fascination with North American Indigenous culture. 2 years later he followed it up with the documentary COTTAGERS AND INDIANS, about Indigenous/non-Indigenous conflicts over land and water issues.
Paul Kemp is a multiple award-winning TV series and documentary Story Editor, Director, Show Runner, and Producer with over 100 projects under his belt. His films and TV series have been seen in over 160 countries, including: "THE PRETENDIANS" (CBC Passionate Eye | 60 Minutes)