NDP MP Roméo Saganash has apologized for plagiarizing parts of a recent op-ed column he wrote about why he, and many other Indigenous peoples, would not be celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Saganash lifted paragraphs, nearly verbatim, from a speech delivered by student Erica Violet Lee at an event called “Reckoning with Canada at 150” at Carleton University in March. Some of her words were later republished under the MP’s name in a column titled “150 Years of Cultural Genocide: Today, Like All Days, is an Insult.”
Lee first flagged the issue on her Facebook page after she read Saganash’s column in the Globe and Mail. “I saw an excerpt from this G&M article quoted on a Facebook status today, and I thought the language sounded too familiar to my work,” she wrote. “I’m not sure what to do about this.”
APTN reported Tuesday that Saganash, a Cree from northern Quebec, then reached out to Lee after her post circulated on social media, sending her a message promising to speak with his assistant — who he said wrote the first draft of the piece — and make adjustments.
A further analysis of the op-ed by CBC News revealed at least one other passage was apparently lifted, this time from a different source. One paragraph was copied from a piece first published in February 2013 by Eric Ritskes, a student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, on the now-defunct website the New Left Project.
“Settler colonialism demands Indigenous erasure for the purpose of claiming Indigenous land, it is the symbolic and real replacement of Indigenous peoples with settlers who attempt to claim belonging,” Ritskes wrote. Saganash used the exact same sentence in his piece, though with corrected punctuation.
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At noon ET Tuesday, the op-ed was still on the Globe’s website without a correction or clarification notice.
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