Suzy Kies, the co-chair of the Indigenous Peoples’ Commission of the Liberal Party, has resigned from the position after her claim to Indigenous ancestry was called into question.
Radio-Canada reported on Wednesday that it could not confirm Kies’ claims to Indigenous ancestry.
The story came following controversy over a book burning project at a francophone Ontario school board in which Kies was involved.
In a statement in French, Kies disputes the reporting on her ancestry. She said that her family did genealogical research in the early 1990s that “confirmed” that her family is of Abenaki ancestry.
“It confirmed what my grandmother always told us,” she said in the statement.
Confirmé : Suzy Kies n’est plus coprésidente de la Commission des peuples autochtones du Parti libéral du Canada, après les révélations de <a href=”https://twitter.com/ThomasGerbet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ThomasGerbet</a> , en lien avec les 5000 livres brûlés au conseil scolaire Providence. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/polcan?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#polcan</a>
Kies had held the position since 2017.
“Suzy is an Urban Indigenous woman of Abenaki and Montagnais-Naskape ancestry,” says the Liberal news release announcing her appointment.
In her statement, Kies said she is resigning to protect the party.
“I refuse to have my story used to harm Justin Trudeau and our party,” she said. “This is the reason why I am resigning from my position as co-chair of the Indigenous Peoples Commission.”
Her resignation came just hours before a French-language debate between federal leaders.
“Despite the hurtful questioning of my ancestry, identity and culture, I will continue my work to advance reconciliation and honour my family history,” Kies said in the statement.