When the 2020 pandemic was in full swing, a Madison Indigenous artist fired back at the city’s latest music venue organizers for its name.
According to her, Winnebago was an inappropriate name, despite the fact that it was named after the street it’s on. She was joined by one snowflake after another, each claiming it wasn’t a fitting name for a white-owned venue.
A massive outbreak of “pretendians”
However, things wouldn’t remain that simple; the artist in question, Kay LeClaire, would soon have her true heritage revealed.
nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Katie Le Claire / Kathryn Le Claire identifies as a “Two-Spirit Métis, Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Cuban and waabishkiiwed artist.”
— Alida 🍯 (@honeynoir) January 2, 2023
Nonetheless, the venue owners actually caved to these demands and rebranded as the Burr Oak. This, surprisingly enough, didn’t end up offending any of the easily provoked libs in the area.
LeClaire’s delusions carried on for a while; she even claimed that she was happy the venue owners won’t be profiting from Indigenous culture.
The issue lies in the fact that LeClaire herself isn’t Indigenous. She was actually the one profiting off of Indigenous identities and culture in the area.
Dating back to 2017, and possibly even further back, LeClaire boasted her supposed Metis, Oneida, Cuban, Jewish, and Haudenosaunee heritage, as well as the fact she’s two-spirit, which is a fancy way to say non-binary, at least in the Indigenous communities.
She also received a series of stipends, grants, a position in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, and a massive platform to promote her work, all with an identity she fabricated.
Did K Leclare aka “Nibiiwakamigkwe” make up a MMIW relative too? She got called out for faking being native with a rotational identity. She darkened her hair and skin too pic.twitter.com/wLFasNRBqc
— Huhá Máza 🦬🔥7️⃣ (@huhamaza) December 30, 2022
LeClaire’s fabricated identity
This web of lies was first revealed last year in November on the New Age Fraud Forum. A user posted pictures from LeClaire’s past, as well as additional evidence of her true genealogy.
The user, known by the name AdvancedSmite, decided to stay anonymous, seeing as the “pretendians” aren’t strangers to death threats when their identities are revealed.
AdvancedSmite on the other hand is a genuine Indigenous person and found out about LeClaire through a Facebook ad, adding they found her nibiiwakamigwe name extremely unusual.
This was due to the fact that the Ojibwe given name is something only used in ceremonies and among other people in the community. It is not for creating a platform for your art.
We are all disgusted by a “pretendian” impersonating an indigenous woman, but are bullied and attacked if we say a man can’t ever be a woman? https://t.co/RRHuYW4MgL
— floofy (@Blitheandjovial) January 4, 2023
Even though it took a while for this news to reach the Madison community, many other prominent figures in the area confirmed they already had their suspicions regarding LeClaire.
One of these was tattoo artist Nipinet Landsem, who claimed to have been horrified and upset with the revelation, outraged at the fact that LeClaire created an Indigenous identity all for her own gain.
Katie LeClaire, which is her real name, likely won’t be welcome in the community for a while, or the foreseeable future; it’s probably for the best.
It remains unclear how much money LeClaire actually made from her fabricated heritage, but it’s evident it’s helped her make her way into dozens of institutions and art exhibitions.This article appeared in The Record Daily and has been published here with permission.