Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has returned an honorary doctorate to Royal Roads University in the wake of public concern.
Turpel-Lafond had been awarded the honorary degree in 2016, the university recently initiated a review process.
After consultations with Indigenous and academic colleagues, along with engagement of the University’s Advisory Committee on Honours and Awards, the university contacted Lafond, who voluntarily relinquished the degree.
According to the university, the Royal Roads Board of Governors has canceled the degree.
This comes after Vancouver Island University accepted the return of a doctorate from Lafond a few weeks ago.
Concerns about Turpel-Lafond’s heritage arose after a birth certificate was found disputing her claim of indigenous ancestry.
The university says they acknowledge the harm caused to Indigenous people and communities by controversies such as these, and the need to be more proactive in developing policies to support Indigenous students, faculty, and staff.