‘Native American’ faker Kay LeClaire ‘made up tales about visions’

There ended up currently accusations of fraudulent habits shadowing Kay LeClaire when they showed off their intricate bead and basket perform on Etsy and social media over the very last two many years. The posts explained the “visions” and dreams that led the Wisconsin artist — who identifies as non-binary and Native American — to develop the elaborate pieces of art.

But extra than once, the serious creators of the work had come forward to acquire possession of pieces that LeClaire, 28, tried using to appropriate, reported a Indigenous American administrator who has recognized LeClaire considering the fact that 2020.

“[LeClaire] handed off people’s crafts as their have, and made up stories about the visions,” said Jon Greendeer, the wellbeing and wellness coordinator at the Ho-Chunk Nation, in Black River Falls, Wis. “In this way, they did more destruction than any European colonizers did in the outdated times.”

This 7 days, LeClaire — who has claimed considering the fact that 2017 to be of Metis, Oneida, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Cuban and Jewish heritage — was accused in an on the internet forum of truly staying white, Madison365 noted on Tuesday.

LeClaire is also accused of owning “passed off people’s crafts as their personal, and created up tales about the visions.”
Nedahness Rose Greene

Greendeer, a former president of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a tribe of extra than 8,000, told The Post that members of his community were being shocked by LeClaire, who wrote academic papers and spoke at conferences, railing towards the appropriation of indigenous culture at local community functions in Madison and other sections of the point out.

LeClaire, who has identified as “two spirit” — a phrase numerous Indigenous folks use to explain a non-binary gender identification — also had a paid out residency at the College of Wisconsin and membership on the board of the Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Girls Activity Power at the Wisconsin Office of Justice. The team is doing work to conclusion abduction and murder in opposition to Indigenous ladies in the point out.

Jon Greendeer, the Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Ho-Chunk Nation, in Black River Falls, Wis. has known LeClaire since 2020 and said: "They did more damage than any European colonizers did in the old days."
Jon Greendeer, the overall health and wellness coordinator at the Ho-Chunk Country, in Black River Falls, Wis., has regarded LeClaire due to the fact 2020 and stated: “They did additional damage than any European colonizers did in the old days.”
Facebook/ Jon-Jon Greendeer (Mą

“I imagine it was unbelievably misleading,” Greendeer informed The Put up of LeClaire’s statements. “They specific the incredibly men and women they tried out to elevate up … I can only feel that they have critical mental wellness issues.”

Greendeer stated that, in addition to lying about indigenous crafts, LeClaire claimed to have worked tanning animal hides. But Greendeer, an seasoned tanner, knew that LeClaire had no knowledge. The two had met when LeClaire approached Greendeer for scraps of hide for artwork assignments they explained they have been doing the job on.

“I never ever noticed them working on any artwork venture,” he said.

LeClaire has identified as "two spirit" -- a term many Indigenous people use to describe a non-binary gender identity.
LeClaire has identified as “two spirit” — a time period a lot of Indigenous people today use to describe a non-binary gender identity.
Nedahness Rose Greene

According to Greendeer, LeClaire was in a position to go as Native American by having advantage of the “welcoming and open” character of Wisconsin’s Indigenous communities.

“They fooled a ton of people today even even though a ton of what they spoke was Google and Wikipedia knowledge,” stated Greendeer. “They were a grasp when it suited them, but they designed a dwelling of cards.”

That household of cards started to unravel a number of decades ago when LeClaire helped set up a collective, acknowledged as giige, of Native American tattoo artists in Madison.

"They fooled a lot of people even though a lot of what they spoke was Google and Wikipedia knowledge," Greendeer said of LeClaire's Native knowledge.
“They fooled a good deal of individuals even even though a large amount of what they spoke was Google and Wikipedia knowledge,” Greendeer mentioned of LeClaire’s Native expertise.

“Evidence has come to mild indicating that Kay LeClaire has built bogus claims concerning their heritage, their artwork and their posture in the local community,” reads a assertion from giige on the group’s Instagram page, posted Tuesday. “It is with terrific reduction and a legal feat driving the scenes that the workforce at giige announce our separation from co-founder Kay LeClaire, powerful 12/31/2022.”

“They were a economical drain for us,” Nipinet Landsem, a member of the giige collective, informed The Publish on Wednesday of LeClaire. “We compensated them and they did not come into get the job done.”

LeClaire was reportedly creating $750 a week to do administrative work for the team, not such as any jewelry or craft income.

The artist helped set up a collective, known as giige, of Native American tattoo artists at this studio in Madison.
The artist served set up a collective, identified as giige, of Indigenous American tattoo artists at this studio in Madison.
Google Maps

LeClaire did not quickly react to a ask for for remark Wednesday. They apologized in a assertion to Madison365 earlier this week.

“A ton of information and facts has occur to my attention due to the fact late December,” LeClaire explained. “I am still processing it all and do not but know how to answer adequately. What I can do now is offer you improve. Moving ahead, my efforts will be in the direction of lessening harm by subsequent the directions furnished by Indigenous local community associates and neighborhood-specified proxies. Currently, this implies that I am not using the Ojibwe identify given to me and am taking away myself from all community spaces, positions, jobs, and grants and will not request new ones. Any culturally connected things I hold are being redistributed again in community…”

Nipinet Landsem, a member of the giige collective (which runs this shop) told The Post  of LeClaire: "We paid them and they didn't come into work."
Nipinet Landsem, a member of the giige collective (which operates this store), advised The Publish of LeClaire: “We paid out them and they did not occur into work.”
Facebook/ giige

The artist, who was among the the first founders of the group, labored as an administrative assistant and celebration planner but did not work on any tattoos, Landsem advised The Publish.

The work concerns with LeClaire predated the the latest revelations that LeClaire is white, Landsem mentioned.

“We were being presently in the middle of mediation with them,” Landsem stated, including that giige customers experienced been seeking to take away LeClaire from their group given that Oct.

LeClaire, left, also goes by the indigenous name Nibiiwakamigkwe.
LeClaire (proper) also goes by the indigenous name Nibiiwakamigkwe.

“They were abusive, pretty really hard to perform with and often participating in the sufferer,” Landsem explained of LeClaire. “They were pretty good at building anyone sense bad. I can’t stress adequate how good a liar they are. This is a person who is very intentional.”

Landsem told The Post that they identified LeClaire’s alleged duplicity when a giige shopper arrived forward following seeing a November blog site post about LeClaire’s past. The “Fraud Alert” on a web-site called newagefraud, which has due to the fact been taken down, famous that LeClaire had “fabricated and perpetuated a false id and fraudulently resold the crafts of other artists as their individual in immediate violation of the 1990 Indian Arts and Crafts Act.”

"None of us knew who Kay LeClaire is," Greendeer said.
“None of us knew who Kay LeClaire is,” Greendeer stated.
Facebook/ Jon-Jon Greendeer (Mą

Kay LeClaire, who is also regarded as Kathryn LeClaire and Katie LeClaire, is married to Adam Pagenkopf, a analysis specialist at the University of Wisconsin who graduated from the school with a degree in biochemistry in 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. The couple has been married because 2018, reported Landsem, introducing that she has not spoken to LeClaire considering the fact that the news of their alleged duplicity went viral previously this 7 days.

“Kay was married?” said Greendeer. “It just goes to exhibit you that I really do not know anything any longer. None of us understood who Kay LeClaire is. I do not know what they reported they did and what they truly did.”

LeClaire is married to Adam Pagenkopf, a research specialist at the University of Wisconsin.
LeClaire is married to Adam Pagenkopf, a study professional at the University of Wisconsin.
Adam Pagenkopf/ Twitter
Kay LeClaire wedding
Greendeer reported he didn’t know LeClaire was married.
Molly Jean/Fb

For Greendeer and other folks, there is no amount of contrition that can restore LeClaire to the Native American local community she tried using to dupe, he claimed. “Reconciliation is not possible,” he stated. “They have shed the faith of the group.”

LeClaire’s predicament echoes that of Carrie Bourassa, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, who passed herself off as Inuit and a member of Canada’s First Nations for decades right until she was unmasked by Canadian reporters very last year.