Inside Higher Ed reports:
Susan Taffe Reed will not be director of Dartmouth College's Native American Program after all. Her appointment, announced a month ago, drew criticism from many Native American groups who said that her claim to be Native American was false (which Taffe Reed denied) and that the appointment insulted them.
The controversy over Taffe Reed started shortly after the college announced her appointment. In a news release, the college noted Taffe Reed's academic background (a Cornell University Ph.D. and postdoc positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bowdoin College) and her research interest (ethnomusicology), and stated that Taffe Reed is president of Eastern Delaware Nations Inc.
Not all Native Americans recognize Eastern Delaware Nations as an Indian tribe. Nor do federal or state governments. And then a blog ran a detailed genealogical post about Taffe Reed's grandparents (from whom she draws a Native American connection) alleging, with legal documents, that they are white European immigrants and their descendants. Dartmouth and Taffe Reed dispute the blog post but did not issue a detailed rebuttal.
Native American alumni of Dartmouth also questioned the appointment. Many said they would not have objected to a non-Native American getting the job, but appointing someone they viewed as posing as Native American bothered them.
The Dartmouth appointment attracted widespread attention from Native American activists as it followed the case of Andrea Smith, associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California at Riverside, who was accused this year of faking a Cherokee heritage that many say she lacks.
Amid the debate over Taffe Reed, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association circulated a statement asking colleges and universities to be more vigilant in preventing ethnic fraud, while at the same time proclaiming the issue one of integrity for faculty applicants.In episode of The Sopranos, members of the crime family meet Chief Doug Smith, a sleazy casino operator.
SIL: No offense, chief, but, uh... you don't look much like an Indian.
SMITH: Frankly I passed most of my life as white, until I had a racial awakening and discovered my Mohonk blood. My grandmother on my father's side, her mother was a quarter Mohonk.
TONY: And all this happened when the casino bill got passed, right?
SMITH: Better late than never.