Tonto, the fictionalized longtime companion of the Lone Ranger, referred to his masked partner as “Kemosabe” which means “trusted friend.”
In the case of a Californian college professor it appears fictional Indians can be found in academia as well as books. In her case she can’t be trusted, and her friends are deserting her.
Elizabeth Hoover is a UC Berkley professor who is an expert in environmental health and food justice in Native American communities. She has claimed to be a Native American throughout her career, but she isn’t Native American.
This Ivy-League educated fraud, apologized to Native American communities for, “uncritically living an identity based on family stories without seeking out a documented connection to these communities.”
In laymen’s terms Hoover is not, nor has she ever been, Native American. She is possessed of no Indigenous people’s blood and despite her burning desire shares no DNA with the original inhabitants of the Americas.
In her own words Hoover is a, “white person who has incorrectly identified as Native my whole life.”
To assuage her conscience, she is turning in her “dance regalia, ribbons skirts, moccasins, and Native jewelry,” giving away “these things to people who will wear them better.”
In her apology Hoover is proving to be the exact kind of academic and intellectual fraud that so many of us rightly fear make up most collegiate instructors.
Her expertise in “food justice” sounds like so many other modern campus offerings, empty-headed and of no significant value to anyone. A collegiate course’s absence of worth isn’t a barrier to it’s being offered.
Lack of merit never stopped an academic from creating a syllabus suitable for framing.
Hoover’s apology is a delicious word salad offering and it nourishes neither the mind nor the soul. Her meaningless mea culpa comes with no admission of guilt and no actual penance. She has not resigned, and her employer has yet to demand that sacrifice.
According to Hoover and all those consumed by racial/ethnic identity, being white is the greatest advantage of all. Why then would someone reject that privilege in exchange for an ethnic identity which they claim would subject them to discrimination and oppression?
It would seem the answer is the one that is most obvious. She chose this identity…