We wrote about UC Riverside academic Andrea Smith being called out by Cherokee researcher David Cornsilk,, as well as by numerous real Native American academics. It wasn't pretty.
Now, Professor Smith has a response:
To the academic and social justice organizing communities which I have been part of for many years, and to whom I am indebted:
I have always been, and will always be Cherokee. I have consistently identified myself based on what I knew to be true. My enrollment status does not impact my Cherokee identity or my continued commitment to organizing for justice for Native communities.
There have been innumerable false statements made about me in the media. OP: WHICH ONES? But ultimately what is most concerning is that these social media attacks send a chilling message to all Native peoples who are not enrolled, or who are otherwise marginalized, that they should not publicly work for justice for Native peoples out of fear that they too may one day be attacked. It is my hope that more Indigenous peoples will answer the call to work for social justice without fear of being subjected to violent identity-policing. I also hope the field of Native studies might attend to disagreement and difference in a manner that respects the dignity of all persons rather than through abusive social media campaigns.
Out of respect for the dignity and privacy of my family, and out of concern for the damage that these attacks have had on my students, colleagues, and organizing communities, I will direct my energies back to the work of social justice.
I would LOVE to see her fighting against the stain of tribal disenrollment, using her skills and connections to bring THAT injustice to light. Theft of identity harms everyone. Be real, there is NOTHING wrong with being white.....
She looks just like many thousand people who descended from Native Americans all over the United States. Why do so many people say you must be dark skinned, and enrolled with a Tribe to be who you are? Plastic Cards melt...Enrollment Papers can be burned.....but your blood is what your ancestors gave you! The Indians from California are mostly dark because they have not had their lives interrupted by Whites as long as, the Natives from the East Coast have had. In other words, coming from an Chief of a Tribe on the East Coast ( We held the White's at bay, so the rest of the Native Americans could play Indian a little longer). That was said, over a hundred years ago! Mrs. Smith would fit in with Indians from Oklahoma to North Carolina. Even Twila Barnes has a lot of White Blood, but she sure likes to bash.... I remember many years ago in 2010 when they did the 2010 United States Census, that Indian Country Today Newpaper, and several other Native Newspapers (I still have them in storage) called out for EVERYONE OF INDIAN BLOOD ENROLLED OR NOT......to come out and list that they are Native American on the Census, even if you had ancestry........They said it did not matter!....Now a days you need to come from a Tribe that has a CASINO, or your nothing (That is all that matters, we all know that is VERY TRUE) The Newspaper said, even if you had a great grandparents you were asked to list yourself as Native American!
What I love to read is people saying "There is no such thing as an Indian Princess" Bull Crap to that, I'd bet a million dollars on that one, go and pull up Old Colonial Records, and read for yourself....in the 1600, and 1700 on the East Coast the Whites listed some Indians as such coming from certain Tribes, with certain Bloodlines. Some Chiefs were called Kings, and their daughters were called Princess. The Cherokee were listed as such, and Pamunkey etc. I have worked in Native History now for more than 23 years. I even have records that of my great grandfathers way back is listed as The King of the Mattamuskeet Indians. My family has more than 18 bloodlines I have found so far that were Native American. My grandmother was on the Dawes Roll as an infant. I have been to Oklahoma, and have seen enrolled members of the Cherokee, and a few others Tribes that look just like Mrs. Smith, you could not tell the difference. I went to the visit the Mother Oak at the Pechanga Reservation, and I said prayers, and I prayed about how many have suffered so much hurt at the hands of others....greed, money, it's all about money....I am not from California, but my bloodlines come from the East Coast. I want to leave here soon, to much hurt on this land, to much bad blood spilled here, and it's not all from Whites, it's within yourselves...open your eyes while you still can, your little ones are watching, and hurting! When you disenroll your babies, it is done!
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