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A Dartmouth Indian?

Inside Higher Ed is reporting on a brouhaha regarding, you guessed it, Dartmouth College. It seems that Susan Taffe Reed, the new director of the College’s Native American Program, might be somewhat less of an American Indian than she claims:

Indian Enough for Dartmouth?
September 17, 2015
By Scott Jaschik

Dartmouth College this month appointed Susan Taffe Reed as director of its Native American Program. In a news release, the college noted Taffe Reed’s academic background (a Cornell University Ph.D. and postdocs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bowdoin College), her research interest (ethnomusicology) and something else: Taffe Reed, Dartmouth noted, is president of Eastern Delaware Nations.

If Dartmouth expected applause for hiring someone with a strong academic background and a personal background that would appeal to its Native American students, whom the program serves, it was mistaken.

Not all Native Americans recognize Eastern Delaware Nations as an Indian tribe. Nor do federal or state governments. So leading the group wasn’t seen as a plus, but as a minus. 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.

The blog cited by Inside Higher Ed — FakeIndians, whose URL is http://ancestorstealing.blogspot.com/ — asserts that Susan Taffe Reed is “a pure home grown total fake!”

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