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Berkeley professor who long claimed to be Native American admits to being white

Image source: YouTube video, The World Around - Screenshot

A sociology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, went the route of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), claiming native heritage her "whole life." Like Warren, Elizabeth Hoover has had to confront the fact that she is white and may have exploited her false identity for personal gain.

Hoover — whose research focuses on Native American environmental health and "food sovereignty movements" — is an associate professor at the university's department of environmental science, policy, and management. Campus media reportedly touted Hoover as one of a growing number of Native American scholars at Berkeley when she joined the staff in 2020.

She has long involved herself in native political initiatives, frequently intimating that America was founded on "stolen land" and partaking in critiques of colonialism. Hoover also ran Native American student organizations, powwows at Williams College and at Brown University, and Akwesasne community garden projects.

The Berkeley professor issued an apology Monday, stating, "I am a white person who has incorrectly identified as Native my whole life, based on incomplete information. In uncritically living an identity based on family stories without seeking out a documented connection to these communities, I caused harm."

This harm, said Hoover, has "fractured trust," activated "historical harms," and "interrupted student and faculty life and careers."

"By claiming an identity as a woman of Mohawk and Mi’kmaq descent without confirming it with communities of origin, and by not confirming kinship ties back to politically and culturally affiliated Indigenous peoples, I betrayed and hurt my students, collaborators, and friends. I have negatively impacted people emotionally and culturally," she added.

While it is unclear how many of the awards and grants Hoover has received to date have been contingent on her past claims to Native American ancestry, she confirmed that she may not have received some academic fellowships, opportunities, and material benefits had she not been "perceived as a Native scholar."

Although ready to admit she has benefited from her fraudulent identity, Hoover stressed that her current position at the university was not necessarily designated for a non-white individual and reportedly has no intention of resigning.

Hoover indicated in her apology that she was first challenged in her "Indigenous identity" when she assumed her first assistant professor job.

"At the time, I interpreted inquiries into the validity of my Native identity as petty jealousy or people just looking to interfere in my life," she wrote. "As such, I allowed my ego to drive my response and answered these inquiries with my family’s story."

As restitution, Hoover has vowed to put away her "dance regalia, ribbons skirts, moccasins, and Native jewelry" and funnel proceeds from her talks and book sales to Native American causes.

Over 370 students and professors are demanding that Hoover resign her position at Berkeley, reported the the Press-Telegram.

Hoover's fellow leftists-turned-racial purists are calling her a "Pretendian" — "one of many settlers in academia who claim Indigeneity based on unverified family lore and has marketed this identity for personal gain, acquiring both fellowships and faculty positions."

After discovering that Hoover was white in October, Elizabeth Rule, an assistant professor of critical race theory at American University, lashed out, claiming the Berkeley professor "used her (false) identity to create problems with potentially direct, material consequences during my PhD dissertation defense at Brown."

"In the middle of my defense, with my whole committee present, she raised issue with me for incorrectly identifying her tribal affiliation. Obviously, I profusely apologized and was embarrassed for making what I was led to think was a simple but important mistake," added Rule.

Unlike her fellow academics, Josh Sargent, a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk community in upstate New York where Hoover previously did research, told the Press-Telegram that she's "a good person and always welcome here," adding that the identity squabble taking place is more or less limited to the "bubble of academia."

Hoover's apology echoed Elizabeth Warren's 2019 statement, in which she said, "I know that I have made mistakes; I am sorry for the harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we've had together."

Warren, also an academic, claimed Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage. The New England genealogical society indicated that it has found no proof of Warren’s self-proclaimed lineage.

In addition to possibly benefiting from her assumed heritage during her academic career, Warren also contributed recipes to a Native American cookbook called "Pow Wow Chow" in 1984, signing her entries, Elizabeth Warren -- Cherokee," reported the Washington Post.

When challenged to take a DNA test by former President Donald Trump, Warren did so. The results indicated she might be 1/1024 Native American.

Hoover and Warren are hardly the first outed as having ostensibly adopted another racial identifier for personal gain.

The sisters of Sacheen Littlefeather — the actress who rose to notoriety in 1973 as Marlon Brando's Academy Awards stand-in, denouncing the film industry for its representation of Native Americans — indicated last year that she was actually of Hispanic and European heritage.

TheBlaze previously reported that an influential social justice activist Raquel Evita Saraswati, who claimed to be a Muslim woman of color, was recently revealed by her mother to be "as white as the driven snow."

Rachel Dolezal, former head of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP and former adjunct professor at North Idaho college, long claimed to have both black and Native American heritage.

In 2015, after years of claiming to be black and teaching African-American studies, Dolezal's relatives revealed she was, in fact, white. She subsequently admitted that she was "born white" but "I do consider myself to be black."

Hoover's revelation that she has been white all along comes just weeks after a white male Republican councilman in Indiana realized that he was actually a Native American woman.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty | Elizabeth Hoover at The World Around in Focus: Landyoutu.be

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