Kevin Maillard on the Elizabeth Warren Cherokee Controversy

Here (h/t to R.M.).

An excerpt:

For the Cherokee Nation, Warren is “Indian enough;” she has the same blood quantum as Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker. For non-Natives, this may be surprising. They expect to see “high cheekbones,” as Warren described her grandfather as having, or tan skin. They want to know of pow wows, dusty reservations, sweat lodges, peyote and cheap cigarettes. When outsiders look at these ostensibly white people as members of Native America, they don’t see minorities. As a result, Warren feels she must satisfy these new birthers and justify her existence.

Looked at from the inside, however, the Warren controversy is all new. When the Brown campaign accused Elizabeth Warren of touting herself as American Indian to advance her career, this was news to Native law professors. We have a good eye for welcoming faculty to the community and identifying promising scholars. We know where people teach, what they have published and we honor them when they die. Harvard Law School named its first Native American tenured professor? Really? In our small indigenous faculty town, we would have heard about it already.

NYTs “Room for Debate” — Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice (Cherokee Freedmen Expulsion)

The New York Times’ “Room for Debate” series has published a series of articles on the Cherokee Freedmen controversy.


Friends of Turtle Talk Participate in NYTs Debate on the Future of Law School

Here for a full roster of debaters. Here for Kevin Noble Maillard, and here for Rose Cuison Villazor.

And also here:


Kevin Maillard on Black Seminoles and History

Kevin Noble Maillard (Syracuse) has posted “Redwashing History: Tribal Anachronisms in the Seminole Nation Cases” on SSRN. It is forthcoming from the Freedom Center Journal. Here is the abstract:

The status of people of African descent in indigenous nations generates important questions about what it means to be Indian. A fair understanding of the Freedmen controversy necessitates an explanation of the historical sites of contention that affect the Freedmen’s inclusion in the Nation. This essay critically examines the plasticity of memory – how both parties remember and forget the past in order to justify the present. It directly addresses the radically disparate interpretations of government documents by Indians and blacks, and how these readings of federal texts are constitutive of Seminole membership. The rigid adhesion to Indian blood by tribal governments marks a curious manifestation of sovereignty and self-determination. This dogged claim to autonomy and authenticity exemplifies a misapplied and dangerous discrimination hiding behind the mask of political ideology.