May 1, 2023, Elizabeth Hoover issues a statement admitting that she used her non-existent Mohawk and Mi’kmaq ancestry to get to where she is today… But it was her “experience and expertise” which helped her become a professor–not the fact that she gained said experience an expertise from impersonating an indigenous person.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Elizabeth Hoover; but this is next chapter in the saga. The last time we we heard about Elizabeth Hoover was in October, 2022. Pretendian Country Today ran an article about a statement Hoover published on her personal site.
The statement wasn’t an apology. It was an announcement. Hoover ended it with: “I will accept with humility and understanding the decisions of people who do not think I belong in certain spaces.”
But she never actually stepped down, or stopped selling her books.
Around May 1, 2023, Elizabeth Hoover published an addendum to her statement. In this addendum, Elizabeth Hoover admitted to being a “white person” who “identified” as Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq.
Hoover stood by her initial claims she was misled by a blind belief in family lore. She admitted to changing the subject, or accusing her interrogators of being envious, jealous, or interfering with her assumed identity as a Mohawk and Mi’kmaq woman, whenever anyone tried to ask her the hard questions about her family history, tribal enrollment status, or her ancestry.
In spite of all this: Elizabeth Hoover is currently a professor at U.C. Berkeley; a position she admitted using fraud to attain:
Elizabeth Hoover denies that her untrue statements and absolute impersonation of an indigenous person did not help her attain her current position. But she doesn’t seem to understand that she totally admitted to benefitting from her own fraud. And she continues to benefit from the apathy of U.C. Berkeley.
Her flimsy reasoning is that she wasn’t hired during U.C. Berkeley’s First Peoples hiring blitz…. So, her employment must be because of all of the experience and expertise she gained… while impersonating an indigenous person.
This is all despite the fact Hoover outlined how she benefitted from identifying as a person with Mohawk and Mi’kmaq ancestry:
- Access to spaces and resources
- Participating in Programs
- Academic fellowships
- Material benefits
Elizabeth Hoover admitted to abusing identity-based resources intended for people of color, and under-represented people–and, securing those resources with a false identity.
Elizabeth Hoover knew how claiming Indigenous ancestry worked. She’s worked with many tribes before. She had that special access as an indigenous person.
What’s really surprising was her access to the benefits and resources which usually require more specific information–like an enrollment number–which Elizabeth Hoover did not actually have.
Elizabeth Hoover actively evaded these question, and, managed to escape uncomfortable conversations at all costs.
This episode totally exposes the flaws in academia, and in the movement; and shows you yet another example of a non-indigenous person gaming the system. These deficiencies are commonly overlooked because “not every tribe is federally recognized”, and unrecognized tribes exist. [They actually do, like Kutzadika’a.]
Members of legitimate unrecognized tribes can still establish their Indian Ancestry.
These things: the opportunities, monetary rewards and other material benefits. Are the product of a long series of fraudulent transactions; which lead to the accrual of the Experience and Expertise Elizabeth Hoover attributes to her hiring as a professor.
It’s amazing how much cognitive dissonance Elizabeth Hoover has regarding the fact that she used a false identity to get to where she is.
Elizabeth Hoover can admit to doing all these things. But she somehow does not make the connection between (a) the fact that she should not be in the position she is today, and (b) the fact she’s in a place she doesn’t belong.
That’s why she needs to resign: because she’s not supposed to be there.
Posted on Instagram:
It’s bad enough @UC Berkeley won’t give back the stolen ancestors, or the huge swath of stolen land they received through land grants. But letting a professor continue to teach after she’s been wearing brown face for her entire life is also not cool.
A lot of people are going to say it’s not her fault that she believed her family rumors/fantasies of Mohawk and Mi’kmaq ancestry. But it is.
If you claim Indigenous/First Nations/Native American/American Indian ancestry, you should be able to prove it by knowing who your nearest full-blooded relative is.
If your family lore is true, this should be relatively easy to do. This is what the “Indian Rolls” are for, the Indian Censuses, and other documentation the Federal Government maintains to track our downfall. [Good luck with that, Uncle Sam.]
Claiming indigenous ancestry when you have none is akin to stolen valor. Our ancestors literally fought and died so we could be here. We are the survivors of countless atrocities, attempted genocide, family massacres, sterilization campaigns, boarding schools, and more.
Claiming indigenous ancestry when you have none is not only offending, but it’s illegal when you sell books, give speeches, interviews, paid appearances, and gain other benefits by claiming a heritage that you have no right to.
Where’s the line?
UC Berkeley needs to show some integrity.
You can tell them, too. Here’s a list of people you can contact:
ESPM Dept. Chair Michael Mascarenhas: (510) 643-3788
Chancellor Carol Christ: (510) 642-7464
Exec. Vice Chancellor Ben Hermalin: (510) 642-1961
Equity & Inclusion Dania Matos: (510) 642-7294
Office of the Chancellor Khira Griscavage: (510) 643-8880