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ERIC Number: EJ841986
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
An Open Epistle to Dr. Traditional Cherokee of the Nonexistent Bear Clan
Redsteer, Robert W.
American Indian Quarterly, v27 n1-2 p376-380 Win-Spr 2003
Having grown up in the Native American Church culture in the time when Navajo people were persecuted for practicing this religion, the author states that a great price has been paid to date that allows him to practice his religious freedom and his way of life. Because non native people are selfishly imitating sacred Indigenous ceremonies, they put all native people at risk, and disrespect what the old people have fought for--that sacred way of life given by the Holy People at the beginning of time. In this open letter, the author presents his views to Dr. Traditional Cherokee of the Nonexistent Bear Clan (TCNBC), who teaches at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in the College of Ecosystem Science and Management, and racial identity. Saying that Dr. TCNBC claims he is Cherokee but cannot produce the necessary documentation to prove his heritage, Redsteer strongly criticizes what he refers to as a "boy scouts-like environment" that enveloped Dr. Traditional Cherokee of the Nonexistent Bear Clan's class lectures and activities, and the "Hollywood -like" settings that became the norm. He opines that Dr. TCNBC has perpetuated dangerous ideas reinforced by his very actions that make a mockery of the sufferings of Indigenous peoples, thus endangering their right to practice their religion. The Association of American Indian and Alaska Native Professors takes a stand on ethnic fraud and offers recommendations to guarantee the truth of American Indian/Alaska Native identification in universities and colleges here in the United States. Their concern arose out of racial exploitation of American Indians and Alaska Natives and the need to develop culturally diverse campus communities. Redsteer concludes by presenting recommendations from this organization to remedy situations like Dr. TCNBC. The recommendations are: (1) set up a case-by- case review process if one cannot meet this criterion; (2) include Indigenous faculty in the selection process; (3) require a documented statement that demonstrates past and future commitment to Native concerns; (4) require administrators to attend workshops on tribal sovereignty; (5) meet with local tribal officials; and (6) advertise vacancies at all levels in tribal publications. The academic stage cannot hide behind that flimsy veiled statement that if Dr. TCNBC says he is Cherokee, then he is. Redsteer contends that by not adhering to the The Association of American Indian and Alaska Native Professors guidelines, the university is doing the Native communities a great disservice.
University of Nebraska Press. 1111 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0630. Tel: 800-755-1105; Fax: 800-526-2617; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona