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5 Native Scholars Who’d Make Great TV News Pundits

On April 6, Melissa Harris-Perry invited a fistful of political pundits to MSNBC’s New York City studio to discuss the now-dead #CancelColbert Twitter campaign, Colbert’s satiric, albeit offensive, anti-Asian tweet (which launched the hashtag) and, of course, what started it all, the announcement of Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder’s Original Americans Foundation.

Harris-Perry invited to her table Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang, political analyst Zerlina Maxwell, Rutgers University Women and Gender Studies professor Brittany Cooper, and MSNBC anchor Richard Lui.

Not a single Native American was invited to the discussion.

At the beginning of the segment, Harris-Perry argued it was the Native American voice that was silenced amid the #CancelColbert hullabaloo.

“While Colbert received the bulk of the attention, the movement that was lost in the mix were the Native Americans who have organized against Snyder’s team mascot,” Harris-Perry said.

And while Harris-Perry’s comments were correct, one must wonder, then, if she were, indeed, conscientious to the fact that the Native American voice has been silenced, why did she fail to invite a Native American to the discussion on April 6?

Native Americans are lawyers, doctors, scholars, and all manner of professionals. And, as result of the Web as well as the proliferation of social media, our most learned Native leaders are only a click away.

Eo ipso, here are five Native American scholars who would make great TV news pundits. Each would provide a keen, learned acumen on sundry indigenous North American issues and topics, including racism:

1. Professor Audra Simpson

Courtesy Audra Simpson

Courtesy Audra Simpson

Audra Simpson, Kahnawake Mohawk, is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her book, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States, is in press with Duke University Press. She is the editor of the Syracuse University’s reprint of Lewis Henry Morgan’s anthropological classic, League of the Haudenosaunee, and co-editor of the 10 chapter collection Theorizing Native Studies. She has articles in Cultural Anthropology, American Quarterly, Junctures, Law and Contemporary Problems and Wicazo Sa Review. Simpson also contributed to the edited volume Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and was the volume editor of Recherches amerindiennes au quebec on “new directions in Iroquois studies.” She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Fulbright, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Dartmouth College, the American Anthropological Association, Cornell University and the School for Advanced Research. In 2010, Simpson won Columbia University’s School for General Studies Excellence in Teaching Award.

2. Professor Ned Blackhawk

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Author and scholar Ned Blackhawk is a citizen of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada and a professor of history and American studies at Yale University. Blackhawk received his bachelor of arts in honors history from McGill University in 1992, a master’s in history from UCLA in 1994, and then in 1999, he earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington. The second in his family to attend college—his father is also a college graduate—Blackhawk was a recipient of a Diverse magazine Under 40 Emerging Scholars award in 2009 and is a member of the American Society for Ethnohistory as well as the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. In 2011, Blackhawk was awarded a Most Influential Books in Native American and Indigenous Studies of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century Prize by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association for Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West.

3. Advisor/Intructor Norma Marshall

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Norma Marshall, of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, is a student advisor and instructor of Native American Studies at the College of the Muscogee Nation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. In 1986, Marshall received her baccalaureate in education with an emphasis in English and physical education from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. A year later, she went on to receive a master of science in counseling and student personnel, with an emphasis in secondary education, from Oklahoma State University. The daughter of a Muscogee who attended boarding schools, Marshall is also a bilingual educator of the Muscogee language.

4. Professor Theodore Van Alst

Courtesy Theodore Van Alst

Courtesy Theodore Van Alst

Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr., Lakota, is Assistant Dean of Yale College and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. He is a former Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. His most recent work includes the chapters “Navajo Joe,” and “The Savage Innocents,” in Seeing Red—Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film. He is also the author of Sherman Shoots Alexie, in Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art. Both collections are available from Michigan State University Press. His current book length project is Spaghetti and Sauerkraut with a Side of Frybread, and he is also at work on a selected volume of the works of Stephen Graham Jones. (Bio courtesy Yale.edu.)

5. Professor Nathan Bruce Duthu

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Since 2009 Nathan Bruce Duthu, an enrolled citizen of the United Houma Nation of Louisiana, has been the Samson Occom Professor of Native American studies and the chair of the Native American Studies program at Dartmouth College. The first in his family to attend college, Duthu received his juris doctorate in 1983 from Loyola University School of Law and his bachelor of arts in religion and Native American studies in 1980 from Dartmouth College. In 2000, Duthu was a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School where he taught comparative law of Indigenous Peoples. In 2003, Duthu was again a visiting professor, but this time in Trento, Italy, at the University of Trento where he offered a course titled Comparative Constitutional Law of Minority Groups and Indigenous Peoples. Duthu, a board member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, has spent the past 25 years teaching and lecturing all over the world including Russia, China, France, New Zealand and Australia. Duthu is also the author of American Indians and the Law, and, most recently, Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism.

 

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5 Native Scholars Who'd Make Great TV News Pundits

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