September 02, 2007
Alexie on Churchill
Sherman Alexie Speaks Out on Nasdijj
"[W]henever I try to expose these hoaxsters and exploiters, I'm the one who is accused of racism and imperialism and essentialism." He adds that the Native artistic community has long been aware of frauds like Nasdijj, "but white folks don't pay us much attention. A friend of mine emailed me to say that the whole thing made her sad because if an Indian of my success and influence can be ignored and/or dismissed by publishers then what does that say for less powerful Indians?" For that matter, he wonders, "Do you think the publishers might listen to me now?" It's a legitimate question, and one without an obvious answer. After all, as Alexie points out, Ward Churchill remains a "leftist academic hero" despite the debunking of claims to Cherokee heritage because he's "exactly the kind of Indian his white leftist academic compatriots want him to be [...] an Uncle Tomahawk with a vocabulary."