Three professors at the University of Kansas (UK) are accused of being “pretendians” like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) by falsely identifying as Native American, The Kansas City Star reports.
The UK professors — historian Kent Blansett, biologist Raymond Pierotti, and geographer Jay Johnson — are allegedly white and have built their careers on fake identities, according to Native grassroots groups and researchers.
“I regard pretendianism as a hate crime. It’s a hate crime because it encourages hatred of Native people and all so that a white person can perform our identity onstage, do their little twirl and get their money,” independent journalist Jacqueline Keeler, who is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, told the Star. “And it’s absolutely a form of colonialism. The ultimate form of colonialism. The coup de grâce.”
The Tribal Alliance Against Frauds, a grassroots whistleblower group that exposes ethnic frauds pretending to be American Indian people or tribes when they are not, condemned the professors for their claims.
“Those KU professors … are indeed ethnic frauds pretending to be American Indians,” director and co-founder Lianna Costantino told The College Fix. “They are not. Their genealogy is up on our website.”
A university spokesperson said the identities of their faculty are not an institutional issue.
Blansett in UK’s department of history teaches U.S. History and Indigenous Studies. He is accused of falsely claiming “Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi” ancestry. This is a portion of his current biography on UK’s website:
Kent Blansett is a Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi descendant from the Blanket, Panther, and Smith families. He is the Langston Hughes Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies and History at the University of Kansas. Professor Blansett also serves as the founder and executive director for the American Indian Digital History Project.
Pierotti, an associate professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology who goes by “Ray,” is accused of falsely claiming “Comanche” ancestry, but he calls said the claims are “insulting and incorrect.”
“I am proud of the record I have accomplished, none of which depends on any of the accusations made,” Pierotti told the College Fix. “The FakeIndians blog’s sources seem to assume that any scholar who works with Indigenous people has been hired solely on the basis of ‘Indian identity.'”
Johnson, a dean’s professor in the department of geography and atmospheric science and director of C-FIRST, is accused of falsely claiming “Cherokee and Delaware” ancestry. This is a portion of his biography on UK’s website:
My current research interests concern the broad area of Indigenous peoples’ cultural survival with specific regard to the areas of resource management, political activism at the national and international levels and the philosophies and politics of place which underpin the drive for cultural survival. Much of my work is comparative in nature and has focused predominately on New Zealand, the Pacific and North America.
The Star went into more detail about each professor’s claims. Click here to read more.