Chicken-Fried News: Not-so Native American studies? 

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  • Fried chicken drumstick in isolated white background

The University of Oklahoma is standing behind a recent hire in its Native American Studies department after anonymous blog posts claimed the assistant professor misrepresented her heritage.

Posts on Indianz.com and ancestorstealing.blogspot.com (aka FakeIndians blog) take issue with Gina Stuart-Richard listing Mississippi Choctaw heritage in her University of Arizona thesis, even though they believe she is not a registered member in any of three federally recognized Choctaw tribes.

Stuart-Richard is slated to begin teaching at OU this month, and she told the OU Daily student newspaper that the bloggers are spreading “false information.” Stuart-Richard told the Daily she never presented herself as a Choctaw member but she is connected through her ancestry, which is noted on her resume.

FakeIndians blog posts trace Stuart’s ancestors back eight generations and claim no Choctaw heritage connection was found.

“They’re all white,” it says.

OU vice president of public affairs Rowdy Gilbert told The Norman Transcript, “Tribal affiliation is not and has never been a requirement for a faculty position in the Department of Native American Studies. … Matters relating to tribal identity are particular to individual scholars and their relationships to the communities with whom they work.”

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