Education | Opinion

Andre Cramblit: Dartmouth makes wrong call for Native students

Susan Taffe Reed, far left, sang in the chorus for the opera The Purchase of Manhattan in 2014. Photo by Jesse Bruchac / Facebook

André Cramblit, a member of the Karuk Tribe, believes his alma mater made the wrong choice by hiring Susan Taffe Reed as director of the Native American Program at Dartmouth College:
By now most of you should be familiar with the current unrest between the Native community and the administration of Dartmouth College surrounding the hire of Susan Taffe Reed as the director of their nationally renowned Native American Program. If perhaps you have missed the resulting kerfuffle you can get up to speed by perusing recent articles and blog entries at Taffe Reed Another Dolezal?, Fake Indians, The Daily Beast, Indian Enough For Dartmouth, and DartBlog

The NAP Director is the link between the student group Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD) and the institution. It seems that Dartmouth was looking for someone with strong academic credentials to serve as leader of what is widely considered to be one of the best and most comprehensive Native American Programs in the country. All three of the final candidates had doctorates. I only have my BA from Dartmouth (Sociology modified with Education) and my teaching credential from Humboldt State University in California.

Oh yeah, I also have nearly 30 years of working directly in American Indian education programs to make the academic world a bit easier to navigate for Native students from kindergarten through graduate school. I am not saying that I am the most qualified candidate; clearly I am not after reading their curriculum vitaes on DartBlog. What I am saying is that I think Dartmouth is barking up the wrong tree if they relate strong academic credentials with the ability to work with students. Students need someone they can trust and identify with.

Get the Story:
André Cramblit: My Two Beads' Worth: Dartmouth Should Know Better (Indian Country Today 9/28)

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Brandon Ecoffey: Dartmouth opens arms to Native box checkers (9/23)
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