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“Fraud in American Indian Communities.” UCLA American Indian Culture and Research Journal special issue, volume 43, number 4, 2019

Illustration: Julie Buffalohead, Seems You have to Play Indian to be Indian, 2010, Mixed media on Paper. Courtesy of the artist. To purchase the journal: American Indian Culture and Research Journal

The commercial, ethical, political, and social impacts of purposeful deception in academic and creative arts endeavors have resulted in multiple harms to Native communities. While discussions about “faux Indians” are numerous, writing on this topic is rare. This volume features academics and practitioners debating the phenomenon of fraud from a variety of disciplines, including dance, children’s literature, fine arts, art history, anthropology, visual culture studies, poetry, museum studies, and American Indian activism. These authors, Native and non-Native, are committed to creating a space for discussion of misrepresentation in American Indian communities, with an emphasis on the adoption of Native identities in the arts.


Volume 43 • Number 4 • 2019

Special Issue: Fraud in Native American Communities
Essays in Honor of Suzan Shown Harjo

Nancy Marie Mithlo, Guest Editor


Heid E. Erdrich


At the Center of the Controversy: Confronting Ethnic Fraud in the Arts
Ashley Holland

Retrospective: Decentering Durham

Decentering Durham
Nancy Marie Mithlo

Not Jimmie Durham’s Cherokee
Roy Boney Jr.

Walk-Through at the Hammer
James Luna

A Chapter Closed?
America Meredith

What Shall We Do with the Bodies? Reconsidering the Archive in the Aftermath of Fraud
Mario A. Caro

Living in a (Schrödinger’s) Box: Jimmie Durham’s Use of Strategic Ambiguity
Suzanne Newman Fricke

The Artist Knows Best: The De-Professionalism of a Profession
Nancy Marie Mithlo

Hustling and Hoaxing: Institutions, Modern Styles, and Yeffe Kimball’s “Native” Art
Sarah Anne Stolte

Aspirational Descent and the Creation of Family Lore: Race Shifting in the Northeast
Darryl Leroux


Closing the Gap: Ethics and the Law in the Exhibition of Contemporary
Native Art
Tahnee M. Ahtoneharjo-Growingthunder

Claims to Native Identity in Children’s Literature
Debbie Reese

Playing Indian, between Idealization and Vilification: Seems You have to
Play Indian to be Indian
Rosy Simas and Sam Aros Mitchell


Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai‘i. Edited by Hōkūlani K. Aikau and
Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez.
Natchee Blu Barnd

Divided Peoples: Policy, Activism, and Indigenous Identities on the U.S.-
Mexico Border. By Christina Leza.
Elvia Rodriguez

Drawing Fire: A Pawnee, Artist, and Thunderbird in World War II. By
Brummett Echohawk with Mark R. Ellenbarger.
William C. Meadows

In Defense of Wyam: Native–White Alliances and the Struggle for Celilo
Village. By Katrine Barber.
Jeffrey Ostler

Indians on the Move: Native American Mobility and Urbanization in the
Twentieth Century. By Douglas K. Miller.
Orit Tamir

Kayanerenkó:wa: The Great Law of Peace. By Kayanesenh Paul Williams.
Jon Parmenter

Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria Jr. and the Birth of the Red
Power Movement. By David Martinez.
April M. Bond

Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice. By Ada
Deer with Theda Perdue.
Cathy Carballeira

Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and
Tribal Leaders. By J. Kēhaulani Kauanui.
Savannah J. Waters

This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and
the Troubled History of Thanksgiving.