A professor at UC Berkeley has publicly apologized after falsely claiming she was Native American her entire life when, in fact, she is white.

Elizabeth Hoover is an associate professor in the environmental science and policy management department at UC Berkeley. Her whole life she has identified as a member of the Mohawk and Mi’kmaq tribes, which she was told as a child growing up in upstate New York.

Elizabeth Hoover

She claimed that her family taught her that she was a descendant of great-grandmothers who were Mohawk and Mi’kmaq and was taken to powwows as a child to connect with her heritage.

Hoover has published books and articles about Native American food sovereignty and other issues. She has used this identity to acquire prestigious jobs, grants and fellowships, and to become a leading voice in the food sovereignty movement for Native cultures.

Trending: JUST BREAKING: As House Oversight Chair Prepares To File Contempt Charges Against Director Wray, FBI Makes Astonishing Statement [VIDEO]

In a lengthy statement posted to her personal page on Monday, Hoover revealed a shocking truth: she is not of Native American descent.

“I am a white person who has incorrectly identified as Native my whole life, based on incomplete information,” Hoover wrote. “In uncritically living an identity based on family stories without seeking out a documented connection to these communities, I caused harm. I hurt Native people who have been my friends, colleagues, students, and family, both directly through fractured rust and through activating historical harms.”

Use promo code FedUp at checkout and save up to 80%. (100 Percent Fed Up benefits when you use this promo code.)

“Growing up I did not question who I was told I was, or how I identified,” continued Hoover. “But as an adult, as an academic, I should have done my due diligence to confirm that my ancestors were who I was told they were.”

Hoover apologized for taking advantage of opportunities that were meant for students of color and/or Native Americans. She also acknowledged the “harm” she caused by “entering ceremonial and social spaces reserved for Native people.”

Some people in the Native American community, however, want Hoover to face additional consequences for her actions and are calling for her resignation from UC Berkeley.

Mohawk scholar Audra Simpson, who works as a professor at Columbia University, said that Hoover “lacks the requisite ethical and academic integrity to be a professor or a social scientist.”

“This is a matter of misconduct with wide-reaching effects,” Simpson told the Press-Telegram. “Whether intentional or not, she has committed a form of fraud [and] she has benefitted from doing so.”

Join The Conversation. Leave a Comment.

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.