Statement from Klee Benally (Diné/Russian-Polish)

‪#‎Istandwithandreasmith‬ ‪#‎gotyourback‬

Off social media most of the day and now back to a witch hunt against fierce feminist author and friend, Andy Smith. While I’m not privy to all that’s been published, so far I’ve read tequilasovereign’s (aka Joanne Barker) tumblr and a couple others. tequilasovereign’s statements eerily evoke cointel-pro badjacketing rather than Indigenous feminism. Reading it I couldn’t help ask myself, what interests are served via this pillory?

When Ward Churchill’s identity was called into question it clearly served a conservative agenda. My position then was that his identity is between him and the creator and an issue for his family and Nation to address internally through their own cultural process. After all, the primary issues regard accountability, colonialism, and white supremacy. I still maintain that his political contributions shouldn’t be uncritically thrown out when challenged with the colonial institution of “blood-quantum.”

Accountability on Indigenous terms figures quite different than putting someone on a social media blast. Certainly ethnic fraud should be critically addressed regarding Indigenous (mis)representation but is this the proper way and venue to address matters that have such serious implications? Perhaps we should also consider the standard set by Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s shit politics regarding anti-black dis-enrollments? It’s further concerning how the logic of this applies to non-Federally recognized Indigenous Peoples too, what are the standards for Indigenous academic purity there?

This isn’t to excuse redface, but to recognize that quantum/enrollment issues are more complex than the Dolezal matter (her own family put her on blast, which is quite different than what’s playing out with Andrea Smith), just check the Pechanga or Pala issues for reference:…/casino-tribe-outcasts-cla…/

I caution folks to seriously consider the implications of tearing down such a fierce force in Indigenous feminism at such a critical time in struggle against heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism.

It’s inevitable that these shitshows have collateral damage and when the air clears we know who has our backs in the struggle against colonial violence. I’ll stand fiercely with all those deeply committed to anti-colonial struggle for liberation of Mother Earth and all her beings. Andy, I got your back.

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