UH-OH: An associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley recently admitted that, for years, she has falsely claimed indigenous heritage. Her research focuses on Native American food systems and food sovereignty (Indianz.com, Oct. 21st).
Now, the entire house of cards she constructed over the course of her career is toppling.
Three days ago, the supposedly indigenous foods that the professor frequently displayed at academic conferences came forward to announce that they are not what they appear to be. The following is a partial list of the impostors, with sham identities in quotes and true identities in parentheses:
— “Sweet potatoes” → (Yams)
— “Wild rice” → (Basmati)
— “Squash”→ (Gourds)
— “Corn” → (Peas)
— “Beans” → (Varnished Spam nuggets)
— “Peanuts” → (Beans)
— “Avocados” → (Genetically modified raisins)
— “Pumpkins” → (Watermelons)
When asked by a reporter why they assumed false food identities for so many years, the group’s lawyer responded, “hell, the professor always had a Bowie knife and ball-peen hammer hidden in a tool belt under her blazer at public events, and she wasn’t afraid to use them. What would you have done under those circumstances if you were an unarmed yam?”