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#1 Mar-06-2008 01:56:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/02/26/arts/jones190.jpg

Riverhead Books is recalling all copies of “Love and Consequences," a memoir about a half-Native girl who grew up amid gangs and violence in Los Angeles, after its author was revealed to be a fraud.

Author Margaret B. Jones is really Margaret Seltzer, a 33-year-old white woman who was raised by her biological family in an affluent area of the city. She admitted to The New York Times that she fabricated her claims of being a Native foster child in an African-American family.

Jones' story unraveled after the Times published a glowing profile and positive review of the book, which was due on shelves today. Jones' biological sister recognized her photo and contacted the Riverhead Books to tell them the truth.

Get the Story:
Author Admits Acclaimed Memoir Is Fantasy (The New York Times 3/4)
Username: indianzcom, Password: indianzcom
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/books … =permalink

Eugene author’s memoir called a fabrication (The Eugene Register-Guard 3/4)
http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/si … &fid=7

Memoir a fake, author says (The Los Angeles Times 3/4)
Username: indianz@indianz.com, Password: indianzcom
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me … 6910.story

Fake memoir of gangbanging, poverty, drug-dealing recalled (CP 3/3)
http://www.brandonsun.com/story.php?story_id=94267


New York Times Profile/Review:
A Refugee From Gangland (The New York Times 2/28)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/garde … =permalink

However Mean the Streets, Have an Exit Strategy (The New York Times 2/26)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/26/books … =permalink

http://www.indianz.com/News/2008/007429.asp

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#2 Mar-06-2008 08:39:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

I can think of a few other publishers who should follow this example!   neutral

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#3 Mar-06-2008 03:27:pm

lenape
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Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

...Prichard, "woundering Wolf", Cashman, "Treebeard", just a start....hmm

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#4 Mar-06-2008 03:40:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

lenape wrote:

...Prichard, "woundering Wolf", Cashman, "Treebeard", just a start....hmm

Good start.  You been peeking at my list?   smile

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#5 Mar-06-2008 03:51:pm

lenape
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Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

big_smile

I read all your reviews!!! The siscal and ebert of books... Am surprized Sauts never kicked out a book or 20, saw the film he did with the help of Anadarko...
 
almost forgot Messinger(sp?) roll

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#6 Mar-06-2008 07:35:pm

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

lenape wrote:

...Prichard, "woundering Wolf", Cashman, "Treebeard", just a start....hmm

Forrest Carter, Carla Messinger tongue


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
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#7 Mar-06-2008 10:50:pm

bls926
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Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Who is "woundering Wolf"?

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#8 Mar-06-2008 11:05:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

bls926 wrote:

Who is "woundering Wolf"?

Robert Davis, a.k.a. "Messochwen Teme," a grammatically incorrect rendering of 'wandering wolf.'

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#9 Mar-06-2008 11:26:pm

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Treebeard's grammatically incorrect Lenape name means "Penis on a Stick" according to Herb Kraft's book. tongue


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
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This might cause you to experience reason

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#10 Mar-06-2008 11:35:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

NanticokePiney wrote:

Treebeard's grammatically incorrect Lenape name means "Penis on a Stick" according to Herb Kraft's book. tongue

Actually, he asked a Lenape speaker in Oklahoma, who told him it sounded like "testicles on a stick"--not to put too fine a point on it.   smile

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#11 Mar-06-2008 11:48:pm

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

sschkaak wrote:

NanticokePiney wrote:

Treebeard's grammatically incorrect Lenape name means "Penis on a Stick" according to Herb Kraft's book. tongue

Actually, he asked a Lenape speaker in Oklahoma, who told him it sounded like "testicles on a stick"--not to put too fine a point on it.   smile

That's right. Regardless though, Treebeard is still a idiot who should stick with J.R.R.Tolkien and leave the Lenape alone.


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

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#12 Mar-07-2008 12:25:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Thanks, sschkaak. Some of those guys I'd heard of, but others I hadn't.

What about Nasdijj aka Timothy Barrus? He got away with three novels: "The Blood Runs Like a River through My Dreams," "The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping" and "Geronimo's Bones." I was just reading an interesting article about him. When Sherman Alexie was asked to review the first novel, he knew there was something definitely wrong. He accused Nasdijj of manufacturing his identity and plagiarism to Anton Mueller, Nasdijj's editor. He asked Mueller not to release the book. Alexie's opinion fell on deaf ears. He even contacted Houghton Mifflin, the publisher. Seems no one wanted to listen to a real Indian. Mifflin did refuse to publish Nasdijj's second novel; it still got published, just by another publisher. I agree with sschkaak, more publishers should be as conscientious as Riverhead Books.

Link to Navahoax
http://journalism.nyu.edu/portfolio/bes … 01745.html

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#13 Mar-07-2008 12:43:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

NanticokePiney wrote:

sschkaak wrote:

NanticokePiney wrote:

Treebeard's grammatically incorrect Lenape name means "Penis on a Stick" according to Herb Kraft's book. tongue

Actually, he asked a Lenape speaker in Oklahoma, who told him it sounded like "testicles on a stick"--not to put too fine a point on it.   smile

That's right. Regardless though, Treebeard is still a idiot who should stick with J.R.R.Tolkien and leave the Lenape alone.

LOL. That's right, Treebeard is a character in Lord of the Rings.

So, what is the other Treebeard's grammatically incorrect Lenape name?

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#14 Mar-07-2008 01:41:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4344
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

"Tree Beard" or "Treebeard" (I've seen it spelled both ways) is, supposedly, "Hitakonanu'laxk," in Delaware, according to him.  It looks, to me, as though "someone" tried to combine the words for 'tree' ("hittuk"), 'cheek' ("wonanno"), and 'hair' ("milaxk"), to form this name.  His name is David Chamberlain.

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#15 Mar-07-2008 01:14:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Thanks, sschkaak.

This fictional-biography phenomenon isn't just about pretendians. What about James Frey and "A Million Little Pieces"? He kept his own name and nationality, but fabricated almost his entire life. He first tried to sell his work as fiction and was turned down by 17 publishers. Once he changed it to non-fiction, presumably taking out the fictitious parts, the novel was published by Doubleday. His second novel, "My Friend Leonard", is another piece of fictional-biography. It was published by Riverhead Books and carries the disclaimer "Some names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Some sequences and details of events have been changed."; something sorely lacking in the first novel.


A Million Little Lies
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/01 … frey1.html

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#16 Mar-07-2008 01:38:pm

sschkaak
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

And, lest we forget:  Carlos Castaneda!   sad

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#17 Mar-07-2008 01:48:pm

lenape
Member
Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

sschkaak wrote:

And, lest we forget:  Carlos Castaneda!   sad

wish we could:D, ah yes and the "Bear Tribe" CULT handbooks....roll

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#18 Mar-07-2008 02:01:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Misha Defonseca, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years"

Defonseca, a Belgian writer now living in Massachusetts, admitted through her lawyers this week that her best-selling book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was an elaborate fantasy she kept repeating, even as the book was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.

"This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving," Defonseca said in a statement given by her lawyers to The Associated Press.

Writer Admits Holocaust Book Is Not True
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gm2q … AD8V488002


I know the Holocaust was a horrible time, but does it give anyone the right to fabricate their life? Write a fiction and sell it as truth?

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#19 Mar-07-2008 02:18:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Jayson Blair, employed by the New York Times for four years. Do you think he ever filed a truthful story? Makes a person wonder. He even wrote a book about his misadventures, “Burning Down My Masters’ House”.

Where does it stop? I like reading fiction as much as anyone, but if I pick up a newspaper or a biography, I want it to be the truth.

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#20 Mar-07-2008 02:23:pm

tree hugger
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Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11096

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Stickied. Excellent information here.

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#21 Mar-10-2008 03:54:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Going Native
Why do writers pretend to be Indians?

By David Treuer
Posted Friday, March 7, 2008, at 6:43 PM ET

In 1930, shortly after the studio release of his movie The Silent Enemy, Buffalo Child Long Lance's Indian identity began to crumble. He was a celebrity by that time, having boxed Dempsey and dated movie stars, but he was not, it turned out, a full-blooded Blackfeet Indian who had been raised on the plains, as he had claimed. He had not hunted buffalo from horseback as the prairie winds blew through his hair. And his name was not actually Buffalo Child Long Lance. His real name was Sylvester Long. He was from Winston-Salem, N.C. He was African-American. And his father was not a chief but, rather, a janitor.

Margaret B. Jones, the author of Love and Consequences, is hardly the first person to have invented an Indian self and a past. Her memoir tells of her upbringing as a half-white, half-Indian foster child by a black family in South Central L.A. In fact, Jones' real name is Margaret Seltzer, she did not grow up in South Central, she's never been a foster child, and she's no more a Native American than Sylvester Long was.

By inventing a Native American heritage, Seltzer joins a long and distinguished list of fake Indians. In addition to Buffalo Child Long Lance, her tribe consists of Nasdijj (who fabricated a Native identity and passed it off in not one but three books: Geronimo's Bones, The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping, and The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams), Forrest Carter (whose fake Cherokee boyhood is described in The Education of Little Tree), and Grey Owl (the persona of the Englishman Archibald Belaney, who wrote and toured on the strength of his Indian-inspired conservationism between the World Wars).

It's easy enough to imagine what motivates literary fakers—their inventions are a way to win attention and acclaim for work that would otherwise be dismissed as pedestrian. But why pretend to be an Indian? What is so appealing about stripping off one's own identity and donning a reddish one?

It's easy to get away with it, is one reason. Indians can, and do, look like anyone. And anyone can look like an Indian. After 500 years of intermarriage, Native American racial identities (as opposed to cultural identities) comprise a wide range. Among my three siblings, one of us looks like Opie Taylor, one like Tonto, and one is a dead ringer for the Karate Kid. (I'm Opie. Opie is my spirit guide.) Then there's my sister, who looks like herself. It's pretty hard to claim you're African-American or Chinese if you don't look black or Asian.

But looks are only part of it. Native Americans make up one half of 1 percent of the U.S. population. Most Americans will go their whole lives without meeting one of us. The result: What non-Indians know about Indians does not come from the kinds of daily interactions that typically shape their understandings of people different from them. We Native Americans are dwarfed by the ideas that abound about us, and this imbalance lends itself to invention. After all, who are you to say someone is or is not a thing they say they are if you've never had any experience of that thing?

But more important—more important than how we look or how invisible we are—the answer to why people fake being Indian is linked to how they fake it. Hemingway once wrote what he called the shortest story ever written: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." But I can think of one shorter by five words: "Indian." Wrapped up in that one word is a host of associations, images, and ideas, but primary among them is tragedy. It is no accident that all the fake books written by fake Indians (and most of the "real" books written by "real" Indians) are rife with tragedy.

Nabokov wrote that there are three kinds of stories that are utterly taboo as far as American publishers are concerned. In addition to the subject of Lolita, "the other two are: a Negro-White marriage which is a complete glorious success resulting in lots of children and grandchildren; and the total atheist who lives a happy and useful life, and dies in his sleep at the age of 106." I would add to that list one more: relatively happy Indians going about living relatively happy lives. Sometimes people ask what I am and I say, "Native American." And they reply: "I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

Tragedy is a shortcut that sells, and the particular tragedy of being an Indian has an amazing ability to make readers lose their capacities to discern good writing from bad, interesting ideas from vapid ones. In Little Tree, for instance, the most commonplace things are elevated to the level of poetry by virtue of their perceived degree of Indian-ness: "They gave themselves to nature," he writes, "not trying to subdue it, or pervert it, but to live with it. And so they loved the thought, and loving it grew to be it, so that they could not think as the white man." Nasdijj and Carter truck in homilies, Jones in homies—as in, "I hated that they had taken my big homie and even more that they had taken my sense of security"—but the result is the same: awful, impossible writing. Once you remove the author's Indian identity, the bad writing reveals itself.

Sadly, until we break the habit of reading Indian lives as necessarily "Indian tragedies"—and see the shallow types and terrible prose and awkward, tragic poses for what they are—there will be more Indian fakes. The Education of Little Tree is still published by the University of New Mexico Press, the book's author still listed as Forrest Carter. Riverhead, at least, has pulled all the copies of Jones' fake. But they, and others, could do more. They could try to make sure this doesn't happen again.

It wouldn't be that difficult. If a publisher has an author who claims to be Native American, they could ask for documentation. And let this be a word of warning to publishers, agents, and editors: If the author does not say what tribe he or she is from or fails to claim an Indian community as home (either as a place of descent or youth or family), then something is wrong.

Seltzer did not commit a victimless crime. There are victims, and they are not Faye Bender, Seltzer's agent; or Sara McGrath, her editor at Riverhead; or Michiko Kakutani, who reviewed the book for the New York Times. They were taken advantage of, to be sure. But Bender will go on representing writers. McGrath will continue to find and publish wonderful books. Kakutani will continue to be a great reviewer. The real victims are Indian citizens and writers. People who have for so long been denied the opportunity to express themselves. There are many Indian writers with stories to tell that are ignored because they do not fit the preconceived notion of tragedy and cheap melodrama that make books like Love and Consequences so appealing. These writers, if they are published at all, are usually not profiled in the New York Times. As for Indian citizens, the more than 2 million of us living in the U.S. who are not fakes—our lives (especially if they are happy lives) will continue to go on unseen. This is the greater tragedy, I think, than the false ones outlined in Jones' false memoir.


David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota (and can prove it). His most recent book, The Translation of Dr Apelles (a totally untrue novel), was released this month by Vintage Books.

http://www.slate.com/id/2185856

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#22 Mar-15-2008 03:20:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Fake Memoirist Channels Sherman Alexie
Margaret Seltzer's untruths and consequences

By Matthew Fleischer
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 6:44 pm

PERHAPS THE MOST FASCINATING and instructive moment in Margaret Seltzer’s now discredited memoir Love and Consequences comes early in the book, when a young Margaret B. Jones storms into her South Central foster home to pose a query to her African-American caretaker “Big Mom.”

“What if I don’t want to be white?” Jones asks, offended that, despite her half Native American heritage, her white skin leaves her branded a paleface.

“Well,” Big Mom replies, “that’s white folk for ya. They thinking everyone wanna be white, so they finna consider you white anyway, like it or not.”

Of course we now know that “Jones” is white, and this exchange provides an intriguing look into Seltzer’s rhetorical strategy for fooling her editors. If questioning the ethnic heritage of someone white in appearance who claims to be Indian is something only racist white people do, woe be to any editor who suggests an ethnic-background check.

The exchange between “Jones” and Big Mom is also interesting in other ways. In the novel, Big Mom herself claims to be part Native, a “redbone,” as she calls it — a mix of black and Native.

Ironically, Big Mom’s Indian heritage is more genuine than Seltzer’s. Big Mom appears to be substantially lifted from Native writer Sherman Alexie’s character of the same name in his novel Reservation Blues. Though a comparative reading of the two books reveals no overt line-for-line plagiarism — Seltzer’s simplistic, facile prose bears little resemblance to the poetic style and cadence of Alexie’s — both versions of Big Mom depict soulful saviors who help rescue their respective protagonists from damnation, foster-care hell for Jones and actual fire-and-brimstone for Reservation blues man Robert Johnson, who traded his soul to the devil.

Coincidental? It hardly seems so. Seltzer certainly can’t claim ignorance of Alexie’s work — he’s listed prominently on the Love and Consequences MySpace page, as both a “hero” of Seltzer’s and a favorite author.

Of course Seltzer wouldn’t be the first white author to play Indian by cribbing from Alexie.

A little over two years ago, in the midst of the Oprah/James Frey fiasco, I wrote an exposé called “Navahoax” that outed award-winning “Navajo” memoirist Nasdijj as Tim Barrus — a middle-class white guy from Lansing, Michigan, who was also a failed writer of gay pornography. Barrus didn’t just manufacture his Native identity, he rose to prominence by filching elements of Alexie’s biography and prose style, as well as those of several other Native writers. “Nasdijj” won himself a PEN Award and a myriad of literary accolades in the process.

“It is flattering in a sociopathic sort of way,” Alexie says of his literary clones. “I should start a workshop: ‘How to plagiarize Sherman Alexie and get a big book deal!’ I have enough cultural power that it works to mimic me. How weird is that?”

He jokes, but after “Navahoax” broke, and forests’ worth of trees were devoted to shaming Barrus for his fraudulence, Alexie hoped the story would finally dissuade other struggling white writers from hijacking Native identity to jump-start their careers — a curious and surprisingly common phenomenon over the past century.

After “Navahoax,” Alexie was contacted by two separate editors asking for help in vetting books by self-professed Native authors. One book was for real, he says; the other had serious issues.

“People don’t realize how small the Indian world is. I can make two phone calls and figure out if someone is lying about being Indian.”

Alexie was actually sent a copy of Love and Consequences and asked to write a blurb, but he didn’t read it. “I remember seeing something about a girl growing up in the L.A. gang culture and thinking, ‘I have nothing to say about that.’ ”

Though Nasdijj was pilloried for his shameless appropriation of Native identity, other avowed Natives of dubious heritage — such as University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill — have come away unscathed, even after being publicly exposed.

If Seltzer’s Native future remains uncertain, her past is just now becoming clear. Last week, Fishbowl LA noted a curious acknowledgment in University of Oregon Professor Gordon Sayre’s book The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero: Native Resistance and the Literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh.

“Peggy Seltzer of the Quinault nation alerted me to the annual ride of the Sioux and inspired my teaching of Native American literature at Oregon,” he wrote.

Had Seltzer been playing Indian even before writing Love and Consequences?

Quinault officials say there is no Peggy Seltzer on the tribal roll. Sayre didn’t return calls for comment, but on Sunday he published an op-ed piece in the Eugene Register-Guard admitting that Seltzer was a former student of his, and that she had written at least one paper for him claiming she was of Quinault descent. Surprisingly, Sayre defended her actions — all of them.

“When early on the morning of March 4 I went out to get the newspaper and learned that I had read a novel, not a memoir, I was neither angry nor disappointed. If Peggy’s assertion that she had spent part of her childhood on the Quinault reservation was untrue, if the paper she had written about this experience was based on false premises, at least it was backed up by enough research to be convincing.”

Apparently, academic and intellectual fraud is tolerable provided it’s well done — this from a professor of Native American literature, no less. Academic dishonesty may have been the least of Seltzer's transgressions.  On Monday, writer Inga Muscio, who helped Seltzer land a book deal after hooking her up with literary agent Faye Bender, claimed on her blog that Seltzer received monthly checks from the Quinault Nation after convincing tribal officials her "bio-dad" was a prodigal Native son.

Such cynical realities keep the Sherman Alexies of the world awake deep into the night.

“I’m mad and irritated, but at the same time it’s hilarious,” says Alexie. “I thought after ‘Navahoax’ people would understand that with the Internet there’s just no way to get away with this anymore. Maybe now they’ll get it? Maybe ...”

http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/fake- … xie/18520/

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#23 Mar-15-2008 03:23:am

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Sherman Alexie: I'm the real Sherman Alexie!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment

"Whenever I read locally, fans will often wait outside the bookstore to greet me, to have a few minutes of private time, to give me gifts or tell me secrets or make offers or demand favors. It’s the price to be paid for a public life. I accept it. I’m always polite, but one has to keep moving, keep walking, don’t pause, don’t stop, or you’ll never break free.

However, I was surprised to find that nobody was waiting for me outside the bookstore. No fans. No matter how big my career gets, I also assume it’s going to end the next minute, next hour, next day, next week. Who knew that narcissism and self-pity are such close cousins?

Hurt, confused, I wondered if my fans had deserted me. I walked into the store, saw a few employees — familiar faces — standing behind the registers, and I waved. “The reading is downstairs,” one of them said. What a strange thing for her to say to me. Of course I know the reading is downstairs; I’ve read here 30 times. Maybe she’s just being funny.

So I walked down those gorgeous wooden stairs into the basement of Elliott Bay Book Company and I heard a familiar voice. It’s not that I’ve heard this particular voice before. But I recognize the rhythms, syntax and vocabulary. That’s a reservation Indian man talking. A rez boy. Am I that late? Has the crowd decided to read for me until I arrive to read for myself? Is this Indian guy exaggerating his Indian accent as he reads one of my stories or poems?

I feel honored by it. I wonder if I’ll get a standing ovation when I step into the room. But wait, that guy is reading a new poem of mine. A poem about Jimi Hendrix. How can he be reading that poem? Nobody has that poem. That poem is only in my computer and in the folder of poems I’m holding in my arms. Nobody has seen that poem except me. How did this guy get my poem? Is he some weird computer hacker/poem stealer? Jesus, what’s going on?"

Get the Story:
Sherman Alexie: Stealing Sherman Alexie (LA Weekly 3/13)
http://www.laweekly.com/art+books/books … xie/18519/

http://www.indianz.com/News/2008/007625.asp

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#24 Mar-15-2008 04:07:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 03/13/2008

Five Books About Native Americans by Authors Who Aren't

"Every time I venture into a bookstore, I find another book about Indians. There are hundreds of books about Indians published every year, yet so few are written by Indians," writes award-winning poet, author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene) in his poem "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me." "A book written by a non-Indian who identifies as mixed-blood will sell more copies than a book written by a person who identifies as strictly Indian," he claims, which perhaps helps explain bogus memoirs such as Love and Consequences by Margaret B. Jones and The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams by the "Navahoax" Nasdijj.

A wise reader of Native American literature learns to be discerning. Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma), Vine Deloria Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux), N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), and Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) are a few of the distinguished native voices. Read on, though, for a list of books on Indians by non-Indians, and what Native Americans think of them. And then tell us who your favorite indigenous authors are.

1. "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown. "The epic tragedy which Dee Brown described so vividly and thoroughly in his iconic history . . . As students in the early 1970s, members of my generation of American Indians carried paperback copies in our backpacks as talismans of hope," says Hanay Geiogamah, director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center, on a NativeWeb blog.

2. "Thirteen Moons" by Charles Frazier. "To me it is a fictional account of Cherokee history, including the Trail of Tears ... that will possibly be read by thousands, if not millions, [that] some of these readers will no doubt believe to be historical fact," laments MariJo Moore (Cherokee) in her essay in Sovereign Bones: New Native American Writing (Eric Gansworth, editor).

3. "On the Rez" by Ian Frazier. "Indians' relationship to this country is still that of the colonized, so that when non-Indians write about us, it's colonial literature. . . . What really bothered me about Ian Frazier's book is how everybody kept talking about it as some sort of special work, and it's not. It's a really ordinary book. There are flagrant inaccuracies. The galley had at least fifty historical errors. And I really had a problem with the point of view," says Sherman Alexie in an interview on theatlantic.com.

4. "The Indian in the Cupboard" by Lynne Reid Banks. "Although the little 'Indian' is called Iroquois, no attempt has been made, either in text or illustrations, to have him look or behave appropriately. For example, he is dressed as a Plains Indian, and is given a tipi and a horse," complains Doris Seale in Through Indian Eyes.

5. "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. "I would not want my child to read [it]. I would shield him from the slights she slings upon his ancestors. They appear in her book only as beggars and thieves, and she adds injury to insult by comparing the Osages . . . to reptiles, to garbage or scum," says Dennis McAuliffe, Jr., on oyate.org's list of books to avoid.

What American Indian writers would you want your children to read?

-- Mary Morris


http://blog.washingtonpost.com/shortstack/

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#25 Mar-15-2008 09:32:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4344
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Re: Book recalled after 'Native' author exposed as fraud

What's the actual purpose of this particular list,?   Did someone think Dee Brown or Laura Ingalls Wilder were Indians?

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