Author Topic: Margaret Noodin, Professor  (Read 88040 times)

Offline Advanced Smite

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Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #135 on: July 08, 2023, 03:47:52 pm »
As I've been working on expanded genealogy for this thread, I continue to come across interesting quotes from Margaret Noodin. This particular quote seems especially relevant and unbelievably ironic. The video has been recorded and saved offline should it ever be removed from YouTube.

YouTube: CRG Fall 2019 Distinguished Guest Lecture - UC Berkeley Events
Direct Link:

Transcription begins at 1:10:24.

Audience Member: I'm curious to know, because I know that you have a website where you have some posted songs and poetry and it's like an accessible way to learn some Anishinaabemowin, and I'm wondering how you feel about people who are not Anishinaabe learning the language. Because I know that this is something that, like, everybody I ask I get a different opinion on. I think that there's definitely some people who are afraid of people from outside of the culture learning it and using it as a way to have ammunition against the culture or make fun of the culture in some way. So, I'm just wondering how you've reckoned with that in your own work since your own work does make it very accessible.

Margaret Noodin: Right. Yeah. Well, two things. One is, us Ojibwe, we totally have just, I mean, been out there with it all the time. it was a lingua franca kind-of in our area. So, that's why you have everything from the Hudson Bay down to the Bay of New Orleans, you know the Mississippi, and all these names that are coming from Ojibwe people. Naming things to the extent that in our own region we called the Ho-Chunk the Winnebago. And they got called that for years till they took back their own name, Ho-chungra. And the Menominee, the Mamaceqtaw, still haven't. They still get called the Menominee ‘cause we called them in the Menominee. You know? And so, I think that you have some culture groups that their role in a ge- - you know- - geopolitical area is one of just telling- - you know- - being the translators, being the talkers, being the guides, - -all the time- - being the traders. So, there's that.

So, on one hand Ojibwe language has been so documented for so many years that that ship has really sailed no matter what anybody says. I mean- - they might think we're gonna- - um-mm- - it's impossible at this point. The other thing is I think that it comes from not knowing it well. Like I have no idea why I would care if anybody knew. I would just be delighted. I'd have one more person to argue with. And like, bring it on. Go ahead. Learn my language! Please! I would love it, right? I mean- - why would I not want that? Why would I not want- - I mean- - everybody to just know it? Right? To me, if we know our own language, well, we have nothing to fear from other people learning it. It's only when we don't feel we have access to it, or we don't have it, that we get really afraid. And- - and say “Don't. Don't do that.”

So, in our state the Menominee- - and there's just one Menominee nation- - they were once terminated by the federal government. Their dictionary is on lockdown. I mean- - they work with one scholar from Madison, and they have a password-protected website. And, I think, until enough Menominee feel confident and comfortable and able to defend their language they just don't want other people learning it as much. And that's their right. I totally respect that. And we have some students in our teacher training program now that do Menominee and at the little school that I partner with we have a Menominee class of kids. And so, in Milwaukee we've got some folks learning it. We've got folks up on the rez. But it isn't one that I would build a great big website, like mine, for- - because it is one that they're little- - it's just more fragile. Ojibwe is in no way fragile <laughs> anymore- - I mean, there are things that I wouldn't put on there. There's all kinds of songs and all sorts of things that I wouldn't put on the website but there's also just so much that we can put there.

So, I hope we've gotten enough people using it or at least through my example we show that we definitely- - we- - we know our language. Go learn it. We'd love to have more people using it. And again- - in Milwaukee where I teach my first-year class, it's about half and half, native and non-native. I mean- - I teach a class at a big public university. What am I gonna say? You- -half of you- - can't learn it. Heck no! I feel like if we would’ve done the right thing we would've told Nicolet to start using it when he landed in Green Bay, you know? <laughs> It's like we'd all be speaking Ojibwe now. I'd be a professor in the Department of Ojibwe and English would be the foreign language. Like, you know? <laughs> Right? I mean it could be that way.

So, I think that's- - that's part of it. Where we all just have to- - think about what it means when we use it. And there's times where we know there's some things we wouldn't put on a big public site. But everything that we put on there is- - is- - we put it there knowing people might find it, and teach with it, and use it, and learn. And that's great. So- - so, yeah, anything found on there people can do- - you know, they always usually email us. And we get- - we've had a guy do an opera in Paris. We've had people put it- - a lot of indigenous folks use it in their classrooms. So, that's good.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 184
Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #136 on: July 13, 2023, 08:38:13 pm »
This video from the 2009 Upper Peninsula Indian Education Conference was uploaded 7 months ago. Margaret makes an incredibly specific claim about her great-grandmother being a fluent speaker of the Ojibwe language. She even says that her great-grandmother was afraid to have her kids (Margaret's grandmother) learn the language.

YouTube: 2009 Upper Peninsula Indian Education Conference - Center for Native American Studies, Northern Michigan University
Direct Link:

Transcription starts at 12:47.

Margaret Noodin: "I've had probably 20 or 30 different teachers in my life that I've been honored to know and spend time with and it's great to see many of them here, but the one thing that they all had in common is that their children did not speak the language. And that was something that after a while - I would learn - they would get to a point in class where we would talk about when they were learning the language and then they would talk about when they were parents. And often it was very emotional for them to share the fact that their own education had made them want to not necessarily pass that language on they would say. Many different teachers have told me “when I went to school knowing the language was bad so when my kids went to school I wanted them to really-really know English, but I wish I had taught them Anishinaabemowin.” Because when you see now in our world we know to know more than one language is great. But that's something that many Elders in my family - -we were talking about in class - - in my family, the last person that spoke the language with fluency was my great-grandmother (unintelligible Anishinaabemowin) and-and, you know, that’s a sad thing that our family for two generations it stopped because she was afraid to have her kids learn it."

This is contradicted by what we know about Margaret's great-grandmother, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Pearl (Myers) Hill. We know that Lizzie lived with her well-documented French-Canadian mother, Agnes Lagrenade, and self-reported father, John Henry Myers. There are solid records placing Lizzie with Agnes Lagrenade and John Henry Myers at the age of 3 years old and beyond. If we give Margaret the benefit of the doubt that a man other than John Henry Myers was Lizzie's father, despite the abundant evidence in this thread that Margaret is not an especially truthful person, that man would have been out of her life by the age of 2 years old. Lizzie is not documented as living in an Ojibwe community or even with an Ojibwe person at any point in time. Lizzie didn't even live anywhere near the Ojibwe until she was 28 years old. How could she have become a fluent speaker? The answer is she couldn't be a fluent speaker and she wasn't a fluent speaker of the Ojibwe language. Lizzie was not Ojibwe. Margaret is not Ojibwe.

Why would Margaret, an alleged Ojibwe expert, not recognize that historical and geographical miracles would be necessary to place an Ojibwe man with Agnes Lagrenade on the East Coast (United States/Canada) in 1883/1884 to conceive Lizzie? The truth is that Margaret's family tree only has one branch that didn’t immigrate from Europe in the 1800s AND has less robust documentation overall – both of which are necessary to create an opening to insert a fictious Ojibwe ancestor. In fact, Margaret’s family is so well-documented that there is only one area of her family tree where an ancestor could potentially be reimagined as Native American. The catch? It requires that John Henry Myers not be the biological father of Elizabeth Pearl Myers. Even if John Henry Myers was not Lizzie's biological father, we would need to ignore history and geography to think that man was anything other than white.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 184
Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #137 on: October 31, 2023, 05:13:29 pm »
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article about Margaret Noodin's questionable claims of Native American ancestry. It's a well written article and it seems like the authors did their due diligence. I'm incredibly impressed by the people interviewed that spoke out under their real names and the person that brought this story to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's attention.

"Indigenous or pretender? Questions raised about UW-Milwaukee professor who led Native studies institute"
Kelly Meyerhofer, Sarah Volpenhein, and Frank Vaisvilas - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published 5:15 a.m. CT Oct. 31, 2023 - Updated 10:02 a.m. CT Oct. 31, 2023

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 184
Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #138 on: November 01, 2023, 03:44:00 am »
This thread contains many quotes from Margaret Noodin speaking at a 2010 Ann Arbor Library event. Only a transcript of the event was available online until today. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained the video and posted it.

Margaret Noodin speaks in 2010 at Ann Arbor library event.
Margaret Noodin speaks in 2010 at Ann Arbor library event. Around the 2:45 minute mark, she says she has "relatives" enrolled in the "Minnesota Chippewa from Grand Portage area" tribe. Video courtesy of Jennifer Bennett.

Offline Diana

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Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #139 on: November 03, 2023, 10:19:51 pm »
I'm not able to read the article. It requires a subscription. Can u post the article?


Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 184
Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #140 on: November 03, 2023, 11:08:06 pm »
Here's an archive link:

I'm not able to read the article. It requires a subscription. Can u post the article?


Offline Sparks

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Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #141 on: November 03, 2023, 11:18:27 pm »
I'm not able to read the article. It requires a subscription. Can u post the article?

Even though it's marked "FOR SUBSCRIBERS" I can read it. I was able to copy all the text (including picture captions) so here goes:

Indigenous or pretender? Questions raised about UW-Milwaukee professor who led Native studies institute
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Margaret Noodin left her position as head of the Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Eduction amid accusations that she misrepresented her ancestry. This is a 2019 file photo taken in Bolton Hall on the UWM campus.

Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Weeks out from opening day of an Indigenous art exhibit at the Chicago Field Museum last year, Doug Kiel raised an alarm with other curators.

One of the featured artists, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor and poet Margaret Noodin, had posted a statement online meant to address long-running questions about whether she was really Native.

But to Kiel, who is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the statement read like an admission she was not Native.

"It’s really quite rambling babble about, ‘I know a person and I was in a ceremony,’ and it’s like, 'No, no, no, no. This is not how this works at all,’” said Kiel, a Native American history professor at Northwestern University.

Kiel said he and other curators considered it a breach of trust that Noodin did not disclose her family history was “full of question marks.” They scrambled to remove her work from the exhibit.

“No matter how you slice it, you have made very big, inexcusable mistakes that legitimately call into question whether you can be trusted to work with Native people and communities,” Kiel wrote in an email to Noodin this spring, which he shared with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You have years of amends to start making.”

It was a flashpoint in a now-yearslong controversy over Noodin’s ancestry that ramped up in 2021 after anonymous users of an online forum began accusing Noodin of misleading people about her identity.

Since then, Noodin stepped down from a $167,000-per-year job as director of UWM’s Electa Quinney Institute, which supports Native students and research. She moved out of the Milwaukee metro area and resettled in Minnesota, where she is director of a tribal nation's Head Start program. She still teaches online classes part time at UWM.

At best, Noodin has been accused of not being fully transparent about the extent of her Indigenous heritage. At worst, she has been accused of lying about who she is and building a career around a fictitious Indigenous identity.

The controversy over Noodin’s identity has cast a shadow over her work to revitalize Indigenous languages. It raises questions about who belongs in leadership positions that support Indigenous students, and how universities vet those people.

Noodin, who declined to give an interview for this story but touched on her identity in a 2021 Journal Sentinel interview for an unrelated story, has denied lying about who she is.

Despite admitting she does not have documentation of an Indigenous ancestor, she said she grew up believing she was Indigenous because of what her family told her. She cannot point definitively to a tribal nation she is descended from but has spent years learning the Ojibwe language and forging connections with Indigenous communities.

"Throughout my life I have tried to continually increase my knowledge of my own family and the communities where I am welcome and included," she said in a statement for this story. "During my life I have listened to relatives, friends and elders who asked that I use my gifts and creativity to honor all of my ancestors without denial or erasure of oral family histories.”

Emails obtained by the Journal Sentinel show UWM officials privately backed Noodin and tried sidestepping the controversy until the news organization began asking questions this spring. In response to a public records request, UWM indicated in August it had opened an investigation into Noodin.

UWM declined to make administrators available for an interview but said it is “aware of and troubled by” the allegations against Noodin.

“Our students and communities must trust that we are honest and authentic in our work,” the statement said.

Critics of UWM professor Margaret Noodin feel 'betrayed'

Noodin began teaching at UWM in 2013, after many years as an Ojibwe language instructor in Michigan. She received tenure in 2016.

A year after arriving at UW-Milwaukee, Margaret Noodin was promoted to lead the university's Electa Quinney Institute, which supports Native students and research. 
Jens Zorn

The online posts accusing Noodin of lying about her identity began in 2021, on a forum called New Age Fraud.

The following year, Noodin brought the anonymous accusations to the attention of several UWM administrators, emails show. Noodin said the accusers have “been trying for nearly a year to get me fired” and questioned whether it had reached the point of defamation.

In March 2022, she posted a "positionality" statement online, meant to clarify her racial and ethnic identity. She also responded on the forum to users.

“The fact that I haven’t really been misrepresenting myself seems to set off even more fury,” she told UWM officials in an email.

Scott Gronert, dean of the College of Letters and Science, wrote back with an apology for “having to deal with these challenges to your identity, which you have so openly addressed in your recent posts and throughout your time at UWM.”

But at least some students didn't feel Noodin had been transparent.

Antonio Doxtator, a two-time UWM graduate who took two of her Ojibwe language classes, was stunned to read her statement. To him, it was confirmation Noodin had little, if any, Indigenous ancestry.

“I felt betrayed,” said Doxtator, an Oneida Nation citizen. “I never would have taken her classes if I’d known she wasn’t Native.”

Two other former students who are tribal members described feeling uncomfortable in classes or avoiding campus events because of their suspicions, even before 2021, that Noodin was not Native. They spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from Noodin or her supporters.

Some of Noodin's former colleagues, like University of Michigan instructor Howard Kimewon, felt similarly betrayed. The two taught Ojibwe language classes together in Michigan.

Kimewon told the Journal Sentinel he felt like Noodin took advantage of him and used him for his knowledge of Ojibwe, his first language, to publish books together and further her career. He said he doesn’t believe Noodin is helping people, going so far as to call her a “con artist.”

“She did enough damage to me,” he said. “I can’t forget it.”

Martina Osawamick, of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Ontario, worked with Noodin at a nonprofit for preserving the nation's languages and culture. She said Noodin implied she was Native and was “appalled” to learn Noodin hadn’t been forthcoming about her identity.

“It’s absolutely not right for people to be doing this,” she said. “It’s disturbing.”

Who can claim Indigeneity?

Noodin’s case comes in the midst of an ongoing debate in Indian Country about race-shifting, fraud and “pretendians,” or people who falsely portray themselves as having Indigenous ancestry.

Madison arts leader Kay LeClaire was exposed earlier this year on the same online forum for allegedly fabricating an Indigenous identity and building a career around it.

Other prominent examples include ethnic studies scholar Andrea Smith, whose claims to Cherokee heritage have been contested repeatedly, and University of California, Berkeley professor Elizabeth Hoover, who admitted to wrongly identifying as Native. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was criticized for previously claiming she was Native and relying on family stories of Cherokee and Delaware ancestors.

“It does harm because they are taking the microphone from Indigenous people who are perfectly capable of representing themselves,” said Ojibwe language expert Anton Treuer. “It can damage the faith that people have in whatever activity that person is associated with.”

The questions around who can call themselves Indigenous are complex.

In the U.S., one way Indigenous people identify themselves is through enrollment as a citizen in a recognized tribe.

But not everyone who comes from Indigenous ancestry qualifies for enrollment in a tribe. Many tribes still use “blood quantum” to decide who qualifies for enrollment, a controversial standard that requires a minimum percentage of tribal blood and has origins in federal efforts to disenfranchise Native peoples.

Other tribes do not use blood quantum, and only require members have proof of descent from a tribal member.

Even so, some Indigenous people lack definitive proof of their ancestry. Centuries of federal efforts to forcibly remove Native Americans from their homelands and assimilate them into white society have eroded their ties to tribal communities and caused many to lose connection with their cultures.

But critics of Noodin say that is not Noodin’s story.

"Unverified claims to Indigenous communities is not sufficient, not for an Indigenous studies expert, for a scholar in the field," said Kiel, the museum curator.

Noodin in a portrait taken by a UWM photographer. 

'We don't have any evidence'

Born Margaret O’Donnell, Noodin was raised in Chaska, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities.

She told the Journal Sentinel she grew up believing she was Native American partly because of family stories of boarding school and an older relative who spoke Ojibwe words and phrases. The Ojibwe people, also known as Chippewa, are a culture of Native peoples spread across the northern U.S. and Canada.

Noodin studied at the University of Minnesota and wrote for a Native newspaper, The Circle. She earned her doctorate in 2001. Her thesis was on Native American literature.

Afterward, she began teaching Ojibwe at Michigan universities and publishing books and poetry in the language.

Shortly before leaving for UWM, she changed her last name from her married name of Noori to Noodin, an Ojibwe name meaning “windy."

In online publications and newspaper articles, Noodin often identified as an Ojibwe descendant without specifying which of the dozens of existing Ojibwe tribes she was supposedly descended from. When she did identify a tribe, she sometimes used vague language, saying she was “affiliated with” or “connected with” that tribe. Over time, she has claimed affiliations with different Ojibwe tribes and with Métis peoples in Canada.

More recently, she has also begun to note her Irish, French and English ancestry.

Noodin has claimed in online posts her Ojibwe ancestry stems from a great-great-grandfather on her father’s side, named Henri Lavallee, but she has provided no documentation of his existence. Early 20th-century marriage records for that family line list a different person as her great-great-grandfather.

“If I can find more records on Henri Lavallee, that would be great,” Noodin told the Journal Sentinel in 2021.

Noodin has acknowledged neither she nor her parents or grandparents are enrolled citizens of a tribe. Yet in a 2010 presentation at a Michigan library, Noodin claimed unspecified members of her family had been "enrolled" in the “Minnesota Chippewa from Grand Portage area.”

Margaret Noodin speaks in 2010 at Ann Arbor library event.

Margaret Noodin speaks in 2010 at Ann Arbor library event. Around the 2:45 minute mark, she says she has "relatives" enrolled in the "Minnesota Chippewa from Grand Portage area" tribe. Video courtesy of Jennifer Bennett.

In 2021, Noodin said she believed she could have been descended from either the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa or the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, which are both part of the overarching Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

“I’ve spent a lot of times near those reservations and had elders there work with me to, kind of, figure (it) out. But we don’t have any evidence,” Noodin said then.

Noodin’s mother declined to be interviewed for this story. Her father could not be reached.

Noodin does not fit the criteria for enrollment in either the Grand Portage or Mille Lacs nations and has not received a letter of descendancy, according to Karen Pemberton, of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe's enrollment department.

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe had no record of a Henri Lavallee or the great-grandparents on that side of the family, Pemberton added.

Grand Portage Chairman Robert Deschampe did not respond to calls or emails seeking comment. Noodin was hired by the tribe earlier this year to lead its Head Start program.

In another example of Noodin's inconsistent explanations, she said in 2009 her great-grandmother — four generations removed — was the last person in her family to speak Ojibwe fluently. But in 2020, Noodin claimed it had been "five generations since anybody in my family was fluent in the language."

Lack of records not an issue, Margaret Noodin's supporters say

Noodin’s supporters said the lack of definitive records or clear family lines doesn’t matter if the tribal community accepts her as one of their own. They said enrollment and genealogical records are often incomplete, inaccurate or tied to colonial systems designed to erase Indigenous peoples’ very existence.

UW-Milwaukee professor Mark Freeland, whom Noodin helped recruit to succeed her as director of the Electa Quinney Institute, said too often written records are seen as more accurate than spoken family histories.

“I think she has a family narrative, as many people do, and is utilizing that to engage with her community,” he said. “This is not some new career person trying to get ahead. This is somebody who’s been day in, day out working tirelessly to engage.”

Mark Freeland, right, succeeded Noodin as director of the Electa Quinney Institute, which supports Native students and research on Indigenous languages and culture. The two stand in a fire circle in front of Merrill Hall in 2022.  Show less
Elora Hennessey/UWM Photo
Tish Keahna, a member of the Meskwaki Nation, met Noodin decades ago when Noodin worked at The Circle, the Native newspaper in Minnesota. She said Noodin was clear she didn’t know exactly where her Indigenous family was from.

“My understanding is that her grandmother spoke Ojibwe,” she said. “If you’re somebody in the middle of the last century who speaks Ojibwe, and you’re female, that’s a big Ojibwe flag. That’s an indicator of community connection.”

Keahna knows of people who have pretended to be Native, but she believes Noodin is not one of them. She said Noodin is committed to her community and has worked to repair long-lost connections.

“Why are we punishing people who want to come home?” she said.

Some Native scholars say being accepted as kin by an Indigenous community is not the same as having Indigenous ancestry. They also say individuals who have lost touch with their Indigenous roots can at least point to clear family connections within Indigenous communities.

"If you’re an Indigenous person, where is your family?" said Kiel, the museum curator. "Where are the other people who are going to come forward and say, ‘Yeah, I’m a member of such-and-such an Ojibwe nation, and she’s one of my cousins'? It should be as simple as that."

Jill Doerfler, head of the American Indian Studies department at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, believes it's inappropriate for anyone to claim they are Native without knowing who in their family was an enrolled tribal citizen. She introduces herself as the daughter of an enrolled White Earth Nation citizen.

“Native people understand the need for specificity,” she said.

Noodin bolstered Indigenous studies program at UW-Milwaukee

Supporters also point to Noodin's track record of supporting Native studies at UWM.

Before her arrival a decade ago, the university’s Ojibwe language offerings were rudimentary, said former professor and Native studies coordinator Cary Miller. A Native elder taught introductory classes on part-time basis. After the elder's death, Miller pushed administrators to hire a full-time faculty member.

UWM records show Noodin was recruited as a “target of opportunity” hire, which meant the university could recruit her directly and bypass the typical nationwide search process.

Target opportunity programs have been used in higher education for decades primarily as a way to diversify faculty ranks.

UW-Milwaukee said Noodin was not hired through the target opportunity program based on her identity, but because of her academic credentials and expertise in Ojibwe.

The pool of people who speak Ojibwe, a severely endangered language, is small. The pool of those who speak it and have a doctorate is even smaller.

Noodin can be seen participating in a jingle healing dance in the background of this photo. 

Noodin brought a unique skill set that went beyond teaching and research, Miller said. She had a knack for budgets and bureaucracy.

In 2015, state budget cuts put Indigenous student services potentially on the chopping block, Miller recalled. Noodin made the case to keep the Native student support offices by calculating how much tuition money tribally funded students from Wisconsin brought in, more than justifying the few advising positions for them.

“She went to bat for Indigenous programs at the university on a huge scale," Miller said.

Recruiting and retaining Indigenous staff was also a priority. When Miller, for example, received an offer from another university, she said Noodin contributed some of her own research funds for the counteroffer to try to keep her.

Noodin also secured millions in grant money for research. Of a dozen grant applications reviewed by the Journal Sentinel, she identified as Native in two of them.

In one application for a project on Native folk music, Noodin described herself as “Pine Marten Clan and a descendant of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Métis Nation.” The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, awarded $10,000.

In a second application for environmental-related research money, she described herself as "Native." The application was not funded.

Vetting processes differ among universities

At the time of Noodin's hiring, UWM made no extensive effort to confirm her ancestry. Like most all American universities, UWM’s policy at the time was — and still is — self-declaration, where individuals claim Native ancestry and schools largely take them at their word.

Miller recalled Noodin sharing during the hiring process that she wasn’t enrolled in a tribe but said she was recognized as a descendant. Later, Noodin suggested her descendancy went back six or seven generations, according to Miller.

“I probably would not claim it quite as firmly as she had,” Miller said. “But I also don't think there was a firm messaging out there to suggest that she couldn't.”

That’s changing, at least in Canada, where Miller now works for the University of Manitoba.

Canadian institutions are moving away from self-declaration policies and toward policies developed in consultation with Indigenous communities that require additional proof. Queen’s University in Ontario created an Indigenous Oversight Council to provide guidance on identity issues, and the University of Saskatchewan has a document verification process.

“It's unfortunate that we have to do this, but it is a self-identification free-for-all out there,” said Kim TallBear, a Native studies professor at the University of Alberta. “You’ve got a lot of people out there doing things like Margaret Noodin is accused of doing, who are appropriating and stealing resources as a form of theft.”

Freeland, Noodin’s successor at UWM, sees the Canadian policies as a step in the wrong direction.

Mark Freeland leads the Electa Quinney Institute at UW-Milwaukee. 
Elora Lee Hennessey / UWM Photo Services
Freeland and other Noodin supporters believe there is a small group of individuals over-policing Native identities. This creates real harm, they say, by discouraging people whose families have lost connections to their Indigenous roots from re-connecting.

“Is self-identification error-free?” he said. “Absolutely not, but it is conducive to us being good Indigenous people, treating one another well.”

Doxtator, one of Noodin’s former students, said UWM is responsible for vetting staff and failed to do so, which in turn failed him as a student.

Another former Noodin student, Jeneile Luebke, doesn’t know how to feel. She remembers Noodin taking time out of her day to attend Luebke’s doctoral dissertation defense. She said she will continue to support Noodin, as the professor did for her.

However, Luebke is troubled by Noodin’s inability to provide evidence of her Indigenous ancestry. She feels people should be transparent about who they are.

“If she was knowingly being deceptive, I feel she owes the community an apology and should work to restore trust and make up for damage with the community,” she said. “It’s really on her to figure that out.”

Contact Kelly Meyerhofer at or 414-223-5168 and follow her on X at @KellyMeyerhofer. Contact Sarah Volpenhein at or 414-607-2159 and follow her on X at @SarahVolp. Contact Frank Vaisvilas at or 815-260-2262 and follow him on X at @vaisvilas_frank.

The photos are not shown in my quote. There are also more than twenty underlined links in the article.

[Edit: Advanced Smite posted an archive link while I was typing. Amazing! The underlined links there are not clickable, though.]

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 184
Re: Margaret Noodin, Professor
« Reply #142 on: November 04, 2023, 03:27:44 am »
The most surprising and, at the same time, least surprising information in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article:
Emails obtained by the Journal Sentinel show UWM officials privately backed Noodin and tried sidestepping the controversy until the news organization began asking questions this spring. In response to a public records request, UWM indicated in August it had opened an investigation into Noodin.

UWM declined to make administrators available for an interview but said it is “aware of and troubled by” the allegations against Noodin.

“Our students and communities must trust that we are honest and authentic in our work,” the statement said.
“The fact that I haven’t really been misrepresenting myself seems to set off even more fury,” she told UWM officials in an email.

Scott Gronert, dean of the College of Letters and Science, wrote back with an apology for “having to deal with these challenges to your identity, which you have so openly addressed in your recent posts and throughout your time at UWM.”

Margaret is the most significant case of ethnic fraud within the University of Wisconsin System, based on title/position, to be exposed by the media thus far. C.V. Vitolo-Haddad was a teaching assistant and Kay LeClaire was only in an LTE position. That's UW-Milwaukee: 1, UW-Madison:2

The number could change at anytime though...

Check out the NAFPs thread for Professor Ahna Skop, UW-Madison:

Ahna Skop received the UW Outstanding Woman of Color Award in 2019. Seriously. I can't believe someone hasn't picked up that story yet. 

After the Kay LeClaire thread went viral, in addition to Ahna Skop, I received emails about two other faculty/staff at UW-Madison. One is in DEI and the other is an Associate Professor.

UW-Madison has a list of Indigenous faculty/staff for students to use as a support resource:

All but three people on that list will have no problem explaining their connection. I imagine the other three will find it quite difficult.