5 Native Scholars Who'd Make Great TV News Pundits

Simon Moya-Smith

On April 6, Melissa Harris-Perry invited a fistful of political pundits to MSNBC's New York City studio to discuss the now-dead #CancelColbert Twitter campaign, Colbert's satiric, albeit offensive, anti-Asian tweet (which launched the hashtag) and, of course, what started it all, the announcement of Washington Redskins' owner Dan Snyder's Original Americans Foundation.

Harris-Perry invited to her table Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang, political analyst Zerlina Maxwell, Rutgers University Women and Gender Studies professor Brittany Cooper, and MSNBC anchor Richard Lui.

Not a single Native American was invited to the discussion.

At the beginning of the segment, Harris-Perry argued it was the Native American voice that was silenced amid the #CancelColbert hullabaloo.

"While Colbert received the bulk of the attention, the movement that was lost in the mix were the Native Americans who have organized against Snyder's team mascot," Harris-Perry said.

And while Harris-Perry's comments were correct, one must wonder, then, if she were, indeed, conscientious to the fact that the Native American voice has been silenced, why did she fail to invite a Native American to the discussion on April 6?

Native Americans are lawyers, doctors, scholars, and all manner of professionals. And, as result of the Web as well as the proliferation of social media, our most learned Native leaders are only a click away.

Eo ipso, here are five Native American scholars who would make great TV news pundits. Each would provide a keen, learned acumen on sundry indigenous North American issues and topics, including racism:

1. Professor Audra Simpson

Courtesy Audra Simpson

Audra Simpson, Kahnawake Mohawk, is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her book, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States, is in press with Duke University Press. She is the editor of the Syracuse University’s reprint of Lewis Henry Morgan’s anthropological classic, League of the Haudenosaunee, and co-editor of the 10 chapter collection Theorizing Native Studies. She has articles in Cultural Anthropology, American Quarterly, Junctures, Law and Contemporary Problems and Wicazo Sa Review. Simpson also contributed to the edited volume Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and was the volume editor of Recherches amerindiennes au quebec on “new directions in Iroquois studies.” She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Fulbright, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Dartmouth College, the American Anthropological Association, Cornell University and the School for Advanced Research. In 2010, Simpson won Columbia University’s School for General Studies Excellence in Teaching Award.


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fslafountaine's picture
Submitted by fslafountaine on
Being a follower of Ed Schultz and Rev Al Sharpton, a Native American pundit appearing on their shows need to be a Liberal Democrat who possesses a PHD in Political Science or is a former elected official. It helps if they have written a book on Democratic Party politics. They need to be an expert on Democratic Party politics and issues and believe that American Society has answers to solving Native American issues. They should have nothing good to say about the Republican Party and are enable to denounce Republican Party personalities. We do need Native American pundits, but they cannot restrict themselves to Native American issues and politics.