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University of California Berkeley associate professor who falsely identified as Native American her ‘whole life’ issues apology

<i>Justin Sullivan/Getty Images</i><br/>People walk by Wheeler Hall on the University of California Berkeley campus in March 2022
Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
People walk by Wheeler Hall on the University of California Berkeley campus in March 2022

By Laura Studley, CNN

A University of California Berkeley associate professor issued an apology Monday for claiming to be Native American after she revealed she had been White her “whole life.”

Elizabeth Hoover was hired at the university in 2020, her LinkedIn profile states, researching Native American food systems, food sovereignty, Native American environmental health movements, and more, according to a university biography page.

In a previous statement from 2022, Hoover stated she grew up believing she was Mohawk on her mother’s side and Mi’kmaq on her father’s but that questions raised about her true identity had prompted her to do genealogical research which resulted in her finding no records of tribal citizenship for any of Hoover’s family members.

“I have brought hurt, harm, and broken trust to the Native community at large, and to specific Native communities I have worked with and lived alongside, and for that, I am deeply sorry,” Hoover’s apology states.

Many on campus are calling for Hoover’s resignation and removal from “all positions on boards and advisory committees and all grants, speaking engagements, and other paid opportunities she obtained with her false identity,” according to a collective statement written by three Berkeley PhD students.

Thus far, there are 375 signatures from various UC Berkeley staff, faculty, students and other community members.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said in a statement that the university is unable to address personnel matters that violate privacy rights.

“We are aware of and support ongoing efforts to achieve restorative justice in a way that acknowledges and addresses the extent to which this matter has caused harm and upset among members of our community,” the statement reads.

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