DMP Podcast: Episode 7
In this episode, DMP collaborator Basil Wiering interviews Professor Brittany Hunt, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, and doctoral candidate at UNCC. She highlights the erasure of Native Americans and how rampant cultural appropriation is in the fabric of our society. Oftentimes, indigenous people are not credited for their many cultural contributions; one example is that they’re the original Southerners who created regional food staples like grits and hushpuppies, and another is the phenomenon of white people’s unsubstantiated claims to Native lineage, such as thinking they have a Cherokee great-grandmother. Stereotypes drive many interpersonal interactions and exude the core myth that the indigenous are people “in the past” and they are subsequently excluded from race conversations about systemic problems, like police brutality and mass incarceration. Prof. Hunt further points out how academically sanctioned racism functions to justify racist attitudes and how many remain complicit. She offers listeners some specific strategies she is always prepared with when faced with microaggressions, such as exposing underlying absurdity and asking questions to reveal intent, and she calls us all in to action so that we can analyze how we contribute to the racial erasure of indigenous people, be more critical and decolonize our language, and decolonize curriculum for educators in decision-making positions, all good goals whether or not there are indigenous people represented within institutions.
Brittany Hunt is a member of the Lumbee Tribe and was born and raised in Lumberton, NC. She is an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Social Work and a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she founded the American Indian Urban Education Division. Brittany received her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research interests include the experiences of American Indian students in education, but more specifically how the K-12 system disenfranchises Native history in the classroom and those effects on American consciousness and Native cultural identity.
Professor Hunt published her first book, Whoz Ya People, in January 2020. The book is about the importance of family, community and land to the Lumbee people. The title phrase “Whoz Ya People” refers to a common greeting amongst Lumbee people; it is a way that Lumbee people connect with one another and it is how Henry connected with his people. Watch Professor Hunt talk about Henry and his new school here.
Follow Prof. Brittany Hunt on Twitter at @audaciouslyndn and check out her pinned tweet: “What not to do when you meet a Native person: a semi-comprehensive thread for not-Natives.”
To learn more about microaggressions and racism as they relate to American Indian people, Professor Hunt recommends the following resources:
- Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle by Malinda Maynor Lowery
- Red Pedagogy by Sandy Grande
- An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong by Paul Chaat Smith
- Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo
- All My Relations
- Reel Injun
- Warrior Women