Inge-Lise Ameer, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, sent an email to students October 1 explaining that Susan Taffe Reed will no long continue as the director of the Native American Program. But, she hasn’t been fired, simply reassigned.
“We recognize that the distraction of media coverage and questions about her appointment have been challenging for all you,” reads the email. “While Susan remains an employee of the College, we have made other arrangements to support the Native American Program going forward.”
It is not clear what exactly Taffe Reed will be doing, but the primary contacts for Native American Program students will be NAP Coordinator Kianna Burke, who is a 2012 Dartmouth graduate with a degree in Native American Studies, and Interim Undergraduate Dean Jeremy Guardiola.
Taffe Reed’s appointment to the position was met with shock that the head of a purportedly ‘fake tribe’—the Eastern Delaware Nation—would be in charge of the well-being of Native American students at one of the country’s preeminent Native American programs.
Dr. Nicky Michael, a tribal councilwoman for Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma and Stanford alum was surprised to have her post questioning Taffe Reed’s appointment deleted from Dartmouth’s Native American Program Facebook page. She wrote, “Her [Taffe Reed’s] identification and your promotion of her as a Delaware is appropriation and cultural theft of our language, culture and identity. When people make false claims to Lenape heritage, those of us fighting in our own communities lose out on those same opportunities. I am saddened, disturbed and shocked at this decision.”
Dartmouth kept quiet about the situation until reassigning Taffe Reed.