Another Summers Offense Resurfaces—Seven Months Late
April 20, 2005
by Minnie Quach
The headline news story of The Crimson today reports that remarks made by Harvard President Larry Summers back in a September 2004 conference on Native American studies has resurfaced as scholars now report that they were offended, insulted, and appalled by his speech. Summers released the transcript of the speech yesterday. He has been accused of being insensitive and condescending by implying that the genocide of Native Americans was “coincidental” and by criticizing their “dependency” on the government.
As reported in The Crimson, Summers has defended himself by saying: “I was attempting to make the point from a policy perspective that tragedies happen both as a consequence of malice and because of accidents and inattention.” And: “The overarching point of my remarks was to express a concern about the well-being of Native Americans today: how to increase life expectancy, reduce poverty, and to do so in the best way given the distinctive historical relationship between Native American communities and the larger society.”