I'm seeing a friend on tumblr struggle with the reality that they might have to use Andrea Smith in one of their papers. For those who don't know, Andrea Smith has been accused of faking her indigeniety (for the record: I have no real opinion about this since I don't know enough about it to have formed one. I've seen some Indigenous ppl defend her and some decry her.). As a result, some people think that this Thing has poisoned the well (ie, her body of scholarship). This post is not about whether or not the well is poisoned. But rather exploring some of the ways the Smith situation is different than, for example, Thomas Jefferson (and other enlightenment thinkers). In their cases, yes, I do think the reality of their lives poisons the well, making everything they wrote and said toxic and dangerous. Something to be handled with great care.