People cared about "how much Indian" the author was, as they thought she was not Indian enough to talk about the plight of Native Americans, as she did not possess the indigenous stereotypes they believed she needed to have.
We can reach this conclusion because:
- “How much Indian was I?” is the article written by Elissa Washuta.
- Washuta is of Native American descent, belonging to the Cowlitz tribe.
- However, Washuta's parents spent their youth outside their villages and lived fully in American society soon after they graduated from college.
- Washuta does not have the appearance one would expect of a Native American and has always lived outside the village, in addition to showing all the customs of American society, as she was raised within that setting.
All these features made people question how "indigenous" Washuta is, as they devalued everything she had to say about the situation of Native Americans since they didn't consider her indigenous enough to talk about it.