Andrea Smith. Photo from University of California Riverside
Education | Opinion

Steve Russell: Professor outed as Cherokee fraud once again

Judge and professor Steve Russell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, wonders why Andrea Smith continues to claim Cherokee ancestry even though she doesn't have any proof:
How can you be an Indian without knowing which of your relatives is Indian? How can you be an Indian with no ties to an Indian community? How can you “mistake” whether or not you are tribally enrolled?

By seeking grants and honoraria and academic positions as a Cherokee, she does harm both in the sense of denying these things to real Cherokees and in the sense of representing a Cherokee culture about which she knows little. Still, I can sense that she wants to be Cherokee as desperately as Rachael Dolezal wants to be black.

When the dust settled over the outing of Andrea Smith half a dozen years ago, she had agreed to quit representing as Cherokee and several Cherokees, myself included, agreed to quit harping on the fraud already committed.

Years later, I found out she never quit playing Cherokee and, worse, her sister Justine joined what is beginning to appear to be a family scam, reportedly going so far as to submit a Cherokee Registry card with her name and somebody else’s number on it to a prospective academic employer.

I proceeded to have several emails back and forth with Wikipedia about Andrea Smith’s ethnic fraud, which was endorsed on her Wikipedia profile, to no avail.

Get the Story:
Steve Russell: Rachel Dolezal Outs Andrea Smith Again; Will Anybody Listen This Time? (Indian Country Today 7/1)

Also Today:
Samantha Allen: Meet the Native American Rachel Dolezal (The Daily Beast 6/30)

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