Opinion

Tiffany Midge: I knew Rachel Dolezal back when she was indigenous






Rachel Dolezal. Photo: TEDx UIDaho

Rachel Dolezal is back in the news with a new book and a new name! But did you know she used to be indigenous? Poet Tiffany Midge, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, breaks her silence on her experience with this racial shape-shifter:
In 2015, the media exploded with coverage about a woman who claimed she was African American. Her name is Rachel Dolezal, and her name has since become synonymous with racial scandal and identity confusion. While the world watched Dolezal’s tall tales unfold, and while her web of lies and deception grew more and more tangled with each passing (news)day, I inwardly sighed and tried to impress upon my social circle, those IRL and on social media, “this is nothing new for us, Natives.” And to borrow an apropos lyric “that don’t impress me much” from Shania Twain, a white pop star from the 90s, whose own identity was not without its share of complications (her stepfather was Ojibway).

Well, wouldn’t you know it, like the Eveready Energizer bunny, Dolezal is back in the news again, giving interviews and promoting her new book, so I thought this would be an opportunity to share my riveting story about the time I personally met Rachel Dolezal—back when she used to be Indigenous! Yes, that’s right, Rachel Dolezal used to be Native American! An obscure fact only myself and a handful of people are privy to. Today, I’m breaking my silence.

It happened over a decade ago when I was writing an investigative think piece in response to pretendianism. Critical questions I wished to explore were, who are these pretendian persons? Where did they come from? Why are they here? Why did that one steal my job? What’s with all the turquoise accessorizing and black shoe polish? I needed some answers.

Read More on the Story:
Red Like Me: I Knew Rachel Dolezal Back When She Was Indigenous (Indian Country Media Network 4/16)