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A social media figure who built a following by creating “Native” content has scrubbed references to her supposed tribal affiliations after admitting she had made a “mistake” in doing so. Corinne Perera amassed over 100,000 followers on TikTok and more than 40,000 on Instagram with posts connected to her claimed Lakota and Mohawk identities. She purported to educate her audience about issues facing American Indians, often asking for monetary contributions for content about colonization, assimilation and cultural appropriation. But after Native people asked questions about her background, Perera removed “Lakota” and “Mohawk” from her @misscorinne86 biography on TikTok, which had become her largest platform. She also hid her @misscorinne86 account on Instagram, making it inaccessible to the general public despite having used it in the past to solicit donations and to drum up business for her “Indigenous-owned” consulting firm. And in a public post on Facebook last week, Perera admitted she was wrong to have claimed affiliations with sovereign tribal nations to which she doesn’t belong. She blamed the “mistake” on missteps her family made while researching the genealogy of “one of my grandfathers.” “I was young and learning about how to step into indigenous community in the Bay Area and claimed my nations without having enrollment. This was a mistake,” Perera wrote on January 19 from an account where she uses the name Corinne Grey Cloud. “I should have been more open and honest about not being enrolled and being a descendant,” Perera added.
Additionally, Beulah Rice identified her family as originating from Ohio, according to records from the U.S. Census Bureau. The geographic locale doesn’t exactly fit with the claims made by Perera and her biological brother, both of whom have said they are “Kahnawake Mohawk” descendants. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawá:ke is a sovereign First Nation located in Quebec, Canada, almost 500 miles from the “Mohawk territory” where their grandfather once lived. “He is the most Native out of all of us and he doesn’t know anything,” Perera once said of her grandfather in an interview published in April 2020. “He is fine with not reconnecting with his culture but me and my brother we are not fine without that connection,” she added. Incidentally, a 2015 story featuring Perera’s younger brother has not been removed from PowWows.Com. But there are indications that modifications were made to the page — the cached version carries one of the “Corinne” bylines while the current version states it was “Posted By PowWow Articles.” Additionally, the photos at the top and bottom of the page depict a person matching Perera. The sibling relationship is not disclosed in the story, in either the version that was cached or in the one that has been modified.
Corinne Rice-Grey Cloud (Mohawk/Lakota) shares how being a social media influencer and #Auntie to 32,000 nieces and nephews comes with major responsibilities. #Indigenouswomenrising #womenshistory #CSQ #matriarchy @misscorinne86 @corinne.oestreichhttps://t.co/4NFGqG1cFD pic.twitter.com/YxHxJAoIn4— Cultural Survival (@CSORG) March 12, 2021
@misscorinne86 visible and active on TikTok, she recently prohibited anyone from commenting on her posts, the first of which dates to late September 2019. The most recent post is from January 4, 2022, though she indicated it was “reuploaded” because an earlier version was “taken down” on the platform. In the clip, a visibly pregnant Perera holds what appears to be a firearm in a scene that supposedly represents the way the “US Gov” has mistreated Native peoples. Despite shutting down engagement on her TikTok account, Perera has been unable to stop reaction to the controversy surrounding her tribal affiliation claims. Native women have been commenting and sharing their own video responses to her shifting story. In one post that is publicly visible, an Ojibwe woman decried @misscorinne86 for being “paid to speak on our traumas like they were hers.” “She’s been making money off of pretending to be indigenous!!!” the user @star.ishkode wrote in another post, utilizing the duet feature on TikTok to call attention to the irony of a non-Native person denouncing another non-Native as a “colonizer.”
@star.ishkode #duet with @misscorinne86 #nativetiktok #reztok #rezfamily #fyp ♬ its quite aint no back talk – keileigh hope kiki
@vietmni #duet with @misscorinne86 pretendian alert 🚨 im SHOCKED but theres posts on Facebook just look her name up #nativetiktok ♬ Know Yourself – Drake
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