A Professor Claimed to Be Native American. Did She Know She Wasn’t?

Jay Captain King:

To outsiders, the term “Pretendian” might sound ugly or be discomforting. There is no universal standard for determining who is a “real” Native American and who is not. Native identity is a legal and political classification, based on filial lineage and tribal citizenship. Tribal nations have their own rules for enrollment, and some are more open than others. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, for example, requires twenty-five per cent Akwesasne Mohawk blood; the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma mandates that an ancestor be on its 1937 roll and have an eighth Pawnee blood. The Cherokee Nation, one of the two largest Native groups in the United States, will accept anyone who can prove some lineal descent in specific records.