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Research Needed / Re: Gowa Peshewa - Doc Macaki Peshewa relative?
« Last post by Sandy S on November 28, 2023, 09:45:04 pm »
I want to make sure we capture this comment on an earlier posted Facebook link

"I messaged a woman in our community that I had been buying products from, that had long used photos of Gowa to promote her products. I expected they were close, but did not know they had known each other since they were young girls. I won’t share everything because some of it would be even more damaging beyond Gowa’s Shawnee claims, but she did admit that Gowa was raised in the community, by a man that ‘tricked’ an entire group of people into thinking he was Shawnee. Then the goes on to defend Gowa’s actions because of the psychological damage inflicted by him, giving her a pass to profit off of Shawnee claims because she cannot hold Gowa accountable due to this twisted environment. "
Research Needed / Re: Leah Yellowbird - Minnesota Artist
« Last post by Diana on November 28, 2023, 09:22:56 pm »
Advancedsmite, I read her father's obituary and it appears he only had brothers. So, this so called Native aunt is probably on her mother's side.
Research Needed / Re: Nathon Breu, UW-Milwaukee
« Last post by Advanced Smite on November 28, 2023, 08:48:32 pm »
Thank you for providing additional information and context, ojib22. It sounds like Nathon Breu showed up with a false claim and was welcomed by one individual based on it...just like his mentor, Margaret Noodin.

An interesting commonality between Nathon and Margaret is participation in their high school bands. Both played percussion. Margaret would go on to start multiple "Native American" drum groups; in one of which Nathon was an active participant. An actual Native American student at UW-Milwaukee questioned the handling of the big drum by one of these groups and was allegedly reported for harassment to UW-Milwaukee campus police based on the accusations of Margaret and Nathon. Allegedly Margaret and Nathon were unable to provide any evidence of the supposed harassment. Based on Nathon and Margaret's claims, the Native American student was allegedly deterred and/or prevented from attending a class that included Nathon Breu as a student. There is a public Facebook post containing these allegations. Although it's a public post, I'm trying to get permission from the former UW-Milwaukee student before sharing the actual link and screenshot.

The State of Wisconsin has a helpful website for looking up Circuit Court records (which are public under state law): Nathon Breu (note the unique spelling of "Nathon") pled guilty to several misdemeanors and had a felony dismissed from charges entered on 5/4/2020. He accepted a deferred prosecution agreement that appears to have been completed and resulted in the dismissal of the felony. Nathon lists his race as "American Indian or Alaskan Native" which is incredibly distasteful behavior and evidence of the harm done by pretendians. Nathon (a white man) now has his crimes included in "American Indian or Alaskan Native" statistics. This is also interesting in light of the harassment accusations allegedly made by Nathon against the former UW-Milwaukee student.   

Post Attachments: I've attached an article from The Oshkosh Northwestern that was published on 5/15/1992 and lists Nathon Breu as a member of the Omro High School percussion ensemble. The other attachment is from the 1982 Chaska High School yearbook and shows "P 0'Donnell" (Margaret previously went by "Peg/Peggy O'Donnell") in the percussion ensemble.

I'm not sure how NAFPS administrators/moderators make the decision to move from Research Needed to Frauds. Can an administrator or moderator advise on what else is needed?
Research Needed / Leah Yellowbird - Minnesota Artist
« Last post by Advanced Smite on November 28, 2023, 06:04:29 pm »
I was contacted by an individual unable to post to NAFPS for help determining whether they should promote an upcoming event featuring Minnesota artist Leah Yellowbird. The individual felt something was “off” about Leah Yellowbird’s description of her ancestry. I made the decision to post Leah Yellowbird to NAFPS after finding evidence that she is falsely claiming Algonquin, Metis, and Anishinaabe ancestry.

Leah Yellowbird is a Minnesota-based artist that claims to be “First Nations Algonquin-Metis and Anishinaabe”. Based on publicly available information, I believe Leah Yellowbird was born Leah Kay Hanson to Edward Rudolph and Pamela Kay (Titus) Hanson in International Falls, Minnesota. Other names Leah has gone by include Leah Rancourt, Leah Cowlishaw, Leah Rancourt-Cowlishaw, Leah McMurray, and Leah Cowlishaw-McMurray. Leah Yellowbird appears to be a professional name. I was unable to find records indicating it’s her legal name. 

This is how Leah describes herself on her website:
Intricate, graceful, thought-provoking, and prolific — these are all the words that have been used to describe the elaborate masterwork of Leah Yellowbird. Originally a traditional bead-worker, she identifies strongly with her First Nations Algonquin-Metis and Anishinaabe heritage. At a young age, Yellowbird learned from her extended family how to follow traditional beading patterns and has been working in this medium her entire life. This knowledge, combined with her creative eye and exploration of color, has spilled over into the realm of painting, and she is now well-regarded for her work in all mediums. Leah Yellowbird is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Source: Leah Yellowbird Art – About Us
Direct Link:
Archive Link:

…she identifies strongly with her First Nations Algonquin-Metis and Anishinaabe heritage. At a young age, Yellowbird learned from her extended family how to follow traditional beading patterns and has been working in this medium her entire life.” This is an unusual description because a specific community isn’t mentioned. What is “Algonquin-Metis”? Which extended family members taught Leah to bead?

Leah is generally vague about her family but, back in 2016, she was featured on PBS North Native Report and gave a few details:
Transcription begins at 1:31.
"Leah's paintings come to her in her dreams and the reflections of her Ojibwe heritage."

Transcription begins at 2:41.
"I'm really trying to stick with a traditional style that my auntie was a big part of giving to me. The double line of the white around all the edges was very important to her to always have that double line of beads. And I understand it's a very, very old style. And even my regalia is beaded in that way. And I always have older people come up, elders, and ask me which grandma beaded my regalia, and it's me. Because I've kept my auntie's old style, but I've given a little contemporary twist to the colors and the combinations of the colors. But I haven't seen anything like what I'm doing. I don't usually just think of an image. I usually wake up, and I've been given the image."

Transcription begins at 5:03.
"When the wolf hunt was really in the news big here in Minnesota, I did a piece. And there was a lot of arrows in it, because it was like the government was piercing the heart of the Anishinaabe people. And I put a lot of strawberries in it, and all the strawberries were bleeding. And the wolves had targets on them. But I think if you weren't in the community, in the Indian community, when you looked at it, you saw a beautiful piece with raindrops that were red. So, I think to me, the harder part is explaining the concept of why instead of what. The symmetry is definitely important for the patterns that my auntie did. Everything was probably much more symmetrical than I do now."

Transcription begins at 8:01.
"I'm a native artist. I definitely will continue in this vein. I think all my life, I was looking for something. I didn't know what it was. And when I started painting again, the inner peace that I so desperately needed came. I think that we're all on a journey of some sort. My journey is a healing journey from a long, long time ago."

Source: YouTube - PBS North Native Report Season 11 Episode 7
Direct Link:

Leah talks about her “auntie” teaching her bead. Who is this auntie? She has one maternal aunt that I’ve been unable to connect to any tribal community. I’m still finishing genealogy, but at this point have found Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, and French Canadian. It’s possible Leah could have a “Native Woman” from the 1700s in her French-Canadian genealogy, like 80% of white French-Canadians, but I’m not seeing anything that explains Leah’s claims.

Does anyone have information that supports Leah’s claims?

Leah is selling art at the Macrostie Art Center listed under a “Buy Native” category.
Source: Macrostie Art Center – Buy Native
Direct Link:
Archive Link:

In 2021, Leah gave an Artist Talk at the Hopkins Center for the Arts (Minnesota) and discussed her Native American ancestry, auntie, and selling her art.
Transcription begins at 0:31.
"I'm Ojibwe. Anishinaabe is another word for that. And I'm Metis and Algonquin."

Transcription begins at 1:18.
"My auntie when she passed she left me her sketch book of all of her designs. And I don't necessarily use them for every piece but -um- I love to just flip through it and sometimes it's just an outline of something that will -you know- spawn something else. And so, to me it always comes from- it comes from the people who came before me. It's all comes from my ancestors. So you know to me, they're giving me this."

Transcription begins at 19:09.
"I have had a couple of pieces not sell and I have said to my agent “What do people say about that piece? Why is it still here?” And she'll say well they don't really like this part of it or that part of it. So, I stand back and take a look at that part. And I’ve redone two pieces -not a ton- just a little tiny bit, put them in the next show, and they sold immediately."

Transcription begins at 29:38.
"I do love to laugh. I didn't laugh a lot as a kid. I had a different kind of situation as a child."

Source: YouTube - Leah Yellowbird Artist Talk June 24, 2021 - Hopkins Center for the Arts MN
Direct Link:

Can anyone more knowledgeable about the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) provide guidance as to whether Leah may be in violation of IACA?

I found a picture of Leah at an event in 2016 that makes me concerned she is using red/brown face. The picture shows Leah with make-up on her face that is significantly darker than her ear/neck. I’ve uploaded the picture to this post and it can also be found at these links:
Direct Link:
Archive Link:

I've been unable to find a source where Leah commits to her alleged Native American ancestry being through her maternal or paternal family. This makes genealogy time consuming as all lines need to be researched and posted. I hope to post more detailed information soon. Here are a few sources that connect Leah to her parents, Edward Rudolph Hanson and Pamela Kay (Titus) Hanson:

The obituary of Leah’s father, Edward Rudolph Hanson:
Direct Link:
Archive Link:

The obituary of Leah’s maternal grandfather, Richard Willis Titus:
Direct Link:
Archive Link:
Frauds / Re: Ahna Skop, Professor
« Last post by Sparks on November 28, 2023, 04:57:23 pm »
Ahna Skop was the subject of controversy in 2020 when she argued that making jokes about worms was the tip of the iceberg when it came to making jokes about marginalized identities.
Someone on Reddit noticed the unusual way that Ahna Skop determined she was Native American after seeing a post about Wormageddon 2020.

There is also a Reddit thread this year with a link to the present topic here in NAFPS, with 19 comments so far:

Wormageddon Scientist Called out for Cherokee Ancestry Claims
I posted this to r/ScienceUncensored, but I wanted folks here to see because this person was mentioned in this subreddit in like 2020.(
Ok so remember in like summer 2020 there was that Wormageddon thing on Twitter, where a prominent C.elegans researcher, Dr. Ahna Skop, compared making jokes about nematodes to making jokes about people of color? She basically got dunked on by all of twitter and there were several articles:
Her time in the spotlight allowed people to examine and question her Cherokee identity. I think it has finally caught up to her because this forum that posts about people faking Native identities, a prominent user who recently exposed an activist in Madison, WI and became international news
has zeroed in on Dr. Skop and the evidence against her Native American claims are wild and really contradict what she says. I recommended people read and discuss the forum post and this person will be posting. I know she's a prominent scientist who has had high impact publications, bases her whole career on POC and inclusivity, and has never been called out. Here is a link to a forum post.
Etcetera / Re: Buffy Sainte-Marie denies she misled public about Indigenous ancestry
« Last post by Laurel on November 28, 2023, 10:33:17 am »
At least in the USA, adopted people do have fake birth certificates.

The Canadian government didn't change her DNA, though.
Research Needed / Re: Nathon Breu, UW-Milwaukee
« Last post by ojib22 on November 28, 2023, 03:41:36 am »
Boozhoo, I’m not sure how much proof or information is needed to move someone from “Research Needed” to “Known Frauds” but I believe we are at the edge of the tipping point with Nathon. I have spoken with multiple people about Nathon’s claims and I want to address a few questions that were posed on the thread. I’m not going to use the names of the people who provided the information to me publicly but am open to having a private discussion. #1, regarding Nathon’s dad, Robert Breu is the biological father & has a relationship with Nathon. #2, Nathon’s “Dad” from Lac du Flambeau is Bobby “Bullet” St Germaine who befriended Nathon in his late teens. The two met through ceremonies based on Nathon’s then claims of being Chickasaw. Bobby “adopted” Nathon along the way. Bobby is a nice man, does a lot of work with kids, is from LDF and has lived in the south central Wisconsin area for many years, (none of this is intended to be negative towards Bobby) #3 Nathon’s “Uncle Ginew Makwaba” from Keeseekoose First Nation is actually the uncle of a former romantic partner; #4 Nathon did not attend school in LDF, his description of the old grade school as a ‘shack’ is completely inaccurate. The school was old and repairing/replacing old pipes and systems was not financially sound, but it was far from being a shack. #5 I used the genealogical info provided by Advanced Smite, (double checked family members on and then checked the Chickasaw Dawes roll for any surnames on Nathon’s mothers side and found nothing. That’s likely why that claim was abandoned for claims of Ojibwe heritage. Anyway, I have typed this on my phone so forgive any difficulties in reading. I feel it is clear that Nathon and his mother have scammed people for many years, and taken up space not meant for them.
Etcetera / Re: Buffy Sainte-Marie denies she misled public about Indigenous ancestry
« Last post by Sparks on November 27, 2023, 04:23:31 pm »
Like Sparks points out, we could fill dozens of threads just with all the talk about this in a short time. The fact that these revelations are far too late to do much good is part of why.

The endless commentaries in every possible channel world wide has continued, and whatever one chooses to  report on is just a drop in the ocean. However, today I received a news letter which I'll quote briefly from:

Late Thursday, her publicist shared her acceptance of the Emmy that contained a response to critics that questioned her Indigenous roots. Native News Online has chosen to publish the entire statement:
The attack on my character is full of mistakes and omissions. While I will not stoop to respond to every false allegation, I feel it is important to clarify two things.

First, the central proof used to question my identity is a story fabricated by my abuser and repeated by two members of my estranged family I don’t even know. This has been incredibly re-traumatizing for me and unfair to all involved. It hurts me deeply to discover that my estranged family grew up scared of me and thinking these lies because of a letter I sent intended to protect me from further abuse from my brother. I want to be clear, I do not blame them. They, of course, want to believe their father. I have evidence I was sexually abused by my brother, but I can’t tolerate discomforting his children even more. I wish them only the best and hope they move forward from this and find peace, as I am trying to do.

The second is my “birth certificate”. As many Indigenous people know, and the National Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation of Canada has stated, it was common for birth certificates of Indian children to be “created” by western governments after they were adopted or taken away from their families. So it was quite shocking to me to hear a city clerk say she had 100% confidence in its authenticity. I have never known if my birth certificate was real. I have used it because it was the only document I’ve had my whole life. I’ve heard from countless people with similar stories – who do not know where they are from and feel victimized by these allegations and one-sided reporting as I do.

How credible is that second part? — Read it all here:
I think it should go to archives.
Research Needed / Re: Gowa Peshewa - Doc Macaki Peshewa relative?
« Last post by educatedindian on November 26, 2023, 02:36:07 pm »
"Peshewa" hired a law firm and is making noises about suing. Which of course doesn't make her sound nervous at all about her claims being questioned.

Below is their two emails followed by my two responses.

Dear Sir or Madam:   
I am writing to you on behalf of Ms. Gowa Peshewa regarding false and derogatory statements published on  your site  about Ms. Peshewa’s race, ancestral lineage, and character.  Such action  can be construed as libel since you have expressed in written or other graphic form statements that tend to injure Ms. Peshewa’s character or reputation and thereby expose her to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule.   

You are hereby given formal demand to remove all of such libelous statements from publication within seven (7) days and cease and desist from publishing such statements.  If you continue to make such statements, Ms. Peshewa will have no alternative but to file suit against you for libel and to seek the full measure of her damages as permitted by law. 
Very truly  yours,   
Merritt,  Webb, Wilson & Caruso, PLLC   
Shandi L. Fleeman

Ms. Peshewa hereby renews her demand that you immediately remove such libelous statements from publication within forty-eight (48) hours and cease and  desist from publishing such defamatory statements in the future.   

Ms. Peshewa remains desirous of an amicable resolution in this matter; however, if you fail to timely resolve this matter with removal of the defamatory statements, Ms. Peshewa may be forced to pursue further legal action.  You may forward your written confirmation of the resolution of this matter to our office.  Thank you in advance for your immediate attention.

 This must be a record for incompetence by a law firm So many errors that a first year law student, or even the average layman, would not make.

1. It's been black letter law for over 50 years that either pointing out or arguing someone is a race or ethnicity other than what they claim is NOT libel. Only a racist who hates other races or believed them inferior would claim it is.

2. "Peshewa" is under Research Needed for almost two years. She's not under Frauds. At least not yet. That's because she's gone to some effort to hide her legal or birth name.

3. All the information in the Research Needed thread is reposted from other sites, including her own claims. Perhaps she should send empty legal threats based on bad lazy research to herself. Or to the many others who questions her claims.

4. So far all evidence points to her being a Rachel Dolezal type imposter. Her relatives are or were very obvious frauds, Jerry Dill and "Macaki." They were part of obviously fraudulent organizations, TN Indian Council, Remnant Band Shawnee, and NAC Strawberry Plains.

It takes all of five minutes to see that any of these organizations are either whites who are obvious imposters or whites who kid themselves based on dubious family stories. Your research is incredibly lazy, if you did any beyond naively taking her word.

5. Didn't the fact that she carefully avoids naming any alleged tribe set off alarms for you? Didn't her dressing in a bad imitation of Plains Indian regalia rather than as local tribes actually wear set off alarms? Or are you that ignorant of the most basic things about the claims of your client?

6. We do welcome all information that could clear up these matters. If she could give her actual legal birth name and her tribe, that would go a long way.

We'd also gladly post any statement of hers in the thread.

I'm going to post these emails between us so all can see.

It's also quite telling that she claims to be raising funds for public education and a nonprofit, but can afford a law firm.

As a follow up I forgot to include in the previous email:

We have quite good genealogists. If "Peshewa" hasn't researched her claims of ancestry (clearly, her law firm lazily never did) we could do them for you .

Most white southerners with claims of Native ancestry actually have Black ancestors, usually because of a slaveowner who raped his slaves. They then tried to hide their Black ancestors because of their self hating racist shame at being part Black. This certainly would fit with her screaming "Libel!" the way segregationists and other white supremacists once did.

Truth is an absolute defense to libel. That's been black letter law for some time. We have no falsehoods on our site. In over 25 years we have never been sued. But we get empty threats to sue all the time that always lead to nothing.

We have members from dozens of tribes all over the US, Canada, Latin America, and Pacific Islanders, including  academics, activists, and members of tribal and band gov'ts. We are widely used as a resource by universities, museums, news organizations, and people from all walks.

But then you would already know this if you actually read our site or researched us. So you may wish to actually question your client instead of wasting everyone's time some more.

We hope she'll be honest and tell us her legal birth name so we can research her family history and settle this matter.
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