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Andrea Smith

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From event notice:

--- Quote ---Andrea Smith is of the Cherokee clan and is a longtime anti-violence and Native American activist and scholar who has published widely on issues of violence against women of color.
--- End quote ---

From comment thread:

--- Quote ---Sadly, this conference has been suckered in by a fake Cherokee or as we like to call them “wannabes.” Andrea Smith is not a Cherokee and neither is she part of the Cherokee community that would give her agency to speak to the issues facing our people.
--- End quote ---


--- Quote ---There is no “Cherokee clan.” There are three federally recognized tribes that have seven traditional clans, and more clans in ancient times. Andrea Smith *might* possibly be a person of Cherokee descent, but she is not enrolled in any of the Cherokee tribes.
--- End quote ---

plus scroll down for comment here

--- Quote ---You are mistaken about the issue in Andrea Smith's case.  It's not about enrollment.  She's not a descendent.  She's not a resident of a Cherokee community.  It really does not matter which credential you accept.  She's a fake and in spite of the understanding Richard Allen of the Cherokee Nation government and I thought we had that she would quit making the false claim and we would quit bringing up her name...the fakery continues.
--- End quote ---

She's mentioned several times before in threads. Positive ones.
Plus several posts quoting her articles.

I also received an account some time ago about Smith confronting exploiter Amylee Swartz at a women's conference.
Another post mentions she helped "retire" Swartz.

There's also a brief mention of Steve Russell saying Smith is not Cherokee.

It seems that Russell is saying that Smith does not use the claim of ancestry to her own profit the way Ward Churrchill.
The same message notes she was not recommended to be renewed for her position. But there's no mention of why.
This  blog has more details.
Smith's supporters.
The full article

I'm learning as I go along so please let me know if I've gone astray in my understanding. I very much appreciate this chance to learn.

If Andrea Smith is a person of distant Indian ancestry - ideally wouldn't she represent herself as exactly that?

Sounds like characterizing herself as "of the Cherokee clan" is a mistake, ideally wouldn't she know that?

Her main identifications listed for conferences include "of the Cherokee clan" and "Native American activist and scholar". Is this fine even if she actually has distant ancestry?

If she is misrepresenting herself but is doing authentically good work - does the good work cancel out the misrepresentation?

One reason I'm thinking all this over is because I'm aware that in the past I would have given conference speakers with those public identifications extra credit, extra creedence - as I would have for instance for Ward Churchill.

When a public figure states "I am (fill in blank)" does the fact that they are a public figure give us more permission to analyze their claims?

Pono Aloha:
And do they gain notoriety and become public figures precisely because of their false claims? Would anyone care what she was doing if she was not "Indian"?

There is the appeal to authority - if this person says that I am Native, then it is assumed that when they speak on Native topics, they have more import in what they say.  People listen to them more carefully since many don't have any direct contact with Native peoples.  There is an implied assumption (silly I know) between the audience and the speaker that the speaker speaks for all Indians.

Imagine if "Iron Eyes" Cody was simply an Italian.  Would people hire him for movie roles?  Would schools have him come and speak to them?  Would he have been the poster child for the anti-littering campaign?  The attention and benefits that he got came from a lie.  If your public life is based on a lie, then why would anyone think that you are trustworthy no matter how many "good things" you do?

So yes, their background is under investigation if they are a public figure.  Consider the John Edwards mess where he took campaign money - not to run for President but to hide a mistress.  Would anyone give him money if they knew it wasn't going to his campaign? 


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