The Sunday Read: ‘The Native Scholar Who Wasn’t’

More than a decade ago, a prominent academic was exposed for having faked her Cherokee ancestry. Why has her career continued to thrive?,

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The Sunday Read: ‘The Native Scholar Who Wasn’t’

More than a decade ago, a prominent academic was exposed for having faked her Cherokee ancestry. Why has her career continued to thrive?

Produced by Elyssa Dudley and Tracy Mumford; edited by Mike Benoist; written and introduced by Sarah Viren; and narrated by Julia Whelan.

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June 6, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET

Andrea Smith had long been an outspoken activist and academic in the Native American community. Called an icon of “Native American feminism,” she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work and has aligned herself with prominent activists such as Angela Davis.

Last fall, however, a number of academics, including Ms. Smith, were outed as masquerading as Black, Latino or Indigenous.

While many of them explained themselves and the lies they told, Ms. Smith never did. Why?


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Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Carson Leigh Brown, Anna Diamond, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Perez, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison and Kate Winslett. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.

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