A list of allegedly fake Native Americans has begun circulating in tribal and academic circles, accusing 195 people of falsely claiming an Indian identity for personal gain.
The “Alleged Pretendians List” is the creation of Jacqueline Keeler, a Native American writer and activist who has spent years busting fakers in politics and academia.
"Ethnic fraud, particularly against native people is huge. There is an element of narcissism. There is a lack of empathy because they will retaliate against native people who try to expose their fraud."
Racism, Narrative, Oops
Two artists are facing federal charges that they faked Native American heritage to sell works at downtown Seattle galleries.
Lewis Anthony Rath, 52, of Maple Falls, and Jerry Chris Van Dyke, 67, also known as Jerry Witten, of Seattle, have been charged separately with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits misrepresentation in marketing American Indian or Alaska Native arts and crafts.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Rath falsely claimed to be a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and Van Dyke falsely claimed membership in the Nez Perce Tribe. The goods included masks, totem poles and pendants sold in 2019 at Raven’s Nest Treasure in Pike Place Market and at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront.
"They are also all monetizing their claims."