Top Native American Producer a Fake

Heather Rae, a leading Native American figure in Hollywood, is facing accusations of faking her claims of Cherokee heritage by the Tribal Alliance Against Frauds (TAFF), a watchdog group that wants the Academy of Motion Pictures and Rae’s producer to drop her “false claims”.

Rae, who previously headed the Sundance Institute’s Native American program, claims that her mother was Cherokee, but TAFF insists that she is at best 1/2048th Cherokee. Rae’s alleged usurping of “real American Indian voices and perspectives” and appropriation of their ancestry has led to her being labelled a “Pretendian”.

In addition to her role on the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance, Rae works as a “narrative change strategist” for IllumiNative, an organization that challenges the “invisibility” of Native Americans.

The Tribal Alliance highlights research that shows that Rae’s ancestors are not recognized by the three Cherokee nations.

Only Rae’s fourth great-grandparent, Jane E. Lassiter, has a possible Cherokee link, which would make Rae 1/2048th Indian.

However, this is dubious since Lassiter won acreage in the Cherokee Land Lottery, which was only open to non-Cherokees, according to the Fake Indian project’s research.

Rae has cited her “Indian” ancestry throughout her successful producing and directing career, although she is not an enrolled member of any tribal nation.

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