October 4, 2023

An ethnic research professor at UC Riverside whose claims of Cherokee heritage have been in query for 15 years and stirred public outcry has agreed to resign following a criticism by 13 college members.

Underneath a separation settlement signed in January, Andrea Smith shall be allowed to proceed her employment as a full-time college member till August 2024, when she is going to develop into eligible to obtain full retirement advantages and the honorary title of emeritus.

Nonetheless, Smith, a tenured professor employed at UC Riverside since 2008, has agreed that the college is not going to listing her emeritus standing on its web site directories.

RELATED: ‘I’m a White individual:’ UC Berkeley scholar apologizes for claiming to be Native American

Smith’s resignation staves off an administrative investigation and probably substantial authorized prices to the college. John Warren, a spokesperson for UC Riverside, stated in an e-mail Wednesday that the negotiated separation settlement brings a well timed conclusion to Smith’s continued employment with the college.

“Investigations of a tenured college member for alleged misconduct have potential for litigation and appeals, and may unfold over the course of years,” Warren stated.


Jacqueline Keeler, a contract journalist, writer, Navajo Nation citizen and a descendant of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, stated the world of academia has develop into a breeding floor for “pretendians,” those that falsely declare indigenous identification for skilled, political, and financial achieve.

“Academia has develop into a pretendian manufacturing unit,” Keeler stated in a phone interview Wednesday, Aug. 30.

She believes universities, standing behind federal civil rights and discrimination legal guidelines, have primarily given their college carte blanche to perpetuate false claims of ancestral ties to indigenous individuals or different races. Such was the case at UC Riverside, she stated.

“I believe the college’s declare they had been petrified of a lawsuit is ridiculous,” Keeler stated. “(Smith’s) retirement will price greater than a lawsuit, and there’s no foundation for one as a result of there’s no proof she’s Native (American).”

School criticism

Smith’s resignation was prompted by a criticism to the college obtained final August from 13 college members. They accused Smith of creating fraudulent claims to Native American identification in violation of the School Code of Conduct, in line with the separation settlement.

Smith, in line with the settlement, denied and disputed the allegations contained within the criticism. The college subsequently engaged in discussions along with her to resolve the matter, and Smith agreed to resign.

The college has agreed to compensate Smith as much as $5,000 for lawyer charges she incurred in resolving the criticism, in line with the settlement.

‘Will all the time be Cherokee’

Smith, who just isn’t registered as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, didn’t reply to e-mail and phone messages in search of remark.

However in 2015, amid ongoing media controversy surrounding her questionable ties to the Cherokee Nation, Smith launched an announcement on her weblog saying, “I’ve all the time been, and can all the time be Cherokee.”

“I’ve persistently recognized myself primarily based on what I knew to be true,” Smith stated in her 2015 weblog submit. She stated there had been “innumerable false statements” made about her within the media.

“It’s my hope that extra Indigenous peoples will reply the decision to work for social justice with out worry of being subjected to violent identity-policing,” Smith stated.

15-year historical past

Controversy surrounding Smith’s Cherokee heritage reportedly started after she was denied tenure on the College of Michigan in 2008. She subsequently moved on and took the job at UC Riverside that very same 12 months.

The query surrounding Smith’s alleged ancestral ties to the Cherokee Nation generated curiosity from a large number of Native American students and activists, who dove deep into her background.

Some had been even commissioned by Smith herself to analysis her family tree.

David Cornsilk, a retired genealogist, citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, stated Smith employed him within the Nineties to analysis her family tree on each her mom’s and father’s aspect. He stated he discovered no hint of Cherokee ancestry in Smith’s bloodline.

Smith’s questionable Cherokee heritage has additionally been broadly reported within the mainstream media, significantly within the New York Occasions, together with an expose in New York Occasions Journal in Could 2021.

4 months after the journal expose was printed, UC Riverside posted an announcement on its web site on “indigenous identification affiliation,” insisting “upon transparency and integrity in issues of Indigenous affiliation and identification” by all college.

Warren couldn’t touch upon why the college didn’t act sooner.

“Allegations of misconduct by a school member are a personnel matter and guarded by privateness legal guidelines, and, with few exceptions, are usually not disclosed,” Warren stated in his e-mail Wednesday.

Keeler, the writer and Navajo Nation citizen, stated Smith is amongst a number of figures in academia who’ve made headlines lately over false identification claims. Others embrace Jessica Krug and Elizabeth Hoover.