She is accused of not being related to the Cherokee People.

Inside Higher Ed reports.

Scholar who has made name as Cherokee is accused of not having Native American roots

When the scandal broke last month over Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane, Wash., NAACP leader and adjunct instructor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University who apparently faked being African-American, there was widespread discussion in academe. But Dolezal was not a major player in African-American studies.

The focus on Dolezal has renewed scrutiny of Andrea Smith, associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California at Riverside, who is being accused of faking a Cherokee heritage that many say she lacks. Smith, unlike Dolezal, is a prominent scholar. Her books are considered significant in Native American studies, and her writing and public appearances have routinely included references to her having Cherokee roots.

Smith’s ethnicity also played a role in a tenure dispute. In 2008, the women’s studies department at the University of Michigan (one of two departments in which Smith worked) voted against Smith’s tenure bid there, but the American culture program (the other department in which she worked) backed the bid. Lack of backing from both divisions doomed her chances. In the ensuing protest, graduate students and others who supported Smith accused the women’s studies program of abandoning a talented minority scholar. Some say that Smith has since admitted to not being Cherokee (while the record on that is in dispute). But when her job was threatened, she allowed her defenders to point to her Cherokee status as a reason Michigan should have promoted her.