Two white contractors in Missouri are under fire after they reportedly raked in $300 million by lying about their ethnic backgrounds.
According to The LA Times Bill Buell, the owner of Premier Demolition Inc., received over $300,000 from the city of St. Louis, Missouri after he said he was Native American even though his
“ancestors are identified as white in census and other government records. And his claim to being a Native American rests on his membership in a self-described Cherokee group that is not recognized as a legitimate tribe.”
An Los Angeles Times investigation found that,
“Since 2000, the federal government and authorities in 18 states, including California, have awarded more than $300 million under minority contracting programs to companies whose owners made unsubstantiated claims of being Native American.”
Rocky Miller, a state lawmaker in Missouri and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, the largest of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, said,
“It’s infuriating. They’re enriching themselves based on a nonexistent recognition.”
Rebecca Nagle, a community organizer and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, also added,
“It’s taking those resources not just from our community, but from all communities of color. It’s really problematic.”
As of now, the companies have received no punishment other than having their Native American “status” revoked. The Small Business Administration is expected to conduct a thorough investigation of their records, News One reports.
This is the latest case of a white person being outed for claiming to be Native American. Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren made media headlines last year after The Washington Post obtained Warren’s registration card for the State Bar of Texas back in 1986 where she lied by identifying as an “American Indian”.
Warren went on to apologize, saying, “I can’t go back. But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted,” she told the Post.
Warren went on to release a DNA test last October to try to prove she was part Native American after Trump called her “Pocahontas” and claimed she was lying about her heritage. The test was conducted by a Stanford University professor and showed that Warren has a Native American ancestor going back six to 10 generations, making her between 1/32nd and 1/1,024th American Indian.
Looks like some white people have found a loophole with claiming to be Native Americans. Press play below for more on this story.