ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, July 1, 2019

Contractors with White Ancestry got $300 million Claiming to be Native American

In St. Louis, MO, a contractor recently was awarded a lucrative government contract set aside for minority businesses by claiming to be Cherokee.  He was found out and stripped of his minority status.

“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.  The minority-owned certifications and contract work were issued in every West Coast state, New Mexico and Idaho, Texas and four Southern states, several states in the Midwest and as far east as Pennsylvania.”

There are only three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, but members of unrecognized, self-described Cherokee groups have received more than $300 million dollars in funds set aside for minorities. 

This, of course, is infuriating, but the “vetting process for Native American applicants appears weak in many cases, government records show, and officials often accept flimsy documentation or unverified claims of discrimination based on ethnicity. The process is often opaque, with little independent oversight.”

People trying to milk the system this way should be identified and action should, if appropriate, be taken against them to further deter such despicable contractual conduct. It is a federal crime, for instance, to sell arts and crafts falsely labeled as Native American.  Perhaps many different groups and gender identifications are discriminated against to some extent in government contracting, but existing law was created to remedy a very real problem: the white “old boys club.” Sorry for saying the truth, but the problem is real and needs to be addressed and remedied.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/contractsprof_blog/2019/07/contractors-with-white-ancestry-got-300-million-claiming-to-be-native-american.html

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