Los Angeles Times @latimes Bringing L.A. to the world and the world to L.A. Subscribe now: membership.latimes.com/ Dec. 31, 2019 1 min read

Company owners with questionable Native American identity in Alabama have managed to obtain more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer funded minority-business contracts, the L.A. Times has found.

An earlier investigation by @adamelmahrek & @pringlelatimes discovered that contractors with white ancestry got $300 million by claiming to be Cherokee.

In the wake of that investigation, federal, state and local authorities have intensified scrutiny of minority contracting programs across the country.

In California, one man’s claims of Chumash ancestry are raising thorny issues of cultural identity and who can legitimately represent indigenous peoples’ interests.

Ultimately, those missing out on lucrative contracts are federally recognized Native American tribes, and racial and ethnic minorities that these programs were originally intended to help.

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