by Adam Zagorin (Washington)
Copyright © 1992 Zagorin/Time
The following is an excerpt from an article published in the August 16, 1998 issue of Time Magazine.
......Then there is the story of Princess Pale Moon, a self-proclaimed American Indian and the head of the American Indian Heritage Foundation in Falls Church, Virginia. Her group sent out flyers pleading for donations to help what it described as the starving Paiute Indians in the Alaskan village of Port Graham. "The icy hand of winter is already reaching for Port Graham, threatening to strangle the little ones in a death grip," ran the direct-mail appeal. But an investigation by the Anchorage DAILY NEWS charged that no one had told the village of the appeal and that it suffered from no food shortage.
Outraged Port Graham officials pointed out that the Paiute tribe is located in Nevada, not in Alaska, and refused to accept the 1,000 lbs. of frozen beef liver that the Indian Heritage Foundation attempted to foist off on the community. An officer of the charity calls such reports exaggerated and claims the whole episode was based on a misunderstanding.
The final affront: some critics say Princess Pale Moon is no princess at all. Born Rita Ann Suntz, "she could just as well claim to be the Queen of England," as one Indian leader put it. But Pale Moon says she is Native American on both sides of her family, and her foundation insists it remains active on behalf of that population. Its latest financial statement claims it distributed nearly $21 million in donated gifts, money and services to needy Indians.......