Iron Eyes Cody is arguably the most well known of the modern imposters. Iron Eyes real name was Espera Oscar de Corti, and he was the child of Sicilian immigrants. However, by the time he began to appear in movies and on television he had adopted the persona of a Cherokee/Cree Indian.
He appeared in over 200 movies, but it was his role as the "crying Indian" in a Keep America Beautiful PSA that he is most famous for. It was only after his death that he was revealed to be of Italian ancestry.
Forrest Carter might be the strangest of all the Indian frauds. He wrote a popular book, The Education of Little Tree, that purported to be an account of him being raised by his Cherokee grandparents. It was full of Indian hookum. Prof. Rennard Strickland wrote in a foreword to the original paperback edition, "Students of Native American life discovered the book to be as accurate as it was mystical and romantic.
In fact, Forrest Carter was the pen name for Asa Carter, a white supremacist, member of the Alabama Klu Klux Klan and a speech writer for George Wallace.
Grey Owl was born in England as Archibald Belaney but took on the identity as a member of the Ojibwe Indian tribe. He began his Indian life as a trapper, but moved on to becoming a conservationist where he gained considerable fame as an author and lecturer.
After his death it was revealed that he was in fact English. Many of his books were removed from publication because of the resulting scandal.
However, in his autobiography Long Lance he claimed to be the son of a Blackfoot Chief. He gained a considerable amount of fame because of the book. When it revealed that his autobiography was fiction he was shunned by polite society. He eventually committed suicide.