The head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she's white but has portrayed herself as black.

Rachel Dolezal tells The Spokesman-Review newspaper (http://bit.ly/1MuATMc ) that it's a complex issue, saying, "I don't know that everyone would understand that."

She's president of the civil-rights organization's local branch, an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University and chairwoman of Spokane's police overnight board.

The mayor and City Council president say an inquiry is underway into whether she violated city polices when she listed herself as white, black and American Indian on her board application.

Dolezal's mother says the family is Czech, Swedish and German, with some Native American roots.

Ruthanne Dolezal says her daughter would have been more effective if she were honest.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com