Rachel Dolezal 1 year later: 'I don't have any regrets about how I identify'

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Rachel Dolezal writing book on racial identity, has no regrets: 'I'm still me'

Rachel Dolezal said she remains puzzled about why people have questioned her racial identity but is "ready to move on" from the controversy that made her a household name last spring.

"I don't have any regrets about how I identify. I'm still me and nothing about that has changed," the former NAACP chapter president told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday.

RELATED: Rachel Dolezal through the years

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Rachel Dolezal 1 year later: 'I don't have any regrets about how I identify'
In this image released by NBC News, former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal appears on the "Today" show set on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in New York. Dolezal, who resigned as head of a NAACP chapter after her parents said she is white, said Tuesday that she started identifying as black around age 5, when she drew self-portraits with a brown crayon, and "takes exception" to the contention that she tried to deceive people. Asked by Matt Lauer if she is an "an African-American woman," Dolezal said: "I identify as black." (Anthony Quintano/NBC News via AP)
FILE- In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, poses for a photo in her Spokane, Wash. home. Dolezal is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File) 
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Rachel Dolezal, center, Spokane's newly-elected NAACP president, smiles as she meets with Joseph M. King, of King's Consulting, left, and Scott Finnie, director and senior professor of Eastern Washington University's Africana Education Program, before the start of a Black Lives Matter Teach-In on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, at EWU, in Cheney, Wash. Dolezal's family members say she has falsely portrayed herself as black for years. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)
In this photo taken July 24, 2009, Rachel Dolezal, a leader of the Human Rights Education Institute, stands in front of a mural she painted at the institute's offices in coeur d'alene, Idaho. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)
(Photo via Facebook)
Washington state civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal is seen in the NBC's "Today" show studios in Manhattan, New York June 16, 2015. Dolezal, who has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American, said on Tuesday she identifies as black and has been doing so since she was 5 years of age. Dolezal, in an interview on NBC's "Today" television show, said a major shift in her identity came when she was doing human rights work in Idaho and newspaper stories described her as transracial, biracial and black. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Washington state civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal (R) hugs family member Izaiah Dolezal after her interview on the NBC's "Today" show studios in Manhattan, New York June 16, 2015. Dolezal, who has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American, said on Tuesday she identifies as black and has been doing so since she was 5 years of age. Dolezal, in an interview on NBC's "Today" television show, said a major shift in her identity came when she was doing human rights work in Idaho and newspaper stories described her as transracial, biracial and black. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Washington state civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal (C) smiles toward family member Izaiah Dolezal (L) while her son Franklin (R) stands nearby after her interview on the NBC's "Today" show studios in Manhattan, New York June 16, 2015. Dolezal, who has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American, said on Tuesday she identifies as black and has been doing so since she was 5 years of age. Dolezal, in an interview on NBC's "Today" television show, said a major shift in her identity came when she was doing human rights work in Idaho and newspaper stories described her as transracial, biracial and black. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
People cheer during a protest in front of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) headquarters in Spokane, Washington June 15, 2015. Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights advocate who has been accused of falsely claiming she is black, announced her resignation on Monday as leader of a local branch of the NAACP in Washington state. REUTERS/David Ryder
Gabe Fensler, 14, center, son of demonstration organizer Kitara Johnson and Meggie Mendoza, right, listen to a speaker during a demonstration for local NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal to step down Monday, June 15, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. Dolezal resigned as president of the NAACP's Spokane chapter Monday just days after her parents said she is a white woman posing as black. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
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Dolezal, who was born to white parents, created a national debate about racial identity after she told the world in a TODAY interview last June, "I identify as black."

READ MORE: Rachel Dolezal breaks her silence on TODAY: 'I identify as black'

The controversy started when questions surfaced about how she had spent most of her adult life living her life as a black woman. While serving as the NAACP leader in Spokane, Washington, she even claimed a black man as her father.

That all changed last June when her estranged parents, a white couple contacted by a local newspaper, confirmed that Dolezal was their daughter.

On TODAY, Dolezal was asked to reflect on that period.

"I do wish I could have given myself permission to really name and own the me of me earlier in life. It took me almost 30 years to get there," she said. "Certainly, I feel like it's a complex issue. How do you just sum up a whole life of kind of coming into who you are in a sound bite? Those conversations? I feel like moving forward. I don't have any regrets about that."

Dolezal said she has been forced to relive that period repeatedly and said rebuilding her life has been "challenging" but is ready to look ahead to new opportunities. She gave birth to a son earlier this year, and also is raising two other children.

READ MORE: Rachel Dolezal: I cried reading Caitlyn Jenner's story -- it 'resonated'

"It's been some work to rebuild and get things back on track with life," she admitted, describing how she gets recognized nearly everywhere she goes.

Among them is a new book about her experiences and racial identity.

"Race is such a contentious issue because of the painful history of racism. Race didn't create racism, but racism created race," she said.

Dolezal said she's looking forward to writing the book and the topics she used to teach about as a black-studies college professor. She also hopes to return to teaching and "just looking forward to getting back into racial and social justice work."

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