I personally know several people who went to jail for refusing to testify to the House Un-American Affairs Committee in the 50’s. Many went to jail for being communists. Churchill isn’t being blackballed like so many in academia and the arts were in the 50s. He isn’t being marginalized for his privately held opinions. He got up in front of the entire world and told Americans to attack human targets not inanimate ones! He got up and allied himself with a bunch of sexist, right wing , fundamentalist, Wahabistas, who gained their training much like the Contra’s he supported in the 80s from the CIA. Did anyone think there would not be a public backlash to his public statements. The fact is that Churchill does not have a right to be a prof at CU. He does have the right to free speech and he uses it everyday in the media and at high paid lectures across the country. This is hardly the status of someone oppressed.
Now if Churchill were being persecuted for being a person of color that would be obvious. Most news stories don’t even mention his being “allegedly Native American. For example, I remember in the 60’s Martin Luther King, Malcom , and others were persecuted by whites for advocating that African Americans merely refuse to go to the back of the bus, have separate facilities for toilets, and other assorted rights. Churchill hardly ever mentions. Native rights much less is living in Native communities or ever has as others have recently pointed out. Does it matter? Of course! I can’t remember anyone ever getting away with advocating and pushing a black agenda that has never lived in a black community or wasn’t identified as black by the black community.
Marlon Brando found out he was part Native in the 70’s. Did he then go out and scream on every corner that he was being oppressed or representing the oppressed? No he made large contributions to AIM including the Motor Home Dennis Banks was eventually arrested in after being a fugitive. Val Kilmer found out he was part Indian but you don’t see him playing an Indian in movies with the exception of an FBI agent that is assigned to Pine Ridge during the 70’s to prosecute AIM leaders. What a coincidence? The irony. Many of Thomas Jefferson’s descendants recently found out that they had African American blood in their family. Should they now all go and apply for jobs as head of Black Studies at Georgetown University and use Affirmative Action to get there? Whites will never lead African Americans or Native Americans to liberation and Ward is no exception. His presence in the movement has divided it not made it stronger and at the end of the day isn’t that what matters?
In the end, whether Ward gets a buyout or is fired is much ado about nothing. Recent revelations about his theft and plagiarized art stolen from the late Thomas Mails, tapes of him telling Seattle activists that “property damage isn’t enough you have to draw blood”, his recent assault on CU property of a channel 4 reporter in response to the Thomas Mails story, the statements by every tribe he claims association with that he is not a member of their tribes, and his irresponsible statements that “more 911s are necessary” give CU all the legal reason they need to dump him. In the end he will be fired not because of what he said but because he is reckless and irresponsible.
Ward has never really sacrificed anything for the movement. He has never been involved with grassroots organizing. He has never done any time inn jail for the movement and yet he has lived off of the sacrifices of others in AIM for years. In the end this is all much ado about nothing. In the end maybe this is ironic justice. Ward might lose his job. Not in the way people were silently black balled in the 50’s but as the celebrity of the moment. Not a bad way to go. He will write a book that will sell a million copies and the Thomas Mails family will get most of the money for the theft of his art by Ward. He will be a permanent fixture on the lecture circuit and he will milk his half an hour of fame for everything he can get out of it. Lynne Stewart is in jail for what she said. I will send my contributions to her defense.
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How did 911 help the oppressed?
Baffled 07.Mar.2005 07:07
So you are all excited to support Ward because of what? Because he is right that 911 might have helped someone? Answer these points.
1) 911 got Bush re-elected. Is that a good thing.
2) The USA has used 911 as an excuse to blow half the middle east to hell and scare the other half into doing what they are told.
3) The Palestinians are worse off than ever because Israel used Bush’s actions to justify their own murderous rampage.
4) It has caused every rebel movement in the world to get rolled into the classification of terrorist.
5) It has made the USA more racist in general.
6) It has given the US government the excuse it needed to create a more aggressive police state.
7) It got Iraq put under US occupation.
8) It put Afghanistan under direct US occdupation.
9) It gave Bush the excuse he needed to cut social spending and shift it to the military.
10) It killed 3000 more or less innocent people.
I have a hundred more points to make about this so let’s here your great explanations of how 911 was great. Churchill didn’t write some great essay it generally sucks. So why are we all excited to support him? Because he said a booboo and like Beavis you think “thats cool”. Huhuhuh huh huh huh huh. What a bunch of morons
Ward Churchill — Questionable identity and questionable scholarship
Patty Jo King 07.Mar.2005 07:08
King: Ward Churchill — Questionable identity and questionable scholarship Email this page Print this page
Posted: February 24, 2005
by: Patti Jo King
Ward Churchill has convinced many people that he is the ultimate expert on Indian affairs, yet he has neither the character nor the eloquence to lead.
Throughout history, dynamic Indian leaders have honed their skills on the experience of loss, devastation, and a sincere desire to find paths to survival for future generations. Shunning pretension or self-aggrandizement, they excelled as leaders because they had a common stake in the affairs of Indian country.
As members of tribes, communities and extended families, they stood to benefit or lose as a direct result of their leadership. They were respected because their people knew they did their best to make a positive contribution.
Churchill, a postmodernist, lacks a believable Native identity and family history. He can’t empathize with Indians because he has nothing at stake. Having appropriated his Indian identity, he is unaffected by the commotion he causes when he behaves outrageously. He utilizes postmodern techniques, plunging into Indian matters he does not fully understand and attempting to represent them. Sadly, the Indian community will suffer the consequences of his recklessness again.
Churchill does not now, nor has he ever, represented Indians. His complex, overly-academic rhetoric clarifies how little he has in common with Native people. His acid tongue, dirty-mouthed sarcasm, self-important posturing, and preachy fanaticism contribute nothing to the challenge Indians face to establish a satisfying position in contemporary society.
Churchill portrays Indians as hapless victims, repressed and demoralized by the crafty American government. These characterizations only serve to impede Indian social progress. He combines hackneyed stereotypes, postmodern gibberish, and radical buzzwords to coax naive individuals to accept his authenticity. Such characterizations are the antithesis of empowerment.
Now Churchill is trying to convince the unwitting public that his current troubles stem from an infringement on his right to free speech. He also says that he is being targeted by racist Indians because he is not enrolled.
Claiming to be ”one-sixteenth Cherokee,” he has opposed the 1990 Indian Arts and Crafts Act, a law protecting Indian artists from unfair counterfeit competition. His Indian claim further enabled him to secure his lucrative teaching position (over $94,000 annually) at the University of Colorado, where he beat out several fine Indian scholars for the coveted job.
He claims to be Cherokee and Creek, although the Okmulgee Creek Agency, the Muscogee Creek Nation and the Cherokee Nation contend he is not a member and is not known among their people.
Nevertheless, non-Indian educators pay handsomely to hear him speak. If placed in the same position, would other ethnic communities accept an imposing white radical as their representative? Would they remain silent while he misrepresented their people?
Identity theft is only the tip of the problematic iceberg. Free speech is not the issue either. The issue is questionable scholarship.
Churchill’s historiography is neither fair nor objective. It is extreme revisionism designed to promote his suspicious agenda through academic fraud. Academic fraud is more than simple error: it encompasses false attribution and fabrication of facts.
A 1992 essay, ”Federal Indian Identification Policy,” co-authored with his former wife, Marie Annette Jaimes, has long concerned Indian legal scholars. It asserts the 1887 Dawes Allotment Act required individuals to be one-half or more Indian to be eligible for land allotment. Jaimes chastises tribes for adopting Dawes blood quantum requirements for tribal membership. Churchill has continuously berated tribes and enrolled Indians, viciously referring to them as ”ethnic cleansers” and ”racists” for participating in blood-based tribal enrollment. He repeatedly attributes his theories to Jaimes’ blood quantum/Dawes Act claim in ”Federal Indian Identification Policy.”
Blood quantum, however, is never mentioned in the Dawes Act.
Such shoddy scholarship immediately raises a red flag. Are we to believe that a man who has written dozens of books and nearly 100 essays – a foremost authority on Indians – has never read the Dawes Allotment Act? The act is one of the most prevalent and important documents of American Indian legal history and is brief and easy to read.
Numerous other examples of his questionable scholarship have been exposed by historians, political scientists, and Native scholars over the years.
Churchill’s lack of authenticity, sensitivity, and manipulative rhetoric became apparent some 13 years ago. In retaliation against those who criticized him, he hurled insults and accusations, often against Indian women.
The University of Colorado was contacted on more than one occasion after his erratic behavior became dangerously volatile. Yet Indian concerns fell on deaf ears. One department head said, ”What Mr. Churchill does off-campus on his own time is his own business.”
Churchill’s goal is the disempowerment of American Indians. What better way to achieve this objective than to masquerade as a member-advocate of the very group he seeks to enfeeble?
His motivation remains a matter of speculation. Some believe he is a ”wannabe” – a man of generic ethnicity striving for authentication through the theft of a more ”exotic” Indian identity.
Others believe he is an opportunist who astutely positioned himself as a ”specialist” in a field with few experts and sketchy criteria for determining expertise.
Needles to say, if the University of Colorado had heeded past Indian concerns, they would not be in the uncomfortable position they are in today. They must move decisively to correct the situation.
Churchill does not belong in a classroom. American civil liberties will continue to ensure his right to publish his extreme revisionist rhetoric, but his essays and books should never be considered acceptable texts for state-sponsored educational programs. Maintaining impeccable standards of scholarship, particularly in the field of American Indian studies, is critical to the protection of our history, rights and future.
University of Colorado, terminate this deplorable imposter.
Patti Jo King is a journalist and historian. She holds an extended bachelor’s of Science degree in History and a master’s degree in History of the American West.