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February 04, 2005

Ward Churchill--Is He an Indian?

As I hoped in my long post of February 2, the blogosphere has taken up the cause of academic freedom in the Ward Churchill case (even though I neglected to email VC, IP, and Bainbridge, as I ought to have!). Instapundit has a mention with links, Bainbridge notes that rightwingers, especially, ought to stand by Churchill, and Eugene Volokh has a detailed post stating the obvious-- that he should not be fired for his political views-- and the less obvious-- whether he should be fired if it turned out he lied about being an Indian....

... I'm not sure if I agree with Volokh that he should be fired for such lying if it turns out to really be lying. His academic credentials seem very slight-- not even a doctorate, just "B.A., M.A., Sangaman State University Communication" and from the little I've seen of of his publications, they aren't profound, though he also seems to be a smart guy. Wouldn't that be discriminating against someone on the basis of race-- hiring him only because you thought he was an Indian, and then firing him when it turned out he was white? I can't imagine a purer case. I've wondered, though, what happens to students who fraudulently check off "Indian" or "Black" or "Hispanic" on university applications.

Volokh links to this indiancountry.com article:

At various times, according to press reports, Churchill has described himself as Cherokee, Keetoowah Cherokee, Muskogee, Creek and most recently Meti. In a note in the online magazine Socialism and Democracy he wrote, ''Although I'm best known by my colonial name, Ward Churchill, the name I prefer is Kenis, an Ojibwe name bestowed by my wife's uncle.'' In biographical blurbs, he is identified as an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. But a senior member of the band with access to tribal enrollment records told Indian Country Today that Churchill is not listed. George Mauldin, tribal clerk in Tahlequah, Okla., told the Rocky Mountain News, ''He's not in the data base at all.''...

According to Jodi Rave, a well-known Native journalist and member of the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Three Affiliated Tribes, Churchill was enrolled as an ''associate member'' of the Keetoowah by a former chairman who was later impeached. The one other known member of the same program, since discontinued, was President Bill Clinton. Rave said that she made this discovery as a student in a journalism class at the University of Colorado. She was also in a class taught by Churchill. When her article came out, she said, he dropped her grade from an A to a C minus.

"Meti" caught my eye because my wife is from Winnipeg, a Meti center. They are the descendants of the centuries-old mixture of French traders and Indians in Canada.

That last sentence is important. If true, that is more serious than the other stuff. But it would need substantiation. These attacks on Churchill all need careful examination, because he is an active member of the little world of squabbling leftwing revolutionary groups. When a Trotskyite says a Stalinist beats his wife, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Similarly, when the American Indian Movement's "Ministry of Information" issues something like this 1999 press release attacking Ward Churchill and insinuating that he is part of an FBI war against their organization, it is not to be believed. The outsider's view of the American Indian Movement is perhaps like a Moslem's view of Christianity in 1580; he thinks about "Christians", but there are actually different people competing for the name. See this partisan website of "the International Confederation of Autonomous Chapters of the American Indian Movement and their supporters. Not affiliated in any way with National AIM aka Grand Governing Council of AIM or the Bellecourts." Jodi Raves is part of this tangle, so don't take her statements at face value; further checking is needed.

But all this distracts. The fact is that (a) Churchill has a job contract with the state of Colorado, and the state can't back out just because it doesn't like what it signed on to earlier; and (b) academic freedom is about cases just like this, where a professor has unpopular political views and a lot of voters want to fire him. The Colorado legislature, governor, and newspapers seem to be barely aware of these two ideas-- binding contracts, and academic freedom-- which depresses me. The contract is treated as a mere roadblock, not an obligation to be honored, and academic freedom is not even addressed-- only freedom of speech.

Posted by erasmuse at February 4, 2005 08:48 AM

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» Rasmusen on Churchill from ProfessorBainbridge.com
Eric Rasmusen has weighed in on the Ward Churchill matter in several posts, the most recent of which lists five plausible grounds on which CU could fire Churchill. But I still think CU shouldn't do so. As Eric observed in [Read More]

Tracked on February 7, 2005 12:19 AM

» Ward Churchill from Trolling in Shallow Water
There has been tremendous uproar, in the right half of the blogosphere and elsewhere, over Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor who called the victims of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center "little Eichmans." [Read More]

Tracked on February 8, 2005 11:25 PM


If you look at the this link you see Ward Churchill is not an Indian, but descendant from an Indian killer of Creeks.
The same tribe he first said he was from when he first started his masquerade.
He stole Indian identity to make big bucks as a professor and stealing a job that should have been for a American Indian professor.
For that he should be fired if he lied on his application to get that job. For Indian Identity theft against the Indian people.



Posted by: Navajo John at February 8, 2005 12:41 AM

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