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Controversy Involves Indian Issues in a Professor's Firing Appeal

Society & Culture  (tags: Indians, American Indians, Native Americans, 911, ethics, freedoms, lies, corruption, cover-up, americans, dishonesty, government, terrorism, usa, culture, society, politics, interesting, humans, freedoms, ethics, rights )

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DENVER - A battle over academic freedom moved from campus to courtroom March 9, when a controversial Indian rights advocate vowed to fight to regain his professorship. Ward Churchill, 61, was fired from the University of Colorado's ethnic studies...


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kat y (400)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 8:55 am

By Carol Berry, Today correspondent

Story Published: Mar 23, 2009

DENVER – A battle over academic freedom moved from campus to courtroom March 9, when a controversial Indian rights advocate vowed to fight to regain his professorship.

Ward Churchill, 61, was fired from the University of Colorado’s ethnic studies department in 2007, two years after public attention was drawn to an essay he wrote that seemed to blame 9/11 victims for furthering U.S. government policies that led to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

After the essay came to light, a former Colorado governor and prominent others called for Churchill’s dismissal and an investigation was begun into his background and publications. Following several levels of review and appeal, he was fired from his tenured position because of findings of research misconduct, triggering a firestorm of controversy over the limits of protected speech and tenure security in academia.

Now Churchill is asking a Denver District Court jury to find that he was wrongfully terminated, should be rehired and receive damages.

A distinctively Native thread runs through the protracted argument surrounding Churchill, who has been affiliated with the American Indian Movement and whose writings often center on the North American genocide, the legacy and structure of colonialism, the limits of peaceful protest, institutional racism, blood quantum and related topics.

“I think history is written by white guys in suits,” observed noted civil rights attorney David Lane, lead counsel for Churchill. “Ward Churchill gives a different aspect that affects and frightens white guys in suits.”

There is a controversial side to the man himself that has been used to color views about his scholarship.

Despite his claims, Churchill has been unable to substantiate a family belief that he has Native ancestry to the satisfaction of his critics, and after the public furor over his essay, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee said his associate membership with the band was honorary and did not confer enrollment.

CU officials said his alleged “misrepresentation (of his ethnicity) might constitute research misconduct and failure to meet the standards of professional integrity,” a charge that was not included in the formal reasons for his dismissal.

Although Churchill was initially regarded publicly as Indian and his writing attacked on that basis, later it was charged that he was not Indian and his views were therefore not those of most Native people as a whole.

“There was a lot of purposeful confusion – they (university officials) fostered the confusion in an attempt to drive Ward out, hoping he would just leave,” said Bob Bruce, co-counsel for Churchill.

“They asked around to other American Indian scholars – ‘If it turns out he is non-Native, does that make his scholarship less?’” Bruce said, noting “they couldn’t find any, so they dropped it as a formal attack.”

“The University of Colorado obviously disrespects American Indian studies,” he said, and one can draw one’s own conclusions as to whether “that means they disrespect Native people.”

CU policy permitted ethnic self-identification at the time Churchill was hired, officials said, but some of his writings about Indian history were called into question by the university’s Investigative Committee and its Standing Committee on Research Misconduct.

The committees contended, among other charges, that Churchill misrepresented circumstances surrounding smallpox epidemics among the Mandan in 1837 and among Wampanoag tribal members in 1614, and also that he erroneously attributed a blood quantum requirement to the General Allotment Act.

A notice of intent to dismiss Churchill in 2006 from Phil DiStefano, the university’s interim chancellor, said that academic freedom carries with it the responsibility for accuracy, among other things and that committee findings “have been focused on the research misconduct of one faculty member only,”
according to a CU news release.

The fact that Churchill alone was singled out for intensive scrutiny may lend weight to a defense argument that his firing was politically motivated and contrary to guarantees of protected speech in academia.

During the complex controversy, some have expressed that Churchill’s Indian stance fueled the initial furor over his 9/11 remarks, while others have condemned him as a careless scholar, a “wannabe,” or simply unpatriotic, while still others have seen him as a gifted educator, a strong advocate for Native people, and a victim of political and academic repression.

The predominantly non-Anglo jury of four women and two men is expected to hear testimony from as many as 30 witnesses, including the former state governor who called on Churchill to resign, CU regents, a former CU president and other university officials.

Leigh B (211)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 11:04 am
Sorry, but I am not a fan of Ward Churchill. I feel a lot of his comments are unjust and unfounded/

Electra Cy (1005)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 2:08 pm
Sorry but this guy makes Indians look bad!

HUGZ ~ Electra

I am in Denver, and trying to Protect our Copyrights.
I notice that the charge of "Plagiarism" somehow was overlooked.

I have heard his comments, and I believe that he should have been fired immediately.

He was Hired Because he said he was Indian, not attacked for it, and it turns out that he possibly has no Indian blood. He was an 'Honorary Member," but I believe that I heard that this was revoked.

Here are a few links.

CREDIT: Brown, T. (2007). Ward Churchill’s Twelve Excuses for Plagiarism. Plagiary: Cross‐Disciplinary Studies in Plagiarism, Fabri‐
cation, and Falsification

CREDIT: Wikpedia

. (0)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 3:32 pm
noted thank you

. (0)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 3:49 pm

sue M (184)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 10:37 pm
What does it matter whether you like him or not? It does not matter whether he is Native American or not either, there IS a matter of FREE Speech, a constitutional right and we should ALL be screaming!

Electra Cy (1005)
Tuesday March 24, 2009, 10:42 pm
Free Speech and theft are 2 different things! His main deal was Ethics. He is totally unethical, and I don't think it's right that he is teaching by example that it is okay to Plagiarize someone else's work!

Simon Wood (207)
Wednesday March 25, 2009, 1:43 am
I agree with everything I have ever read from Ward Churchill, I am aware of evidence to support everything I have read from Ward Churchill, and I challenge anyone to disprove what Ward Churchill has written.

I wish more people (Native American or not) were as politically conscious and egalitarian as Ward Churchill is.

. (0)
Wednesday March 25, 2009, 5:54 am
If he is found to have been fired over promoting "unpopular" views, he should be reinstated and damages awarded. Academic freedom requires that unpopular views be allowed in a professor.

If, however, the charges of academic improprieties and deceptions can be sustained, then his firing should stand. Because those are valid reasons for the firing of any academic.

We'll just need to wait to see the outcome of the case.

Margo Lodge (38)
Wednesday March 25, 2009, 7:52 am
I can only speak on the Mandan. I have a framed picture I drew of Chief Four Bears. At one time the Mandan numbered some eight thousand souls. The gift the white explorers brought the Mandan people, as with many tribes, was disease notably smallpox. In the space of one year, the Mandan were reduced to two hundred and fifty people. Shortly after their culture was wiped out. (Be careful who you take blankets from)

Teresa del Castillo (1519)
Wednesday March 25, 2009, 10:09 am

Electra Cy (1005)
Wednesday March 25, 2009, 1:25 pm
No employer will continue to Employ someone that has been found to be a thief.
Why should a University be expected to keep someone that has Plagiarized the work of others?

I seriously don't care what he said because he only made himself look like a fool by doing it.
The Issue boils down to Unethical conduct.
The reason this Issue is being scrutinized is because of the Indian factor, but it has nothing at all to do with Indians.

This is from the first link I provided, entitled, "Ward Churchill’s Twelve Excuses for Plagiarism"
Written by, and CREDIT to, Thomas Brown

"Today, more than two years later, numerous examples of research misconduct on Churchillʹs
part have come to light. More than twenty schol‐ars on four different CU committees have heard Churchillʹs case. All unanimously agree that Churchill is guilty of multiple counts of plagiary,
fabrication, and falsification. All agree that Churchill deserves serious sanctions for his misconduct. CUʹs president has recommended to the Regents that Churchill be fired"


P.O. Box 13521
Minneapolis MN 55414
612/ 721-3914 . fax 612/ 721-7826
Web Address:

"Ward Churchill was scheduled to speak at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York on February 3, 2005. His appearance was canceled by the college after he caused a public furor over his loathsome remarks about the 9-11 tragedy in New York. AIM's Grand Governing Council has been dealing with Churchill's hateful attitude and rip-off of Indian people for years.

The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council representing the National and International leadership of the American Indian Movement once again is vehemently and emphatically repudiating and condemning the outrageous statements made by academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill in relationship to the 9-11 tragedy in New York City that claimed thousands of innocent people’s lives.

Churchill’s statement that these people deserved what happened to them, and calling them little Eichmanns, comparing them to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who implemented Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jews and others, should be condemned by all.

The sorry part of this is Ward Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as an Indian, and a member of the American Indian Movement, a situation that has lifted him into the position of a lecturer on Indian activism. He has used the American Indian Movement’s chapter in Denver to attack the leadership of the official American Indian Movement with his misinformation and propaganda campaigns.

Ward Churchill has been masquerading as an Indian for years behind his dark glasses and beaded headband. He waves around an honorary membership card that at one time was issued to anyone by the Keetoowah Tribe of Oklahoma. Former President Bill Clinton and many others received these cards, but these cards do not qualify the holder a member of any tribe. He has deceitfully and treacherously fooled innocent and naïve Indian community members in Denver, Colorado, as well as many other people worldwide. Churchill does not represent, nor does he speak on behalf of the American Indian Movement.

New York’s Hamilton College Kirklands Project should be aware that in their search for truth and justice, the idea that they have hired a fraud to speak on Indian activism is in itself a betrayal of their goals."


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