February 3, 2005

WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE:

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.

That’s got to hurt. One can, of course, be of Indian descent without being an enrolled member of a tribe. Churchill, however, appears to have misrepresented his status.

UPDATE: Indian Country Today has much more:

Suzan Shown Harjo, a columnist for ICT who has tracked Churchill’s career, said that aside from the in-laws of his late Indian wife, he has not been able to produce any relatives from any Indian tribe.

Beyond the question of his personal identity is the question of his standing to represent Indian opinion, not only on 9/11 but also in his other published works. Mohawk ironworkers helped build the World Trade Center and other monuments of the New York City skyline, and one crew was actually at work in the flight path of the plane that struck the second tower. St. Regis Mohawk Chief James Ransom noted that they joined rescue teams at great personal risk.

Churchill’s other writings repudiate not only the U.S. but also most Indian tribal institutions. In one 1994 essay, he described tribal self government as a ”cruel hoax” carried out by ”puppets” of ”an advanced colonial setting.” He equated the status of Indian tribes in the U.S. to that of European colonies in Asia and Africa. His analysis reflected an extreme version of European left-wing ideology.

But wait, there’s more:

Far from suffering for his views, Churchill appears to have been sought out by many in the universities as a representative of American Indian thinking. But to many Native intellectuals, he is traveling under false pretenses, both in his ideology and his personal identity.

So Henry Farrell is rather wide of the mark (as usual) when he suggests that I’m being dishonest in noting that Churchill’s beliefs are representative of a depressingly wide swath of academia. There’s clearly a swath that prefers a fake Indian spouting extreme European leftism when it can get one, so much so that the spouter is actively sought out because of those views. That’s no surprise, of course, to anyone who has been paying attention to academia, which Henry apparently has not.

(Via View from a Height).

ANOTHER UPDATE: Boy, Farrell sure picked the wrong week to try to argue that support for hate-filled leftist stupidity isn’t really a problem in the academy. Churchill, after all, was an administrator at a major American state university. Now we have the ongoing problems at Columbia, a major private university:

COLUMBIA University is about to host yet another apparent anti-Semite. But President Lee Bollinger is still bent on saving his school’s image — rather than grappling with its real problems.

On Feb. 10, Columbia’s Heyman Center for the Humanities will host a talk by Tom Paulin, an Irish poet infamous for telling an Arab paper that Brooklyn-born Israeli settlers “should be shot dead . . . they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them.”

Paulin also says that Israel has no right to exist and that he resigned from Britain’s Labor Party because it was “Zionist.”

Of course, Paulin may be defended — if that’s the word — as a mere anti-semite, not an anti-American. Except that he seems to have a special hatred for American Jews:

THE Board of Deputies of British Jews is considering making a complaint to the police over a newspaper interview with the poet Tom Paulin in which he is reported as saying that American-born settlers in Israel should be shot dead.

Honestly, the problem seems hard to deny — unless, that is, you’re in denial. Hostility toward America, and the West generally, is far too common in the academy, and members of the academy not only aren’t doing much about it, too many of them are trying to pretend it doesn’t exist now that people are pointing it out. This is doubly ironic in light of decades of PC efforts to purge the adademy of “hate speech,” efforts which seem to be applied with a rather sharp double standard in which the likes of Paulin and Churchill are seen as “provoking debate,” rather than as practicing hate speech. This certainly makes it appear that some kinds of hate speech are viewed as acceptable, or even good. (Would C.U. have hired this guy?).

MORE: Matt Bruce says that Churchill shouldn’t be fired for his remarks, as that would be a violation of academic freedom. I agree, of course, but academic freedom is no guarantee against criticism. Whether his rather dubious status as an Indian is a firing offense is a different question, and I don’t know enough to have an opinion.

And it’s nice to see that Brown University is not only admitting the problem, but also trying to figure out what to do about it.

On the other hand, here’s another university shutting down efforts to help American soldiers.