03/03/05 — Ethnic problem: Churchill not qualified for university position

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Ethnic problem: Churchill not qualified for university position

If you stretched the point, really stretched it a lot, you might see how Ward Churchill, as an American Indian, could feel a little resentment toward mainstream America. That’s if you really stretched the point.

Churchill claims Cherokee blood, so think about the Trail of Tears, the forced march by which many Cherokees were removed all the way to Oklahoma from the mountains of North Carolina and surrounding states. If you dwell on that, you might understand that a Cherokee might be a little miffed.

Granted, most Cherokees don’t harbor a frothing hatred for America for what happened 175 years ago, and many have assimilated quite comfortably into the society at large. But, if you cut Churchill, the Cherokee, some slack, you could say he had a right to feel put-upon.

Ward Churchill is the University of Colorado professor who, in his opposition to everything American, wrote in an essay that we deserved the 9/11 attack and the people killed were “little Eichmanns.” That comes from all that bitterness about the way the United States has treated its indigenous population, don’t you know.

Except for one thing.

When Ward Churchill claimed to be part Cherokee, he apparently spoke with a forked tongue.

This is important, because the University of Colorado made Churchill the chairman of its Ethnic Studies Department. It probably wouldn’t have done so if it had known Churchill wasn’t, well, ethnic.

He used to be a part of the activist American Indian Movement, or AIM, but its leaders have since stated that he does not represent AIM, partly because he is not an Indian.

Churchill also claims to belong to the Creek tribe but he is unable to name any Creek relatives or ancestors.

He does have a card showing that he is an associate member of the Keetoowah band of the Cherokees, but it has been revoked. A Cherokee researcher says he can find no listing of anyone related to Churchill amongst the Cherokees.

You don’t have to be a real Indian to grow long hair.

Churchill also has no earned doctoral degree. But when he was granted tenure by the University of Colorado — ensuring him a highly paid job for a lifetime — the contract was made out to “Dr. Ward Churchill.”

Surely, under the circumstances, the university could get rid of Ward Churchill, tenure or no tenure. If for no other reason, he has slandered the American Indian population by claiming to be a part of it.

Published in Editorials on March 3, 2005 10:51 AM