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Friday, February 18, 2005

Lyons article from Indian Country Today

The following article comes from Indian Country Today

Lyons: The termination and removal of Ward Churchill
Posted: February 17, 2005
by: Scott Richard Lyons

It's been a bad couple of weeks for Ward Churchill. After being savaged by the corporate media for an essay he wrote over three years ago, then finding himself abandoned by an academic culture that used to profess belief in freedom of thought and expression, it was finally revealed that ... gasp ... Ward Churchill might not even be an Indian. Stop the presses!

Outside of his personal circle of aging enemies, did anyone really care that much about Churchill's enrollment status before this controversy? For the record, the Keetowah Band of Cherokee gave Churchill an ''associate membership'' in the early '90s, but did not bestow the rights and privileges accorded to fully-enrolled band members. He has recently gone on record as three-sixteenths Cherokee - which, incidentally, would be one-sixteenth more than legendary Cherokee Chief John Ross of the 1820s. Unlike the fullblood ''Treaty Party'' who signed the illegitimate agreement with the Americans, thereby paving the road we now call the Trail of Tears, the light-skinned Chief Ross is fondly remembered by many Cherokee today as a great leader who fought hard against the ethnic cleansing that eventually took place. Ross, too, was very critical of Americans and their policies.

At the very least, even the toughest identity police among us will have to admit that, as a United States citizen, Churchill has the right to ethnically self-identify in any way he wants, as is the official policy of the U.S. Census Bureau. But even if he is a white man (which I am not prepared to admit as fact, since all the ''evidence'' seems based on hearsay), my question is: so what? It's not like an author of his stature and reputation needs the helping hand of affirmative action to land a job.

He doesn't write about himself. And I definitely don't get the sense that he wants to make his living as a painter. If Churchill is in fact 100 percent white - which no one will ever know for certain - then what exactly would that make him? Seems to me he would then occupy that time-honored position of a colonizer ''going Native;'' that is, taking on the habits and perspectives - not to mention the politics - of the colonized. He would be what racial theorists call a ''race traitor;'' one who denies and decries ''white privilege'' by refusing to participate in ''whiteness'' as a system of privilege. How exactly would that harm Indian people? I know real Indians who do a lot worse.

Frankly, I was always more interested in what Ward Churchill had to say than in playing the tiresome ''Is he really Indian?'' game. In fact, what I have found most frustrating about this witch hunt is the sense that hardly anyone has actually read his now infamous essay, ''Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.'' Instead of musing about what Churchill allegedly is not - ''un-American,'' ''non-Indian'' - shouldn't we be talking about what he actually wrote? full column


At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

''Indians Are Us '' right Ward ? Or is this just another ''Fantasy of the master race'' ''From a Non- Native Son''? You seem to change your tribal affiliation with every new publication...what's it going to be next year ...Ishi's tribe ?

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Miskwaa Makwa said...

I've read the work of Anonymous before, and there are some things I've noticed:

* He's quick to judge and call others out.
* He doesn't write very well.
* He sure talks tough.

Go Ward!

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whaaaaaaa...as if I really give a shit about Ward's precious English language or race.....those who through stones shouldn't live in glass houses...eh Ward?

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whaaaaaaaaa....as if I really give two shits about Ward's precious English language or English race..fuck them. Ward ''Grey Owl''Churchill should learn that those who through stones shouldn't live in glass houses.

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous honorary associate fightin'whitey said...

Mark Dow
American Gulag
Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

new book about all of US fresh off the nina, pinta ,santa maria ,mayflower showboat: "white bureaucrats(little Eichmanns)in colorado are complete newcomers"


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