Churchill: Ward of the State

, Sherrie Gossett, Leave a comment

Professor (and I use the term with dismay) Ward Churchill [pictured- is having his 15 minutes of fame. The tenured professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado (Boulder) became the object of ire after a controversial essay he authored was brought to light just as he was invited to speak at Hamilton College in New York.

Most people by now have heard that Churchill compared the 9/11 victims to “little Eichmanns” –a reference to German Nazi official Adolf Eichmann who was executed for his role as head of the Gestapo’s Jewish section (1939-1945), the figure chiefly responsible for the murder of millions of Jews during World War II. The reference appeared in Churchill’s provocative essay “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.” (The essay has also been expanded into a book.)

A guilty “technocratic corps” worked the gears of evil capitalism for the murderous and
“mighty engine of profit” he argued. Calling the 9/11 attacks “medicinal” and a kind of “reality therapy,” Churchill argued that they could afford the American people a chance to finally ‘do the right thing’ on their own, without further coaxing.”

And what might some of those “right things” be? Immediate lifting of sanctions against Iraq, and let’s see what else? Something I didn’t notice media coverage of: hanging.
The hanging of “major war criminals” like Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton and “George the Elder.” Also included would be “Nuremberg-style” trials for military/corporate personnel and the destruction of our weapons.

The media while focusing on “First Amendment” issues seemed to miss the foundational
picture. That includes writers like Professor Carolyn Baker who wrote a vacuous essay about the “New McCarthyism on Campus” for Counterpunch.

Churchill’s “little Eichmanns” comment alone is clear evidence of a substandard mind and would naturally lead one to investigate Churchill’s other writings. It turns out, two respected professors have written extensively on Churchill’s copious fraudulent research. Thomas F. Brown, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas has produced an important analysis entitled “The Genocide That Wasn’t: Ward Churchill’s Research Fraud.”

The article shreds Churchill’s fabrication of a genocide: namely he “invented a story about the US Army deliberately creating a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan people in 1837 by distributing infected blankets.”

The article also notes that Mr. Churchill, by using part of his own research as court testimony, “very possibly committed perjury” as well which is a felony under Colorado law. (Colorado Revised Statutes, 18-8-503). The triviality of Churchill’s fabrications come into sharper focus Brown says, when you consider that he originally invented his story of the Mandan genocide in order to evade an indictment that carried a maximum penalty of a $1500 fine and six months in jail.

Professor Brown compares Churchill’s “deliberately falsified versions of events” with the historical record and concludes what is obvious from the “little Eichmanns” comment: Ward Churchill has a “difficult relationship with the truth.” The number of alleged fabrications is stunning. Brown called the magnitude of Churchill’s fraud, “perhaps the most scandalous abuse of the academy’s norms” and the “ultimate sin among scholars.”

At the time of Brown’s onslaught, Churchill’s credibility had already been shredded by John P. LaVelle writing in the pages of Wicazo Sa Review. LaVelle is Associate Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

That extensive article “The General Allotment Act ‘Eligibility Hoax’” charges Churchill with embracing and propagating false and misleading information about the field of Indian law and the sovereign rights of Indians.

American anarchist Bob Black also skewered Churchill’s credibility in a detailed essay, “Up Sand Creek Without a Paddle.” He assails Churchill’s “bigoted and bogus” ‘scholarship’, and asks how this “hustler” has been able to pass off his “racist fantasies as scholarship” and gain tenure at UC. He has no PhD and reportedly can’t get published in even the most mediocre academic journals, so he sticks with leftist or racialist nationalist periodicals.

Churchill “gets flown all over the country to address audiences of white leftists who pay him to guilt-trip them. How sweet the pain!” writes Black. Professor Brown explains that “In Indian activist circles, prestige and legitimacy often accrue to those who most successfully express an oppositional identity.” Which reminds us, the University of Colorado media relations people did not return our phone call yet asking whether it’s true the university investigated Churchill’s Indian identity claims ten years ago.

He’s a “New Left/New Age ersatz Indian,” who might have a dream catcher hanging over his bed, but is just a “well-funded pale face” who is a “Red racist” but not a “red man” Black says. Indeed, this ‘injun of profit’ has parlayed his “Indian-ness” into a gig raking in close to $100,000 working for the same evil capitalist American government he condemned 9/11 victims for supporting.

Sherrie Gossett is the associate editor of Accuracy in Media.