August 04, 2007

Churchill the martyr

Harjo:  Ward Churchill, the white man's burdenWhen Churchill was exposed as non-Indian, CU defended him and high-handedly dismissed the Native nations and people who refuted his claims. Self-declaration of Indian identity is good enough for the academy, said the CU officials.

CU's stance allowed Churchill to wrap himself in a borrowed identity while appearing to be a courageous insider chastising his own. Both CU and Churchill took the position that no Indians were going to tell them what to do or to be the final word on who is a Native person.

While Churchill is primarily marketing himself as a free-speech martyr, he's also creating a subsidiary brand: "Indian-rights martyr." He's selling the idea that he was such an Indian advocate that CU and American society generally wanted him canned.

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