May 17, 2009

Cook-Lynn:  Don't rehire Churchill

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Professor Emerita of English and Indian studies at Eastern Washington University, gives two somewhat related reasons why Ward Churchill should not be reinstated:Actually, the case that should have been tried against Mr. Churchill was a case of fraud, identity theft and scholarly misconduct which Native scholars (who were largely absent from the court as witnesses during the free speech case) have understood from the beginning. The spectacle of Churchill’s claim to Indian heritage has been an ongoing scandal, unfortunately an unchecked plague in the field of Indian studies for which there seems to be no remedy.

Such identity fraud is nothing new since the emergence of Native American Studies at Western universities some four decades ago, when such federal measures as affirmative action tried to bring American Indians, citizens of Indian nations with appropriate scholarly credentials, into the scholarly academies of the country. Since that time, a large number of non-Native academics have claimed Indian identity over the years to get appointments, grant money, Native authority and publications in the field, and they are assisted by universities like CU which generally refuse to go to the Indian agencies for authentification of an applicant’s citizenship.
And:Churchill is one of the most aggressive and successful opportunistic individuals who has weakened the major purpose of Native studies, the effort to spearhead an anti-colonial movement to represent the interests of all peoples of a colonized country. The defense of indigenous-ness and sovereignty are two of the major concepts to which the discipline is committed. The irony of how Churchill has compromised and exploited these essential concepts escapes no one who knows anything about how hard fought these ideals have been.

Indeed, when Churchill was hired in his position, several Native American scholars spoke against his hiring during the vetting process, to no avail. It is not only inappropriate, it is another example of colonial domination to allow Churchill to further damage an emerging discipline like Indian studies, which has already been complicated by the ideological grounding of White America’s values and supremacy.
Comment:  Let's look at these two rationales:

Churchill the phony Indian

1) I believe the hiring laws say that you can't hire someone solely because he's an Indian. Even if the job is teaching Indian studies. In theory, a white person could do as good a teaching job as an Indian and should be considered for the job.

But if Churchill got and kept the job under false pretenses, that would be a different matter. Then he'd be guilty of fraud or misrepresentation or lying on a job application. That would seem to be enough to prevent Churchill from resuming his old job.

It's funny that the University of Colorado is trying desperately to keep Churchill out, but won't play the "race card." Why not?

I don't know what the proper procedure would be, but surely there must be one. Maybe students have to file a grievance saying Churchill misled them. Maybe the school has to sue him on the grounds of misrepresentation. Whatever.

If he lied about being an Indian, as most people seem to think, prove it in the proper forum. Force him to explain and defend his so-called Indian heritage. If you can't win this case, then give up and rehire him. But not until you've pursued this avenue.

Incidentally, this is where I laugh once again at people like Kalisetsi and Angryindian for saying white folks shouldn't judge Indians. As usual, I'm not making the determination, people. I'm merely repeating and reflecting what most Indians think. They're the ones who believe Churchill is a phony.

Churchill's pro-Indian rhetoric

2) Cook-Lynn's second charge is that Churchill has hurt the "indigenous-ness and sovereignty" causes, weakened the "anti-colonial movement." How, by being more rabidly pro-Indian than most Indians? By adamantly promoting an indigenous worldview and denouncing America's colonialist government whenever he can? I don't quite see it.

He may have hurt these pro-Indian causes by fabricating evidence to support his radical positions. As I've said before, historical truth is the ideal and Churchill is a propagandist. But that's what the trial was about, and he won. He convinced a jury of his peers that his academic transgressions were minor, not major.

The point Cook-Lynn doesn't quite address is that Churchill has spent most of his career writing books, giving speeches, and drawing attention to a hard-core indigenous agenda. I don't think his alleged sins necessarily contradict or outweigh that. The agenda may be legitimate even if the author isn't.

Sure, Churchill's sloppy citations may lead some to question the Native position in general. But how many people will focus on his handful of misleading citations and how many on his many pro-Indian books and speeches? Except for his "little Eichmanns" essay and the resulting furor--a controversy he didn't start--the latter would be his legacy.

Sure, Churchill's dubious heritage may rob the limelight from genuine Native scholars. But if he's as pro-Indian as they are, does that disqualify him? He may be profiting off his alleged Indian-ness at their expense, taking away their career opportunities, but that's a personal or personnel matter. It's not the same as saying he's hurting the "anti-colonial movement" overall.

All the old AIM people--Russell Means, Dennis Banks, John Trudell, et al.--have publicized themselves to publicize their causes, and they're genuine Indians. If Churchill is doing roughly the same thing, are they all guilty of hurting the cause? Should people stick to writing op-eds like this one and not draw attention to themselves? I don't think so.


Summing up the charges against Churchill:

  • Academic transgressions--probably true but deemed inconsequential by a jury.

  • Phony Indian heritage--probably true but not proved in an official proceeding.

  • Self-promotion and self-aggrandizement at others' expense--undoubtedly true but not necessarily harmful overall.

  • Rabidly pro-Indian, anti-American rhetoric--undoubtedly true but no different from the rhetoric of many Native scholars.

  • If Cook-Lynn objects to this rhetoric, as many people do, she should make a case against it. She hasn't done that here. Pointing out Churchill's faults--minor academic transgressions, phony Indian heritage, self-aggrandizement--does nothing to challenge his underlying positions. Again, these issues are separate matters.

    For more on the subject, see Churchill from Beginning to End and Churchill:  Manifest Destiny = Holocaust.


    Stephen said...

    "If he lied about being an Indian, as most people seem to think, prove it in the proper forum."

    He did lie about it for example he claimed to be enrolled which later turned out to a complete lie.

    "Incidentally, this is where I laugh once again at people like Kalisetsi and Angryindian for saying white folks shouldn't judge Indians."

    AI's a retard but I can understand Kali after all that cultural exploitation and what not there's nothing wrong with an Indian getting

    "Cook-Lyn's second charge is that Churchill has hurt the "indigenous-ness and sovereignty" causes, weakened the "anti-colonial movement."

    Which he has, people who pose for pix in terrorist outfits, lie and claim victims of terrorist attacks got what they deserved don't do the 'cause' any favors. Churchill is not exactly credible, Churchill's nonsense only serves to alienate people; which isn't a help.

    "How, by being more rabidly pro-Indian than most Indians? By adamantly promoting an indigenous worldview and denouncing America's colonialist government whenever he can? I don't quite see it."

    Calling the government colonial is a bit silly, yes it's corrupt but hardly colonial, the colonizing is all done.

    "But if he's as pro-Indian as they are, does that disqualify him?"

    His lies do, plus why bother with a wannabe?

    " If Churchill is doing roughly the same thing, are they all guilty of hurting the cause?"

    Yes they are; credibility is the key thing and people like Russell Means are not exactly credible. Racist statements, 'republic of lakotah' scams and so on are not a huge help. Not to mention supporting terrorist scum doesn't help either.

    "Rabidly pro-Indian, anti-American rhetoric"

    One can't be anti-American and pro-Indian, Churchillian drek like this is an insult to Indians:

    "Sheeplike, the great majority of Americans can also be counted upon to bleat their approval, at least in the short run, believing as they always do that the nasty implications of what they're doing will pertain only to others."

    Apart from the terrorist support of course the piece is filled with countless lies about Middle Eastern history for example:

    "By this, it should be understood that Middle-Easterners, unlike Americans, have no history of exterminating others purely for profit, or on the basis of racial animus."

    I guess the Armenian genocide was all in my imagination? (And that's just one example of mass murder by Muslims.)

    Stephen said...

    ne last little gem:

    " A good case could be made that the war in which they were combatants has been waged more-or-less continuously by the "Christian West" – now proudly emblematized by the United States – against the "Islamic East" since the time of the First Crusade, about 1,000 years ago."

    The Muslim Game:

    Muslims love talking about the Crusades… and Christians love apologizing for them. To hear both parties tell the story, one would believe that Muslims were just peacefully minding their own business in lands that were legitimately Muslim when Christian armies decided to wage holy war and "kill millions.”

    The Truth:

    Every part of this myth is a lie. By the rules that Muslims claim for themselves, the Crusades were perfectly justified, and the excesses (though beneath Christian standards) pale in comparison with the historical treatment of conquered populations at the hands of Muslims.

    Here are some quick facts…

    The first Crusade began in 1095… 460 years after the first Christian city was overrun by Muslim armies, 457 years after Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies, 453 years after Egypt was taken by Muslim armies, 443 after Muslims first plundered Italy, 427 years after Muslim armies first laid siege to the Christian capital of Constantinople, 380 years after Spain was conquered by Muslim armies, 363 years after France was first attacked by Muslim armies, 249 years after Rome itself was sacked by a Muslim army, and only after centuries of church burnings, killings, enslavement and forced conversions of Christians.

    By the time the Crusades finally began, Muslim armies had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world.

    Stephen said...

    Europe had been harassed by Muslims since the first few years following Muhammad’s death. As early as 652, Muhammad’s followers launched raids on the island of Sicily, waging a full-scale occupation 200 years later that lasted almost a century and was punctuated by massacres, such as that at the town of Castrogiovanni, in which 8,000 Christians were put to death. In 1084, ten years before the first crusade, Muslims staged another devastating Sicilian raid, burning churches in Reggio, enslaving monks and raping an abbey of nuns before carrying them into captivity.

    In theory, the Crusades were provoked by the harassment of Christian pilgrims from Europe to the Holy Land, in which many were kidnapped, molested, forcibly converted to Islam or even killed. (Compare this to Islam’s justification for slaughter on the basis of Muslims being denied access to the Meccan pilgrimage in Muhammad’s time).

    The Crusaders only invaded lands that were Christian. They never attacked Saudi Arabia or sacked Mecca as the Muslims had done (and continued doing) to Italy and Constantinople. Their primary goal was the recapture of Jerusalem and the security of safe passage for pilgrims. The toppling of the Muslim empire was not on the agenda.

    The period of Crusader “occupation” (of its own former land) was stretched over less than two centuries. (The Arab occupation is in its 1,376th year).

    Despite popular depiction, the Crusades were not a titanic battle between Christianity and Islam. Although originally dispatched by papal decree, the "occupiers" quickly became part of the political and economic fabric of the Middle East without much regard for religious differences. Their arrival was largely accepted by the local population as simply another change in authority. Muslim radicals even lamented the fact that many of their co-religionists preferred to live under Frankish (Christian) rule than migrate to Muslim lands.

    The Islamic world was split into warring factions, many of which allied themselves with the Frankish princes against each other at one time or another. For its part, the Byzantine (Eastern Christian) Empire preferred to have little to do with the Crusaders and went so far as to sign treaties with their rivals. Even the Muslim armies that eventually pushed out the Christian rulers spent far more energy fighting each other, both before and after the various re-takings of Jerusalem.

    Another misconception is that the Crusader era was a time of constant war. In fact, very little of this overall period included significant hostilities. In response to Muslim expansion or aggression, there were only about 20 years of actual military campaigning, much of which was spent on organization and travel. (They were from 1098-1099, 1146-1148, 1188-1192, 1201-1204, 1218-1221, 1228-1229, and 1248-1250). By comparison, the Muslim Jihad against the island of Sicily alone lasted 75 grinding years.

    Unlike Jihad, the Crusades were never justified on the basis of New Testament teachings. This is why they are an anomaly, the brief interruption of centuries of relentless Jihad against Christianity that began long before the Crusades and continued well after they were over.

    The greatest crime of the Crusaders was the sacking of Jerusalem, in which 30,000 people were said to have been massacred. This number is dwarfed by the number of Jihad victims, from India to Constantinople, Africa and Narbonne, but Muslims have never apologized for their crimes and never will.

    What is called 'sin and excess' by other religions, is what Islam refers to as the will of Allah.
    So I'd say given how little he actually knows about history Wardo isn't exactly my idea of an academic.

    dmarks said...

    "The greatest crime of the Crusaders was the sacking of Jerusalem, in which 30,000 people were said to have been massacred"

    Are there any totals on how many the Muslim invaders killed when they invaded from the southeast and crushed the Israel/Palestine area?

    Stephen said...

    I actually have no idea, I should look into that... However I'm guessing it's quite high.

    Stephen said...

    Oh and I just realized I didn't finished that sentence about Kali (my memory's terrible) what I was going to post was that I after all that cultural exploitation I understand Kali being apprehensive about non-Natives lecturing about Indian affairs. Not to mention she certainly came off as more friendly than Rob.

    dmarks said...

    Stephen: I think there is a historic double-standard, and you won't find many in the Muslim world decrying the atrocities as Muhammad's empire expanded in a bloody tide of slaughter, plunder, rape, and oppression.

    Stephen said...

    Exactly, just like how we hear endlessly about the atrocities committed by Serbs during the bosnian war but nothing about other atrocities committed by muslims and croats. Some info:

    Just like how those imbeciles rioted about the mohammed cartoons and not about terrorist attacks or vile anti-semitic cartoons.

    Stephen said...

    It's also similiar to how we have to hear about those poooor palestians but next to nothing about the plight of 'dhimmis' (non-muslims) under Islamic rule or what goes on in hellholes like Iran. For example a young girl was murdered for talking about her non-muslim religion to children.

    dmarks said...

    Parenti is so wrong in so many ways: he comes across as a Serbian holocaust denier/apologist with his willfull attempts to gloss over the facts, distort, and lie.

    Only someone willingly attempting to lie about matters would label it "massive death and destruction and the continuing misery inflicted upon Yugoslavia by the western powers", diverting attention from the actual aggressor.

    As for "demonizing Serbia", Serbia demonized itself with its military actions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Croatia. Not that all of these actions took place outside Serbia's borders. Parenti has some sort of gall to call a country that is invading other countries some sort of innocent victim.

    About Srebinica, "The official line, faithfully parroted in the U.S. media, is that [the Serbian Army] committed all the atrocities at Srebrenica.", never mind the fact that this massacre is so well documented in many ways, the Serbian army had no business being in Bosnia, let alone exterminating the non-Serbs in this village.

    If this were WW2, Parenti would be moaning about how the "corporate media" had demonized Nazi Germany, and how it was really a victim of bloodthirsty Jewish war criminals. (sort of like Pat Buchanan is doing now)

    Stephen said...

    I didn't say I agreed with him, I posted that because it had some good info on Muslim and Croat atrocities, I was in a hurry typing up my last post and that was the only piece of info that I had bookmarked, I should mentioned that. I don't deny that atrocities committed by Serbs took place, I just deny the myth that they were the only ones who got their hands bloody. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

    Stephen said...

    Some more (reliable) info:

    Sorry about the false link.

    Rob said...

    Re "He did lie about it for example he claimed to be enrolled which later turned out to a complete lie":

    It wasn't a complete lie. Churchill received an associate membership from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. It was good for about a decade until the tribe said it wasn't.

    So Churchill could claim he was a tribal member. I'm not saying he was one; I'm saying he could claim he was one. That claim has never been tested except in the court of public opinion. Hence my statement about proving it in the proper forum.

    Re "people who pose for pix in terrorist outfits, lie and claim victims of terrorist attacks got what they deserved don't do the 'cause' any favors":

    Perhaps, but it's not a firing offense. Nor is it much of a reason to prevent an otherwise valid rehiring. Besides, Churchill's negatives are counterbalanced by his positives--i.e., adamantly promoting an indigenous worldview and denouncing America's colonialist government.

    The colonizing is all done? Uh-huh, sure it is. Tell it to Peru's Indians, buddy. They're being colonized by oil companies even as you blithely claim they're not.

    Re "One can't be anti-American and pro-Indian":

    I know many people who would disagree. Next time, I suggest you try disproving something Churchill or Means actually said. Your opinion that they're wrong isn't worth much to anyone.

    Rob said...

    As for your comments about the Crusades, they're almost totally irrelevant to this posting. But they're good evidence of your bigotry--your prejudice for white Euro-Americans against Muslims.

    As for Churchill's "A good case could be made" quote, he didn't say anything about the causes of the 1,000-year-old war. His point, which you apparently missed, was that 9/11 didn't occur in a vacuum. It wasn't the opening salvo in a conflict that didn't exist until that moment. Rather, it was umpteenth salvo in a cultural clash that has gone on for centuries.