Subtitle: “Throw the bums out!”
By Melvin Martin, Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota
As an enrolled member of a U.S. federally recognized tribe, I have high, high hopes that Ward Churchill will not be reinstated at the University of Colorado as I have read eight of the nine affidavits from the various Indian professionals and experts who are contesting Churchill's return to his former position. I am both thrilled as well as extremely proud that we have such intelligent, talented, conscientious people working diligently on behalf of our communities.
Churchill is just one of many hundreds of thousands of non-Indians who in the heyday of affirmative action (from 1975 to 1990) simply claimed to be Indian, minus any valid documentation to that effect, for personal advancement. How many fraudulent miscreants were hired for well-paying jobs in both the public and private sectors then? How many of these quasi-criminal liars were awarded lucrative government contracts (at all levels of government) as “Indian-owned, minority/historically-disadvantaged” businesses?
It's interesting to note that I have been rejected for various jobs or denied a promotion in favor of a CDIB-less wannabe that the company or program liked in much the same way that Hollyweird casts non-Indians in Indian roles. Maybe they (both men and women) were pretty. Maybe the casting couch was involved in the hiring process with these self-identifying "Indians" (many of whom were black as well as white or in some cases even strongly Hispanic or Asian-looking). I don’t know.
I do know a few things though given my experiences “back in the day” when I hit the bricks answering job ads that specifically mentioned “Native Americans strongly encouraged to apply.” One, a giant turkey feather tucked into the huge Afro hairdo of a very, very black man wearing a choker and turquoise jewelry who simply said he’s Choctaw was no laughing matter: he was hired over me. Two, if a statuesque Anna Nicole Smith look-alike who claimed 4/4ths Cherokee, and who worked in the same department as I did doing the same exact job, is made supervisor one month after I applied for the position, what was a "lame" like me to think?
Then there was the light-blond, blue-eyed, Aryan Nation poster boy with the Tab Hunter smile and the glow-in-the-sunlight arm hairs, the “Comanche from Arkansas.” He was the Native American Equal Employment Opportunity officer at one company that I saw (unknown to him) furiously rip up my application with a copy of my CDIB--and quickly bury it in the trash. Ahh! Such were the golden days of affirmative action and its assorted policies designed to redress inequality in America.
What counterbalanced the despicable wannabe overload at the height of affirmative action was the sheer number of non-Indians who were racist and who viewed Indians as dirty, morally debased, illiterate, grunting subhumans. The last thing this crowd wanted was to “self-identify” as American Indian or Alaskan Native. If not for these hordes, I would have lost all my faith in the integrity of humanity.
To Angryindian, a little ditty:
“Oh, where-where were you? When I needed you?
“You-a-who-who, might be Cherokee or Sioux?”
But I digress....
I predict that Ward Churchill will soon be exposed as the fraud that he is, gotten rid of by CU, and that this action will initiate similar actions throughout Indian Country where I know for a fact that "fraud exposure" is gaining in both interest as well as momentum.
As I said in Cook-Lynn: Don't Rehire Churchill, the University of Colorado could try to sue him over his identity claims. A court proceeding is about the only thing that would force Churchill to explain himself to everyone's satisfaction. Failing that I don't see how the university can ignore the jury verdict that said it wrongly fired Churchill. About all it can do is coax Churchill to take a big monetary settlement in lieu of rehiring.
For more on the subject, see Jodi Rave on Ward Churchill and Blogging About Churchill.