July 27, 2007

Churchill fired for wrong reason?

University of Colorado axes Ward Churchill on charges of academic misconductThe investigation into Churchill's academic misconduct did not consider a much more prolonged controversy that has outraged scholars and others in Indian country, who charge that Churchill has fraudulently advanced his academic career over the last 20 years by misrepresenting himself as an American Indian, a claim disputed by the Cherokee Nation, Keetoowah Band and Muscogee (Creek) Nation when Churchill claimed Cherokee and Creek ancestry.

The investigative panel refused to consider the charge that Churchill had falsely claimed Indian ancestry, even though it noted that several Native leaders had made this complaint to the university in the mid-'90s and had been disregarded.

"Ward Churchill is a fraud and, unfortunately, cannot be defended by Indian Studies professionals. It is unfortunate because many people in the field believe his role as an 'advocacy Historian' for Indian Studies has been crucial to achieving some influence in declaring how destructive the colonial "master narrative" of America has been to Native populations. He has spoken out against colonialism all of his professional life. His unsubstantiated claim to Indian identity, though, is a destructive act and it is an academic fraud that we have struggled against in Indian Studies for decades," said Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, professor emerita at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash.


Sodbuster said...

At the time Churchill was hired there was well-qualified real Natives that had applied for the job. The university chose to go with Churchill. Obviously, they weren't too concerned with hiring a Native American.

Rob said...

How Churchill was hired and whether he's an Indian are questions the university didn't investigate but should've.