Ward Churchill Academic Freedom and the Footnote Police
Who is Ward Churchill? • Churchill is of American Indian ancestry through both his parents, and has stated that he is an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. • In 1966, Churchill was drafted into the United States Army. Military records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that Churchill was trained as a projectionist and truck driver. • Churchill had been politically radicalized as a result of his experiences in Vietnam, and notes that he had taught bomb-making to members of the Weather Underground.
Following his military service, Churchill received his B.A. and M.A. in Communications from Sangamon State University, now the University of Illinois at Springfield. • He was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Alfred University after giving a lecture there about American Indian history. • In the late 1970’s, Churchill began working as an affirmative action officer at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1990, he was hired as an assistant professor and was granted tenure the following year.
As a scholar, Churchill has written on American Indian history and culture. • In Agents of Repression (1988), co-authored by Jim Vander Wall, the authors describe "the secret war" against the Black Panther Party and American Indian Movement carried out during the late 1960s and '70s by the FBI under the COINTELPRO program. • In Fantasies of the Master Race (1992), Churchill examines the portrayal of American Indians and the use of American Indian symbols in popular American culture. • In Perversions of Justice (2002), Churchill argues that the U.S.'s legal system was adapted to gain control over American Indian people.
I cannot convey to you the amount of pride we have in Ward Churchill, and the amount of pride he gives us.- Russell Means, American Indian Movement
The “Little Eichmanns” Controversy • Churchill wrote an essay in September 2001 entitled "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" about the September 11, 2001 attacks. • In that essay, Churchill argued that American foreign policies provoked the attacks, and further questioned the innocence of many of the people killed in the World Trade Center attacks, labeling them the "technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire" and repeating John Zerzan's phrase "little Eichmanns."
“They did not license themselves to target innocent civilians.There is simply no argument to be made that the Pentagon personnel killed on September 11 fill that bill. The building and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center . . .Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.”
“As things stand, including the 1993 detonation at the WTC, "Arab terrorists" have responded to the massive and sustained American terror bombing of Iraq with a total of four assaults by explosives inside the US. That's about 1% of the 50,000 bombs the Pentagon announced were rained on Baghdad alone during the Gulf War(add in Oklahoma City and you'll get something nearer an actual 1%). They've managed in the process to kill about 5,000 Americans, or roughly 1% of the dead Iraqi children (the percentage is far smaller if you factor in the killing of adult Iraqi civilians, not to mention troops butchered as/after they'd surrendered and/or after the "war-ending" ceasefire had been announced). With that, they've given Americans a tiny dose of their own medicine.. This might be seen as merely a matter of "vengeance" or "retribution," and, unquestionably, America has earned it, even if it were to add up only to something so ultimately petty. The problem is that vengeance is usually framed in terms of "getting even," a concept which is plainly inapplicable in this instance. As the above data indicate, it would require another 49,996 detonations killing 495,000 more Americans, for the "terrorists" to "break even" for the bombing of Baghdad/extermination of Iraqi children alone. And that's to achieve "real number" parity. To attain an actual proportional parity of damage – the US is about 15 times as large as Iraq in terms of population, even more in terms of territory – they would, at a minimum, have to blow up about 300,000 more buildings and kill something on the order of 7.5 million people.”
Response from Colorado Gov. Bill Owens Dear Friends: We have come to a teaching moment at the University of Colorado. I applaud every person on the University of Colorado campus who has come to speak out against the indecent, insensitive and inappropriate comments and writings of Ward Churchill. All decent people, whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, should denounce the views of Ward Churchill. Not only are his writings outrageous and insupportable, they are at odds with the facts of history. The thousands of innocent people - and innocent they were - who were murdered on September 11 were murdered by evil cowards. Indeed, if anyone could possibly be compared to the evildoers of Nazi Germany, it is the terrorists of the 21st century who have an equally repugnant disregard for innocent human life. No one wants to infringe on Mr. Churchill's right to express himself. But we are not compelled to accept his pro-terrorist views at state taxpayer subsidy nor under the banner of the University of Colorado. Ward Churchill besmirches the University and the excellent teaching, writing and research of its faculty. Ideas have consequences, and words have meaning. If there is one lesson that we hope that all Coloradans take from this sad case - and especially our students – it is that civility and appropriate conduct are important. Mr. Churchill's views are not simply anti-American. They are at odds with simple decency, and antagonistic to the beliefs and conduct of civilized people around the world. His views are far outside the mainstream of civil discourse and useful academic work.
Resolution of Colorado House of Representatives - February 2nd 2005WHEREAS, The tragedy of September 11, 2001, marked one of the darkest days in American history; and WHEREAS, The terrorist attacks cost more than 3,000 innocent people their lives; and WHEREAS, The pain of the families who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001, attacks is immeasurable; and WHEREAS, The healing process for those who lost a family member in the September 11, 2001, attacks is still ongoing; and WHEREAS, It is important for the people of Colorado to aid in and support that healing process; and WHEREAS, Professor Ward L. Churchill's essay, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, strikes an evil and inflammatory blow against America's healing process; and WHEREAS, Professor Churchill's essay contains a number of statements and contentions that are deplorable and do not reflect the values of the people of the State of Colorado; and WHEREAS, Professor Churchill's essay, which claims that the victims at the World Trade Center were not innocent, states, "As for those in the World Trade Center, ... well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But Innocent, Gimme a break." And Professor Churchill goes on to compare the innocent victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks to Adolph Eichmann, the man who executed Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jews during World War II;and WHEREAS, The sentiment of these statements strikes at the hearts of those who lost a loved one in the World Trade Center attack; and WHEREAS, The victims at the World Trade Center were innocent in every sense of the word and should always be remembered as innocent victims of an unprovoked attack on America; now, therefore, Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty-fifth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein: (1) That the General Assembly expresses its heartfelt sympathy for the victims of the September 11, 2001, tragedy and their families; and (2) That the General Assembly commemorates the lives lost during the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Ward Churchill Responds to Criticism I am not a "defender"of the September 11 attacks, but simply pointing out that if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned. I have never said that people "should" engage in armed attacks on the United States, but that such attacks are a natural and unavoidable consequence of unlawful U.S. policy. As Martin Luther King, quoting Robert F. Kennedy, said, "Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.“ It should be emphasized that I applied the "little Eichmanns" characterization only to those described as "technicians." Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-1-1 attack. According to Pentagon logic, were simply part of the collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that's my point. It's no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else. If we ourselves do not want to be treated in this fashion, we must refuse to allow others to be similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name.
Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill The University released its investigative committee findings on May 16, 2006. Seven Allegations of Research Misconduct were reviewed, including subjects of, - Smallpox Blanket Genocide - Misrepresentation of General Allotment Act (1887) - Plagiarism: Annette Jaimes and Rebecca Robbins
Notes from Investigative Report “Professor Churchill is one if the most widely read and influential writers in this country who deal with American Indian Issues.” “Professor Churchill described his approach more fully in the introduction to A Little Matter of Genocide: ‘Through the book, I have gone out of my way to provide what Noam Chomsky has called ‘Rich Footnotes.’  The reasons for this are several and devolve not merely upon the usual scholarly fetish with indicating familiarity with ‘the literature.’ I do believe that when making many of the points I’ve sought to make and with the bluteness which typically marks my work, one is well advised to be thorough in revealing the basis upon which they rest. I also believe it is a matter not just of courtesy, but of ethics, to make proper attribution to those to those upon whose ideas and research one relies. Most importantly, I want those who read this book to be able to interrogate what I’ve said, to challenge it and consequently to build on it. The most expedient means to this end is the provision of copious annotation, citing sources both pro and con.’ Our Committee agrees wholeheartedly with Professor Churchill’s on full and accurate referencing and his stress on the role of citations in promoting constructive interrogation of the statements made by himself and other authors.”
As things stand, the entire procedure appears to be little more than a carefully-orchestrated effort to cast an aura of legitimacy over an entirely illegitimate set of predetermined outcomes. It follows that I reject and will vigorously contest each and every finding of misconduct.- Ward Churchill A Travesty of an "Investigation"