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May 19, 2005

"Who Said You Were An Indian, White Man?"

Ward Churchill's "proof" of Indian ancenstry has always hung by three very thin threads. You may think I'm joking about the first two because I don't have a cite. Well, my cite is the Brit Hume show last night. Brit read them with that near-chuckle of his that he's finding increasingly difficult to stifle.

Ward Churchill's claim to be an Indian is based on:

1) The fact that he thinks of himself as an Indian.

Look, I spent a very profitable summer touring, um, clubs as the Indian as part of a Village People cover band (we were called "Hang Out With All the Boys"), and yet this fact alone did not warrant Colorado University hiring me as an Indian studies professor.

2) Other people think of him as an Indian.

Again: I sold it. In my head-dress and fringe jacket, I was an Indian, damnit, and I've got the tips to prove it.


3) The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians gave Ward Churchill an "honorary associate membership."

Okay, I didn't have that. So maybe he really is an Indian. Right?


An Oklahoma Indian tribe says an embattled University of Colorado professor whose claim of Indian heritage is under investigation "could not prove any Cherokee ancestry."

In a statement on its Web site, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians said it gave Ward Churchill an "honorary associate membership" because he promised to write a tribal history.

Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies who could lose his job over allegations that he lied about his ancestry and plagiarized others' work, said Wednesday the tribe's statements are false.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Churchill said the United Keetowahs' membership committee twice confirmed he has Cherokee ancestors before he was made an associate member. He said the tribe has a right to disenroll him or ask him to resign, but that it hasn't done so.

Ah. The tribe he "belongs" to is lying. All of them. Every last one of those dishonest redskins is lying.

Now, I don't want to speculate, but could it be that Ward Churchill has been, err, misrepresenting the import of this silly little junior G-Man card this tribe gave him, pretty much just to be nice and get him off their tits, for years and years? And that it's only now that someone thought of contacting the tribe to ask if the "honorary associate membership" actually meant anything at all?

If I'd known they were giving out "honorary associate memberships," I would have applied for one myself. Believe me, I earned it that summer with Hanging Out With All The Boys. Things happened on the tour bus between Key West and Miami I still can't talk to a therapist about.

You want to talk about a Trail of Tears? Don't even get me started.

Thanks to Chickpea.

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