Author Topic: Ward Churchill  (Read 73841 times)

Offline Rattlebone

  • Posts: 256
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2008, 02:43:06 am »
 That last post was awesome Moma Porcupine. I agreed with everything you said.

 I also agreed with much of what you said in the threads provided by your links.

 Once again very nice posts :)


  • Guest
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2008, 05:48:48 am »
- removed by author -
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 08:21:57 am by nighthawk »

Offline Moma_porcupine

  • Posts: 681
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2008, 01:50:48 pm »
Well first of all, when it comes to Ward Churchill, we seem to be talking about a rather extreme example of a  Person of Distant Ancestry ( maybe ) with what is in my opinion , a truely grandious sense of entitlement .

Below is a website with some information on his family background

EDITOR'S NOTE:The author of the following apparently shares the opinion of Ward CHURCHILL that the source of his Indian heritage was the TYNER family. The author here cites Richard TYNER as the possible source, while Churchill cites Richard's son Joshua TYNER.  In all censuses in which either could be found, both were listed as "white". If Joshua TYNER was 1/2 Indian by birth, and barring any other unknown interventions in subsequent generations, Ward Churchill would be 1/128 Indian.

I guess Churchill's attitude is interesting though...It seems some people seem to think if they get angry about "their" mistreatment as Native peoples, playing that role will entitle them to an Ndn identity even if their actual genealogy barely justifies calling themselves a person of distant descent.
I don't mean to suggest that everybody's situation is the same or this can rightly be defined by BQ - in itself -So in between Churchill and people who are enrolled , there seems to be a wide spectrum of varying circumstances.

I think most would agree a persons personal life experience also counts for a lot. If a person is only 1/16 but they grew up around greatgrandparents, a bunch of aunts , uncles great aunts and uncles and cousins who all married back into a Native community, I can see that such people may have a substantially stronger right to claim an indigenous identity than someone who is 1/4 who hasn't had any family connection with Native people in 3 generations. 
However, it also seems to me that it is more than a little dishonest to suddenly decide you only inherited 1/8 or 1/128 of your actual heritage and only to acknowledge that part of your heritage that comes from your ancestors who were wronged. I don't understand how these people manage to just forget any debts incured and inherited by the other 7/8 or 127/ 128  of their ancestors who perpetrated these wrongs.

If my ancestors were robbed, cheated, and driven out at the point of a bayonetted rifle, it does not mean that they consented to the theft

Night hawk, i don't know your families personal circumstance,  but it seems to me that once families have been living outside of a Native community for a couple generations, it is usually the case that most of these peoples ancestors were involved in doing the robbing cheating and driving out , and not the other way around as you are telling it.

Within all of our family backgrounds no matter what our nation there is wrong doers and people who were the victim of wrong doing.

How can it be right or honest to just forget what is in fact usually the largest part of most PODIAs real heritage?

It seems to me that if PODIAs really care about begining to shift the pressure away from assimilation and colonization, the way to go about this would be to first try to protect the people most directly affected , who have the most to loose, by making sure no outside interests ever pressured or coherce a tribe into disenfranchizing it's own children .  Once those outside presures are reduced as much as possible,  it might make sense to begin to reassimilate distant relations - with the first priority being the people disconnected most recently ,and possibly gradually expanding this to in some way include those disconnected for many generations.

I don't like to sound cynical, but I notice most PODIA's focus is geared towards insisting that whatever Native people managed to hang on to in the way of their identity , should now also belong to people who are almost entirely European. Which doesn't seem honest to me.

And yet Euro-Americans and their descendants were all right with this when not so long ago the "one drop rule of hypodescent" applied, if a person had a single African American or Native American ancestor (with the exception of being a direct descendant of Matoaka, Rebecca Rolfe) no matter how distant that ancestor was, one was considered to be coloured and could be enslaved.

I don't know your own family situation and for some people of susbstantial Native heritage who have been wrongly forced into assimilating i would agree with what you are saying. But if we are talking about people like Ward Churchill, or anyone less than 1/8 who's families have lived in what is a mainly non native community for more than a couple generations , you sound like you are saying that one drop of indigenous blood can still confer the right of Euorpean dominence . But this time it is the right of people who are mainly European to own and use Native identity.

And it is the colonial "divide and conquer" system that has resulted in what we sometimes see on message boards, the "I'm more NDN than you" game, which seems to me to basically be between those who have a card to carry around saying they are "all that" and those who don't.

I believe a lot of this problem comes from European people who may have some small amount of native descent making outrageously grandious claims of entitlement. These people create a situation where an obvious line has to be drawn somewhere . Surely you don't actually believe that people like Churchill should have the same right to claim an indigenous identity as a  person who's direct acestors have always live in a recognizable Native community ? So if you don't draw the line at enrollment , where do you draw it ? ( and BTW I don't see enrollment as " just a piece of paper" as some like to dismiss it , it's usually someting which shows what the tribe has decided about who it is , and who it is not willing to include ) 

To me a tribe is a group that is related by blood, like a large extended family. A Nation is something else again. Some families retained parts of their culture that the people who experienced the diaspora have completely lost. One of these things would be familiarity with the wild foods and medicines of the region. People who left the land for other regions would have forgotten what these were after a very few generations. My personal belief is that to fully experience the culture, one must return to the traditional diet as far as possible. It's about what goes into a person, not what is put onto a person that counts, that's just the way I feel about it, others are free to disagree.

I agree that in order to be a tribe one of the requirements is a common relationship through blood, but that doesn't make every group of cousins who's grandparents lived off the land to some degree a tribe. That description would fit almost any European descended family 100 years ago.

I also agree that food and how we get it is one of the most fundamentle aspects of culture . Finding ways to get food which respects the integrity of our enviroment and the other plants and animals that rely on this is an indigenous value which we urgently need to find ways to integrate into our curent societies. But i think it's also important to remember that socieites that depend on agriculture for their food tend to have much larger populations and a very different social structure. I think it is unrealistic to think all these people who have a drop of Native blood can suddenly be sustained by hunting and gathering , or that these people should have a right to sustain their so called culture, through the same rights to hunting and fishing as the enrolled or status Ndns in the area.
Quoting myself
It seems there is an identity somewhere in between being European colonist and being fully indigenous to this continent, and the rights , responsibilities and perimeters of this identity are not well defined.

Quoting Nighthawks response
Most definitely. A sovereign people of a sovereign Nation define themselves. There seems to be, but shouldn't be in my  opinion, a divide between the people who want things to continue as they are, and others who believe it is time for Indigenous peoples, the Original people, of North America to stand up and be who they are.

I was not meaning that I was thinking that within the perimeters of this definition there is room for a sperate soverign Nation of PODIAs, and as you will probably gathered from some of my earlier comments, I don't support these ambitions at all, but there is something slightly different that I do support.

As I see it, a truely soveriegn Nation consitiutes the true underlying social fabric where upon we live out our lives. A soveriegn Nation or Tribe is much more enduring than our individual selves, and if it is something that is functional and if it is something we are proud of , it has the capacity to lift us out of ourselves into something greater than our tiny limited frame  of individuality and immediate personal concern.
If you want to be a sovergien nation of PODIAs , why turn you back on your more European descended neighbors if the majority of your own descent and culture is in fact European? If you are really looking at the big picture , and you are willing to wait a few generations for this to mature, most of your European neighbors great grandkids will be PODIAs or they will be married to one .

So if you are willing to look at the big picture, and be pateint there already is a soveriegn Nation of up and coming PODIAs. It is called America and Canada.   If you have no Nation which claims you, why not work from within the real soveriegn Nation most PODIAs already live in, to make it better able to accomadate sustainable indigenous values into what will be our shared collective future?

In my opinion one of the very imporant parts of doing this is to safe guard the right to protect and control , land , resources , identity and culture that are still left to the recognizable indigenous communities that managed to survive as a People . I see these indigenous communities which many Americans and Canadians descend from somewhere back there , as being like the North Star which provides a stable point of reference, and I believe it is really important to insure existing indigenous nations have what they need to keep this strong. Allowing them to be overwhelmed with distant relatives with a list of demands , entitlements and changing delusions of self importance is not what I think will help maintain this refferece point for future generations.

Obviously I do have opinions which are different than the many people advocting for recognition of PODIAs as ndns...But i do think it's a good discussion to have and i really appreciate that Nighthawk is willing to  explain a different point of view insuch an articulate way....

Sorry to be straying from the topic of this thread which is Ward Churchill
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 02:03:51 pm by Moma_porcupine »


  • Guest
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #48 on: July 01, 2008, 07:17:08 am »
- removed by author -
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 08:19:20 am by nighthawk »


  • Guest
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #49 on: July 01, 2008, 06:03:48 pm »
- removed by author -
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 08:18:51 am by nighthawk »

Offline Rattlebone

  • Posts: 256
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #50 on: July 01, 2008, 06:19:08 pm »
Wasn't Ward Churchill's claim made originally so he could take advantage of some sort of "affirmative action" hiring program? If that's not the case, correct me if I'm wrong.

There's some similar but not the same program in "Canada" but it's fairly new:

I find that Robert Lovelace is somewhat similar to Ward Churchill, but things have not worked out quite the same way for him in "Canada".

He is (according to him) an American draft dodger, who claimed to be "Cherokee", became a University professor, when people started researching him, he seems to have changed his claim to that of having been adopted by an Algonquin. He also claimed to be a member of AIM, but when that was checked out no one had heard of him. I think he's what I would call a "political pretendian" like Ward Churchill, meaning the main reason for him making such a claim has to do with politics.

All the same objectionable, because both of them in my view are misrepresenting the people.

Anyway as Chief of the Ardoch Algonquins, he organised a protest against uranium mining which resulted in six months in jail for disobeying an injunction, and has been touted internationally as a political prisoner. And he could be considered that by some, but that does not make him NDN.

Many stories about Lovelace on the 'net, here's just one:

As to his claim to be Chief of the Ardoch Algonquins, according to MNN he was involved in negotiating the sale of unceded Haudenosaunee land for large sums of money to "Canada" and the province of "Ontario" (NB: much  of "Canada" is on unceded, never sold or transferred, never under any treaty at all, Indigenous land).   That was before he got involved in protesting against uranium mining, I think.

Because of the alleged land sales to "Canada" and "Ontario", I wonder if jailing him actually had to do with giving him some sort of credibility as an NDN activist internationally or something, because a whole lot of people read the name now and think he actually is Native; the facts are somewhat buried, as is the research into his background (the claim to having been an AIM member and "Cherokee" primarily).

 I am not really familiar with him besides that I know Indian Country today did an article on him a few weeks back in which they interviewed him over his jail time and the reasons behind it.


  • Guest
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #51 on: July 01, 2008, 06:21:33 pm »
- removed by author -
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 08:18:39 am by nighthawk »

Offline Raven2

  • Posts: 29
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #52 on: July 01, 2008, 08:30:35 pm »

I think words like that also put me on edge at times being a mixed blood cause people always seem to be judging you, with hatred coming from both sides cause you are t oo this to be that, and at the same time too much of that to be this.

 I have had my own relations get drunk and want to fight me because I am Native, and at the same times get the poor treatment from more full blooded people for being mixed.

 It is a hard road to walk sometimes, and I often see some that try to some how hide who they are. I often refer to that as "the cowards road." I am not ashamed to be a mixed blood, and often times being as such allows me to help promote understanding between NDN's and NON's. Since I am in between they feel it's easier to speak with me. Then often times I hear things people say and I explain why they are that way if the cultural barriers they have prevent them from knowing.

 I suppose that using a word like PODIA is not a bad thing, and explains things in simple to relations as well.

 I am sorry for any misunderstandings here.

(snipped some from the top, agreeing with you on it causing divisions when words are meant in a bad way, put down others, etc.)

i'm mixed ancestry too (euro [not too sure of this one], l'nu [mi'kmaq], smattering of iiyu [cree]) and i get the same thing from both sides. i know exactly what you're talking about. even down to the NONs coming up to me and talking to me instead of a browner cousin 'cause they see the mix, and figure i walk that middle, lonely, road. same goes for the NDN side, they go, "hey you're ok, talk to them", and i do. that part makes it a little less lonely, and a little less hard. the nasty bits i could do without, of course ;).

i don't need to say that i don't like racism of any sort, not only because i think it's wrong, but also because i've experienced it, and i don't want it to spread. it bugs me to hear my friends, relatives, some community members say ignorant things. i let them know by not laughing, or saying "that's not cool bro/sis".

anyway, this PODIA acronym i don't see it mean, at least used here in that way. my own cultural background i got it mostly from my dad's ma, my gran'ma, since she kept that alive, to a certain extent. i didn't get enough of it, but enough to influence me growing up.

thanks for listening
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 08:57:35 pm by SimonRaven »
I do not endorse this web site and forum.

Offline ganonsononh

  • Posts: 1
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #53 on: July 03, 2008, 12:08:48 am »
Well despite his ancestry, obviously someone whose experience in relation to indigenous issues consists purely of academic knowledge as opposed to lived experiential knowledge will be questioned by the indigenous community as to whether that person is justified in speaking for/about the issues that they experience day to day. 

I always respected his work, cited his work in university and used his theories to expand my own way of speaking about the political and social issues that are central to indigenous communities.

This was until I met him last fall and witnessed the outright disrespect and despicable behaviour he exhibited to the  native community where I live in Vancouver BC.

Not only did he advocate for the FBI to investigate themselves in the death of Anna Mae, which as many know the FBI is implicated in her death and to those of us who have the experiential knowledge, understand the role that the security apparatus of the state plays in the continuing genocide of our people.  This is done through manipulation of data, criminalization of our own people and in the case of many people...murder.  So considering an organization such as this is capable of such means, how could a person who speaks so "radically" possibly support them in their further involvement as the investigators of any case having to do with native freedom fighters such as anna mae!

Ward also denied documented and recorded statements he had made while sitting on a panel with Russell Means and also within one of his own books...when confronted by native activists defending the case of John Graham who is being implicated with AMs murder based on coerced statements (FBI tortured a statement out of Orlo Looking Cloud to implicate John) and evidence classified merely as reasonable doubt...Ward refused to acknowledge what he said and proceeded to get the primarily "white" audience to laugh at the ONLY native people who were actually present.  Basically outright denial of his own words and then publicly attempting to humiliate and belittle the native activist community here in Vancouver.

After the confrontation, I witnessed when a friend of mine spoke to him very calmly asking him about the issue, he proceeded to swear at her, myself and another young woman, told us we were not "Real Indians" and said that you cannot treat a guest like this on the territory, that it is not traditional.

I then asked him, "I am a guest on this territory as well, and have been formally welcomed by the coast salish, can I ask whom invited you here?" I knew full well he was invited by a non-native white activist group who had no affiliation to the native community and ignored the concerns raised about this event.  He replied "A mixed group of people", I then said "Well if you are unaware of who invited you here, how can you impose traditional protocol onto any of us if you yourself did not follow it while entering this territory yourself?"

He then began shouting obscenities, calling us "fake Indians" and it was at that point I calmly turned around and walked away.  My comrades followed and as we walked away from him he continued to yell foul statements and insults.

I also might add, this was the only interaction he had at this event with ANY native person attending, and there were native attendants who were not involved with the confrontation including myself...he seemed only concerned with the non-native academics that were present.  I witnessed it, but was not apart of the confrontation which was not only native activists, but also the daughters of John Graham who recently was ILLEGALLY extradited to the states from kkkanada.  He basically insulted and attempted to intimidate young women who are directly connected to the struggle, unlike himself who is merely a theorist and academic and has very little actual experience with the hands on struggle.

He also had brought up the Oka crisis as though he were there, used it to support his lecture and my partner who was in Oka had knowledge that in the past Ward offered little support and was not indeed present during the crisis.

So all in all, I feel it is fair to acknkowledge he is a container of theories...a library for language to talk about the struggle, but no means is what he says meant to reflect his actions, his integrity or who he is as a person.

It has been my experience that when I meet the great academics I once admired (Taiaiake Alfred, Vine Deloria Jr., John Mohawk) they did not live up to my expectations that just because they write things I admire, they as people will be ones I wish to admire.  No disrespect to John Mohawk, he has passed, he by no means was nearly as bad as the others, but contradicted much of what he wrote about when you spoke to him in person....Taiaiake to a much greater degree (especially with his comments about those who blockade deserving of kkkanadian criminal punishment)

So IMO it must be understood that academia is not the most trustworthy source of knowledge for those of us who are indigenous.  Regardless of your blood quantum, to be indigenous is to be truly human.  We all have indigenous roots, all across this is the values you practice, the sense of community you build around you wherever you go, it is seeing the land as no different then yourself and respecting those whose ancestors are buried on the ground you walk no matter where you travel.  It is how your culture connects you to the earth and the ability to honor that earth in your struggle to protect it.  Regardless of "how" we speak about this in our lives, regardless of our ancestry...our expectations of one another to direct, lead or steer the course FOR us is misled.  We can choose what information we choose to use as our medicine, we can be inspired by whatever we want...but don't assume that those who exhibit that inspiration are where the inspiration comes from...

Ultimately you are the one who creates your knowledge and you are the one responsible for what you express...can't make others understand that or fit into some idealism that we would love to believe of them.

Ward unfortunately proved himself to be less then idealistic, so why would it surprise you that others might feel the same if this is an ongoing pattern with him?  And what does it matter me he comes off unintegrous and undignified and for that reason he lost any support I may have been willing to give him in the past...someone else may feel different...not going to change how I feel or what I do.

Offline Raven2

  • Posts: 29
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #54 on: July 03, 2008, 07:25:32 am »
well said about "So IMO it must be understood that academia is not the most trustworthy source of knowledge ... [snip] ... can't make others understand that or fit into some idealism that we would love to believe of them."

it is ourselves who gather our own knowledge, and our own understanding of it, and what we learn from it. having grown up in the city, i know all too well what sort of disconnect can happen. even in the greyest of places, i'm always looking for something green (when the season's right) around me. i find it important to be aware of where your are, who are the people the land's caretakers are where i am, and what's happening to it. to me that's just basic, and too often i'll see other people not even be aware of other humans around, never mind the little plant poking through a crack in the sidewalk, fighting to be alive.

as for ward churchill, all i can say is that his behaviour and actions speak louder than his dozens of books.
I do not endorse this web site and forum.

Offline educatedindian

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4754
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #55 on: July 03, 2008, 02:28:28 pm »
Churchill came to ASU at the invite of some white leftists for a conference, and that's who made up, almost the entire audience. The conference had a free concert the night before. I went and spotted Churchill. He saw me and took off the other way, then suddenly reversed himself and walked right by me without saying a word and refusing to look at me.

I can only guess I look like someone he had problems with in the past.

I've never heard any bad accounts of Deloria. He spent his entire life using his academic training in the service of NDN people, and the most dramatic evidence of that is the Bering Strait Theory is being widely challenged within academia as well as outside. In ten years I'd bet you won't hear the BS Theory mentioned in textbooks except as one possible theory that looks increasingly unlikely. One person whose also never disappointed when I've seen her speak is Devon Mihesuah.

A major reason I chose ASU for my grad school was that ASU always emphasized that any NDN history research be done solely for the benefit of NDN communities. And that includes works by white historians. A lot of the work that's come out of there has been community histories or works done to support NDN communities in legal struggles.

That's also why I enjoy where I teach now (except for the pay, which is typically very low all over Texas). St. Phillip's started out as a freedmen's college, and it still serves people who need it the most, mostly nontraditional students like I was.

Offline Soma

  • Posts: 6
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2011, 01:35:01 pm »

"Before we start the interview, Reporters, Do not ask Ward Churchill if he is a American Indian!"

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1417
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2020, 03:59:57 pm »
Ward Churchill was asked about today in the thread about Jimmie Durham. I quote my full reply:

Didn't Ward Churchill write an essay or book chapter defending Jimmie Durham as "Nobody's Pet Poodle" and championing him for being a Cherokee "Indian artist" while not proving he has an ancestor on the rolls?

He certainly did! Here are bibliographic references: Churchill, Ward: "Nobody’s Pet Poodle. Jimmie Durham: an artist for Native North America." Pages 483-499. [In the book] From a Native Son: Selected Essays on Indigenism 1985 (1995). With an introduction by Howard Zinn. Boston, Mass.: South End Press, ©1996. xix, 588 p.: ill., maps; 23 cm. — Also published here: "Nobody's Pet Poodle: Jimmie Durham, An Artist for Native North America," in American Indian Quarterly 20 (Winter 1996): 109-118. — My search indicates it was also printed a couple of other times and places (perhaps in differing versions).

About the book:

The whole book is freely available for download here:

Please note: That essay/chapter is discussed in this 2011 PDF [Allegation B: Misrepresentation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990]: [REPORT ON THE TERMINATION OF WARD CHURCHILL]

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1417
Re: Steve Russell casts doubt on Andrea Smith's Cherokee heritage
« Reply #58 on: June 14, 2021, 12:10:29 am »
In a previous post on this thread, Kevin mentioned an article by Steve Russell in which Russell seems to suggest that Andrea Smith is not Cherokee.

Can anyone please fill me in on this?  I have used her books in my classes, including Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide and The Color of Violence.

However, what I'm wondering about is this line from a recent op-ed piece by Steve Russell, which was posted on and reposted here by Kevin the other day.  In his article, Russell says this regarding Smith: "My position is that even though not Cherokee, [my emphasis] she cannot be a fraud of Churchill's stature. "

This idea that Andrea Smith is NOT Cherokee is what is new to me.  It was my understanding that she is a well-respected scholar and Cherokee woman.

I was wondering if anyone might have any information to confirm or deny Russell's assertion.

A thread about Andrea Smith was started in 2012; still active: [Andrea Smith]

Offline milehighsalute

  • Posts: 357
Re: Ward Churchill
« Reply #59 on: June 23, 2021, 05:51:38 am »
true story

ward churchill tried to hit on my aunt....she wasnt interested

he gave her a painting

she gave it to me

i never checked to see if he plagiarized this picture like many of his other paintings....maybe one day ill post it here no one has seen this one its an original not a print

i hope one day its worth alot as a NOVELTY painted by the guy that tried to fool (and in some cases did) the ndn community in denver lol