[star]The American Mind[star]

February 08, 2005

Churchill: Fraud

We learn more about Ward Churchill...and it's not good for him:

Churchill has said at various times that he is either one-sixteenth or three-sixteenths Cherokee, yet genealogical reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and others has failed to turn up any Cherokee ancestors - or any other Native Americans - in Churchill's family tree.

Why should we care one way or another? We should care because Churchill has used his supposed Indian heritage to bully his way into academia. Indeed Churchill lacks what are normally considered the minimum requirements for a tenure-track job at a research university: he never earned a doctorate, and his only degrees are a bachelor's and a master's from a then-obscure Illinois college.

Churchill's lack of conventional academic credentials was apparently compensated for, at least in part in the eyes of those who hired him at the University of Colorado, by the "fact" that he contributed to the ethnic diversity of the school's tenure-track faculty.

To the extent that Churchill was hired because he claimed to be a Native American, he would seem to be guilty of academic fraud. But the situation is worse than this.

Thomas Brown, a professor of sociology at Lamar University, has written a paper that outlines what looks like a more conventional form of academic fraud on Churchill's part. According to Brown, Churchill fabricated a story about the U.S. Army intentionally creating a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan tribe in 1837, by simply inventing almost all of the story's most crucial facts, and then attributing these "facts" to sources that say nothing of the kind.

"One has only to read the sources that Churchill cites to realize the magnitude of his fraudulent claims for them," Brown writes. "We are not dealing with a few minor errors here. We are dealing with a story that Churchill has fabricated almost entirely from scratch. The lack of rationality on Churchill's part is mind-boggling." (Brown's essay can be read here: http://hal.lamar.edu/~browntf/Churchill1.htm.)

Similar charges have been leveled against Churchill by University of New Mexico law professor John Lavelle, a Native American scholar who has documented what appear to be equally fraudulent claims on Churchill's part regarding the General Allotment Act, one of the most important federal laws dealing with Indian lands. (Lavelle also accuses Churchill of plagiarism).


It appears UofC placed diversity before academic qualifications. No wonder the school wants him gone. He's a black eye on their low professorial standards.

If Churchill's miserable academic performance proves true, what would he add to a discussion on Native Americans and racism? This is all the more reason UW-Whitewater should not have him speak next month.

"Truth Tricky for Churchill" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:39 PM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)