Thursday: Ward Churchill: Wielding Words Like Weapons

Sept. 21

The stories that Ward Churchill has told about his incredible life would make a great book. Born to a Native-American family, drafted into the Army to serve as a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrolman in Vietnam, taught the Weathermen how to make bombs, redesigned Soldier of Fortune magazine, hired on as an affirmative action officer at the University of Colorado, and then put on a tenure track despite his lack of a Ph.D. He was the six-figure head of the university’s Ethnic Studies Department in 2005 when it all came crashing down like the Twin Towers. An essay Churchill had written in 2001, no more or less inflammatory than most of his others, had referred to the victims of the 9/11 attack as “little Eichmanns.” The university investigated, firing him in 2007 for multiple instances of plagiarism and other academic misconduct. Native-American tribes had long distanced themselves from Churchill, saying he had not proven any of his claimed Native-American ancestry, claims which at any rate had varied widely over the years. Military records indicated he was not a paratrooper or a LRRP, but a projectionist. The historical record is unclear as to whether he taught Weather Underground members how to make bombs, but it is clear that many of the Weathermen’s bombs failed. Churchill his still throwing rhetorical bombs today, preaching “Pacifism as Pathology,” telling all who care to know that non-violence is capitulation to The Man. The late Russell Means of the American Indian Movement once called Churchill “a full-blooded Indian leader.” You can ask questions. The truth shall set you free. 7:30 p.m., Red Emma’s, 30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7611, redemmas.org, free. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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