Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ward Churchill Speaking in Sudbury

Internationally renowned indigenous scholar and activist Ward Churchill will be speaking in, of all places, little ol' Sudbury on October 30. Here are the details:

Monday, October 30th

1). 1:30 pm. Upper Fraser Auditorium, FA-056, Laurentian University.

2). 7pm. Canisius Hall, University of Sudbury.

Ward Churchill is a Keetoowah Band Cherokee, professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado/Boulder, and member of the Colorado American Indian Movement. He is the author of more than 20 books including Marxism and Native Americans, Fantasies of the Master Race, Struggle for the Land, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, From A Native Son, Critical Issues in Native North America, The COINTELPRO Papers, Indians R Us?, Agents of Repression, Since Predator Came, Pacifism as Pathology, and A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas. Most recently two governors, four state legislators, several members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, as well as the chancellor and a faculty committee have called for him to be fired because of his views on U.S. foreign policy.

Sponsored at Laurentian University by the Department of Native Studies; Native Human Services; Department of Sociology; Department of Geography; Department of Women’s Studies; Department of Political Science; Students General Association; Laurentian University Faculty Association; and in the community by the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty.

If you want more details, email me and I can put you in touch with folks who can provide them.


Nav said...

The same Ward Churchill who compared 9/11 victims to Adolf Eichmann? Goodie.

Scott said...

Funny how so many people across the mainstream political spectrum in North America seem so keen to use the controversy about his post-9/11 remarks in ways that completely disappear his long history of powerful writing on indigenous genocide, which is what he will be talking about in Sudbury. And how the victims and survivors of that genocide are so seldom seen as due the same emotion and vigorous action as the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

And on his comments, I quote from a piece I wrote during the initial controversy on them: "For a more thorough analysis of the essay and the backlash against it based in solidarity with Churchill, agreement with his overall analysis, and critical but supportive engagement with certain details and rhetoric, see writings by Robert Jensen, Michael Albert, Paul Street, and Alex Cockburn. I can't say anything more or better than they have said it."

I haven't read them since then, but from what I recall those references come from a similar place to me in responding to Churchill's words.

Nav said...

So do you think his comparison is an accurate one?

Nav said...

I thought I'd give Alexander Cockburn's column a chance. In the first paragraph he proclaims that the left is sanity and the right is dementia. The inverse could easily have been penned by Ann Coulter, so I closed my browser.

Scott said...

Hi again Nav.

As I said, if you want to get a sense of my response to his comments, read those references.

Btw, I agree that Cockburn can sometimes be a little hard to take...I found the harshness of the polemicizing and lack of openness to nuance at CounterPunch around lefty electoral decisions with respect to the 2004 U.S. election a little hard to take, for example. However, in this case, there are some clear differences between what Coulter might write and what Cockburn has written, in that he may have indulged in a bit of a rhetorical fluorish but the bulk of his article is substantive, based on actual evidence, and in fact argues _against_ the kind of routine and casual calls to violence that Coulter et al pen.

Anyway, it's hard to engage in dialogue with someone who can't/won't read what I've identified as explicating my position. If you don't like Cockburn's piece, why not try Jensen and Albert?

Spartacus O'Neal said...

Indian Country Today online editor John Mohawk perhaps stated it best when he said Churchill's worst offense was in not meeting the mythological expectations of America.
Denouncing collective punishment while acknowledging our individual responsibility to oppose faulty foreign policy that generates blowback like 9/11, Mohawk observes that slaying the messenger teaches us nothing.

Anonymous said...

He is not Indigenous, the Ketoowah comfirmed that he is not enrolled.

Scott said...

Now if only carrying a card that exists because of colonialism were the be all and end all of being indigenous, that might somehow be relevant...there is a long history of the settler states fostering divisions within indigenous nations -- on reserve vs. urban, status vs. non-status, Iroquois vs. Anishnabe, "Indian" vs. non-Indian nations like Inuit and Innu vs. Metis. Trying to count blood quanta, like the right-wing media in the States did with Churchill during their demonization campaign, is old fashioned racism and completely unrelated to the ways in which most indigenous nations in the Americas traditionally thought about belonging.

As so often happens, commenters critical of Churchill in this thread have completely avoided saying anything substantive about the bulk of his scholarship on indigenous issues. The fact that many indigenous people in the communities and at the universities in the city I live in now and the city I used to live in see his work as worthy of attention and respect means a lot more to me than right-wing attempts to say his blood ain't pure enough or discredit him using his location within colonial paperwork regimes. As if any of the people making those arguments have ever listened to the words of indigenous people who _did_ meet those artificial and oppressive criteria.

Oh...and thanks for the link, Jay!

Spartacus O'Neal said...

For those unfamiliar with the politics of being or becoming an enrolled (federally recognized)Indian in the US, I recommend both Indian Country Today online news, and the weblog Wampum.

As you note, the irony of letting the US government determine who gets to be an Indian often escapes those who benefit from depriving tribes of their property and liens on ours.

Perhaps the best example of this is the Chinook Tribe that hosted Lewis and Clark two centuries ago at the mouth of the Columbia. After finally gaining federal recognition in order to receive the health and education benefits promised them by treaty, tribal representatives were invited to the White House as part of the Voyage of Discovery Bicentennial.

Afterward, the Bush Administration had the Chinook's recognition revoked, using the rational that the tribe failed to meet federal criteria for continuous occupation of original homelands, even though the reason they moved inland from the river was because the US Army forced them off their waterfront property at gun point.

If one cannot be an Indian unless enrolled, and cannot be enrolled unless one's tribe is recognized--well, you get the picture.

Spartacus O'Neal said...

The other piece of this you allude to is that tribal governance structures dictated to federally recognized tribes were meant to further assimilate or annihilate their culture. Thus pressured to adopt individualist rather than communal values, some Indian families became too powerful while other families were literally left out.

Sometimes this took the extreme form of blood descendants of treaty signatories being left off enrollments, while others were determined to be of a different band not included when recognition was granted by the US as much as a century or more after treaty adoption by Congress.

To say US Indian policy is convoluted is putting it mildly.

Scott said...

Extremely convoluted! And thanks for adding specifics about the U.S. situation...I'm far from an expert on either but I am more familiar with the details of what goes on in Canada. The end results are similar here, but the mechanisms, particularly given how convoluted it all is, are often different in their details.

And re. some families becoming powerful while others were left out: I was just talking the other day to someone I know who was shaking her head about the fact that those exact colonially-fostered family politics mean that she can't get funding through her home reserve to continue her education...she has had better luck with a more distant reserve to which she has no family ties but which is, apparently, better governed and open to being broadly supportive of others from the same nation.

And the still-continuing stand-off in Caledonia is very related to federally-dictated governance structures, of course...the traditional government of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was displaced at gun point by the RCMP in the early 1920s, so resistance today is complicated by the colonially-produced division between those who identify with the Confederacy and those who identify with the band council.

Spartacus O'Neal said...

Oh yes, and then add to that the division between those who resisted the US and those who were compliant, as well as those who converted to Christianity and those who did not, furthering resentments and disparities within what was an extended family system. When blood quantum is mixed with the above controversies, it can get real nasty.

Eric Demha said...

Hi we're hoping to have Ward to speak at the University of Prince Edward Island in February, he's going to be in Fredericton, New Brunswick and we think he may be interested in coming out here as well. Anyway, we are looking for either Churchill's or his handlers contact information. I would really appreciate it if you could forward that information to me at Thank you.