Saturday, July 28, 2007
Ward Churchill, Academic, Literary and Indian Fraud
FOR RELEASE: Thursday, July 26, 2007
FROM: American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council
Ministry for Information
PRESS CONTACT: Vernon Bellecourt, WaBunInini
Indiz-Nikaz, Anishinaabe Ojibwe Nation
Member of the Executive Committee and Director of the
Ministry on Foreign Affairs for the American Indian Movement
Grand Governing Council
Ward Churchill, Academic Fraud, Literary Fraud and Indian Fraud
On Tuesday, July 25, following a lengthy investigation by a special panel, the
University of Colorado Board of Regents on a vote of 8-1 fired tenured professor
of Ethnic and Indian Studies, Ward Churchill. The charges were research
misconduct and plagiarizing the writings and research of other academics. While
we, the leadership of the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council
applaud the thoughtful and reasoned decision, we want to point out to all that
for more than 25 years the legitimate leadership of AIM’s Grand Governing
Council attempted to expose Ward Churchill as an academic, literary, and ethnic
Churchill perpetuated his fraudulent Indian identity in order to get himself
streamlined into tenure and Director of the Ethnic and Indian Studies Department
as well to market his plagiarized and revisionist books. He has also plagiarized
the American Indian Movement’s intellectual property rights and tainted the
goodwill for Indian people that exists nationally and worldwide.
He has made hundreds of thousands of dollars on the lecture circuit, promoted,
yet today, by Speak Out Speakers Bureau promoting him as Indian, all after we
notified them of his ethnic fraud. The result of this was to ignore the voices
of authentic Indian academics, intellectuals, leaders and activists.
Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as a member of the Keetoowah
Nation of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma, which he is not. When challenged to show
proof of any Indian ancestry he waves an associate membership card that at one
time the Keetoowah Nation would give to anyone who would promise to help them.
Even former President Bill Clinton received one of these cards of associate
membership. Ernestine Berry who presided on the Keetoowah Enrollment Committee
and served on the tribal council for years stated to Denver Post writer, Howard
Pankratz on February 3, 2005 that Churchill was trying to get recognized as an
Indian. He could not prove he is an Indian. Berry said that he was given this
associate membership in the 10,000 member tribe based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in
the early 1990’s. “Churchill started coming around in 1992 or 1993 saying he
wrote some books and was a big time author, and convinced us he could help our
people,” Berry said, “and it was on that basis he was
given the associate membership card.”
Barry also said, “Churchill never fulfilled his promise to help the tribe, and
after he received his associate card, we never heard from him again.”
Due to this abuse and misrepresentation of the associate card by Churchill, the
Keetoowah Nation has discontinued the practice of issuing these cards.
Not only is Ward Churchill a literary and academic fraud, just as egregiously he
continues to fraudulently represent himself as being Keetoowah Indian, and a
member of the American Indian Movement’s chapter in Denver, Colorado. With
deceit and treachery, he has been able to manipulate the Denver Indian community
into giving him and his co-conspirator, Glen Morris, credibility and cover.
Glenn Morris is a professor at the University of Colorado who is another
Caucasian American masquerading as an Indian, This is designed to confuse
Indians and non-Indian alike. Following the decision of the University of
Colorado Board of Regents, he, along with former personality in the American
Indian Movement, Russell Means, created the illusion that AIM supports Ward
Because of disruptive behavior and ethnic fraud, both Churchill and Morris were
expelled from the International Indian Treaty Council by its International Board
of Directors on September 23, 1986. The International Indian Treaty Council, or
IITC is the international, political, and diplomatic Corp of the American Indian
Movement. Seven years later on November 23, 1993, following a lengthy
investigation, the American Indian Movement’s National Board of Directors
expelled Churchill and Morris from AIM.
While Russell Means has resigned from the American Indian Movement on several
occasions, he along with Churchill and Morris continue to manipulate the Denver
American Indian Movement community so that Churchill and Morris can perpetuate
their ethnic fraud on the academic, and literary community, and as well the
Indian and non-Indian people worldwide.
They are deceitful and treacherous to the point that they will always surround
themselves with innocent and naïve individuals of the Indian and non-Indian
communities, some who are well known who actually have endorsed their
revisionist, inaccurate, shoddy, and fraudulent writings. The result of this is
that without review of the contents of their publications, Indian and non-Indian
educators and educational institutions and libraries are using these books in
their curriculum. In doing so, they and our students become victims of this
fraud. Using the American Indian Movement to give themselves credibility, cover
and access, they have been able to infiltrate other organizations and movements
nationally and internationally.
They use publications like Houghton-Mifflin, Random House Publishers, South End
Press, and Speak Out Speakers Bureau who allow Ward Churchill and others to
perpetuate their literary, academic, and Indian fraud on the unknowing public.
What you can do to help:
The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council urges our friends and
supporters worldwide to expose and isolate these conspirators expeditiously.
We request that educators, Indian and non-Indians alike remove from their
curriculums and libraries all of their revisionist, inaccurate and shoddy
writings, and send them back to their publishers (a clear example of the problem
is the Encyclopedia of the North American Indian by Frederick E. Hoxie,
published by Houghton Mifflin, a subsidiary of Random House). Mr. Marc Jaffe of
Houghton Mifflin first contacted and met with Tim Giago, Oglala Lakota, founder
and former award winning publisher of Indian Country Today, and syndicated
columnist to do the book, and without notifying Mr. Giago, Mr. Jaffe selected
Mr. Hoxie who allowed Indian literary and academic fraud, Churchill to submit
the article, "Radicals and Radicalism, 1990 to the Present."
Discontinue utilizing Speak Out Speakers Bureau and publications from South End
Press, Zeta Magazine, and Common Courage Press until they agree to stop
promoting these frauds. We request that organizations such as the National
Indian Education Association, and the American Indian Higher Education
Consortium create a watchdog-type agency to review what books are being
published by these literary, academic, and Indian frauds so that their
revisionist writings are not finding their way into our education curriculum.
This problem is of epidemic proportions, and must be stopped. Remove all of Ward
Churchill’s books from your libraries and curriculums immediately. You owe it to
PRESS CONTACT: Vernon Bellecourt, WaBunInini
Indiz-Nikaz, Anishinaabe Ojibwe Nation
Member of the Executive Committee and Director of the
Ministry on Foreign Affairs for the American Indian Movement Grand Governing
AIM Council on Security and Intelligence
Web Address: http://www.aimovement.org
Please see the following, “BACKGROUND: The United States Government War Against
the American Indian Movement” for more info:
AIM BLOG-Rocky Mountain News-re: Churchill’s Ethnic Fraud
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma Enrollment Office,
Liz Little Dave, Telephone: 918-453-9375
Labels: PRESS RELEASE
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
AIM on Ward Churchill
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Attention all AIM Chapters, AIM members, AIM support groups national and international, friends and supporters worldwide:
Over a period of time several unscrupulous individuals and groups claiming to be American Indian Movement chapters and members, some Indian people, some masquerading as Indian people (Wannabees) without permission and in violation of Trademark Laws & Statutes, have been using and abusing the protected intellectual and cultural property rights that have been used continuously by the American Indian Movement in commerce since October 2, 1968. These registered trademarks include the American Indian Movement, the acronym, "AIM" in all forms and configurations, and all graphics displayed on our web site at www.aimovement.org, our Email address at email@example.com, our letterhead, publications, and merchandise. The use of our trademarks are all a part of a deceitful and treacherous group that has misappropriated and are exploiting our trademarks in order to ferment division, disruption, and confusion within the American Indian Movement membership, Indian communities, AIM support groups, friends and supporters worldwide.
Some of the central figures of this sinister and treacherous group is, of course, academic literary and ethnic fraud, Ward Churchill. Churchill has not only fooled some members of the Denver, Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement; he has also duped the University of Colorado where he is currently facing seven charges of plagiarism. He has also plagiarized the struggle of the American Indian Movement for his own pecuniary gain. He has been able to dupe the liberal and progressive community with his left leaning words, but in reality he is, by his actions, a right-wing reactionary.
Along with Churchill's co-conspirator, another Indian fraud Glenn Morris, were both expelled from any further involvement with the International Indian Treaty Council on Septemer 23, 1986. The International Indian Treaty Council is the diplomatic corp of the American Indian Movement. The letter of expulsion reads in part as follows: "The activities of both you and Glenn Morris have been extremely divisive and damaging to the International Indian Treaty Council. While you may have seen opportunities to exploit the American Indian Movement to your advantage and/or political purposes, this letter is to remind you that the International Indian Treaty Council's an organization, and not a movement and that any and all members or affiliates are subject to the decisions and guidelines of our legally constituted organization and Board of Directors. We'll leave any discipline or further action from the American Indian Movement to that organization's National Governing Council."
See orginal letter at:
After seven years of attempting to reason with representatives of Denver AIM and to no avail, the American Indian Movement National Governing Council on November 24, 1993 expelled both of these individuals from any further involvement in the American Indian Movement, its chapters and support groups worldwide.
The response from these two individuals was to continue their tactics of manipulation and intimidation of the representatives of Denver AIM with the help of co-conspirator Russell Means who came late in 1970 to the American Indian Movement, and left early in 1974 which was the first of at least six resignations on his part from the American Indian Movement. Russell Means only returns on the scene to mis-represent and manipulate AIM for his own gain, and to insulate his co-conspirators and wannabees Churchill and Morris.
Following their expulsion from the International Indian Treaty Council in 1986, and expulsion from AIM in 1993 they organized and orchestrated, along with another co-conspirator Robert Robideau, the creation of the so-called autonomous AIM chapters, and called for a sham tribunal on December 17-18, 1993 in Edgewood, New Mexico. At this time they embarked on a campaign of lies and deception making outrageous, slanderous, libelous, and defamatory accusations against the legitimate leadership of the American Indian Movement. These same tactics and attacks were directed at anyone who exposed and continue to expose their Co-Intelpro activities, which is to infiltrate, misdirect, disrupt, distort, and confuse in order to destroy the American Indian Movement.
Other central figures are Robert Branscombe of Canada; pseudo journalist, Paul DeMain who has been openly collaborating with the FBI and publicly stated that FBI agent David Price reminded him of a librarian type. We guess he was saying that Agent Price is a homey, folksy, fatherly type that DeMain could relate to.
Other minor players and co-conspirators who on their web sites continue to promote the devisive and confusing tactics of promoting the so-called autonomous AIM is a person calling himself Lawrence Sampson who operates out of Tennesee and Texas. There is also the team of Derek Diskin and Barbara Nixon, the dynamic duo who operate on the east coast. There is Faith Attaglia out of Illinois to name a few who are all connected to the Churchill gang, and continue to report the lies and accusations on their web sites and/or publications.
The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council along with our intellectual property rights law firm is at this time notifying these individuals and groups that we will initiate legal action so that they discontinue the use and abuse of our trademarked, protected intellectual, and commercial property rights.
AIM ON- Ward Churchill...
It Has Nothing to do with Freedom of Speech
The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council representing the National and International leadership of the American Indian Movement once again is vehemently and emphatically repudiating and condemning the outrageous statements made by academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill in relationship to the 9-11 tragedy in New York City that claimed thousands of innocent people’s lives.
Churchill’s statement that these people deserved what happened to them, and calling them little Eichmanns, comparing them to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who implemented Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jews and others, should be condemned by all.
The sorry part of this is Ward Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as an Indian, and a member of the American Indian Movement, a situation that has lifted him into the position of a lecturer on Indian activism. He has used the American Indian Movement’s chapter in Denver to attack the leadership of the official American Indian Movement with his misinformation and propaganda campaigns.
Ward Churchill has been masquerading as an Indian for years behind his dark glasses and beaded headband. He waves around an honorary membership card that at one time was issued to anyone by the Keetoowah Tribe of Oklahoma. Former President Bill Clinton and many others received these cards, but these cards do not qualify the holder a member of any tribe. He has deceitfully and treacherously fooled innocent and naïve Indian community members in Denver, Colorado, as well as many other people worldwide. Churchill does not represent, nor does he speak on behalf of the American Indian Movement.
New York’s Hamilton College Kirklands Project should be aware that in their search for truth and justice, the idea that they have hired a fraud to speak on Indian activism is in itself a betrayal of their goals.
Dennis J. Banks, Ojibwa Nation
Chairman of the Board, American Indian Movement
Nee Gon way Wee Dung, aka, Clyde H. Bellecourt,
National Executive Director, American Indian Movement
Cell: 612-251-5836, Office: 612-724-3129
Press Contact:WaBun-Inini, aka, Vernon Bellecourt,
Executive Committee MemberDirector Council on Foreign Relations,
American Indian Movement
Office: 612-721-3914, Cell: 612-889-0796
See the following:
Us vs AIM
Us vs AIM Backgound
Indian Country Today: Editors' Report
Keetoowah Tribe Response
The Public's Response
Rocky Mountain News
Special report: The Churchill files The charge: Misrepresentation
Are Ward Churchill's claims of American Indian ancestry valid? Our findings: Genealogical records, DNA dont support assertions.
By Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain NewsJune 9, 2005
Eleven-year-old Joshua Tyner was hiding in a tree near his family's backwoods Georgia home when marauding Indians shot him and he fell dead to the ground.
That's how the old family legend goes.
So much for old family legends.
Searching for a link: Ken Tyner, 64, of San Diego is a distant relative of Ward Churchill. Tyner underwent DNA testing last year and found that his ancestor Richard Tyner, who is Churchill’s fifth-great-grandfather, wasn’t Indian. Churchill’s belief in the Tyner family legend of Indian heritage is at the core of his disputed identity as an Indian.
Todd Heisler © News
Joshua Tyner didn't die in that bloody raid sometime around 1778, although the Indians scalped his mother and kidnapped his two teenage sisters.
In fact, Joshua Tyner lived a long and fruitful life and produced many descendants - including University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, whose disputed claims of Indian ancestry are tied to yet another family legend:
The one that says Joshua Tyner was part Cherokee.
However, an extensive genealogical search by the Rocky Mountain News identified 142 direct forebears of Churchill and turned up no evidence of a single Indian ancestor among them - including Joshua.
The News also located two male descendants of Richard Tyner - Joshua Tyner's father - who underwent DNA tests last year. The tests showed that the Tyner line goes back to northern European ancestry with no hint of male Indian blood.
For more than a century, descendants of Richard Tyner's Georgia brood have conducted a fruitless search for proof of their rumored Indian roots, spurred on by a tantalizing story that Joshua Tyner may have spent the last years of his life living among Indians in Illinois, practicing herbal medicine.
In the 1890s, one of them pursued a case to the U.S. Supreme Court, demanding to be included in the formal allotment of land to Indians - and was rejected as a non-Indian.
In 1936, Illinois historian Nannie Gray Parks wrote to the National Archives seeking Revolutionary War pension information on Joshua Tyner, asserting the legend that he was the son of a Cherokee - a story Churchill has repeated.
Churchill has said he was 10 when his mother and grandmother passed on to him the family lore of Indian ancestry. Dan Debo, his younger half brother, backs that up.
"We were told when we were kids by our mom and grandma that we had Indian blood in us," Debo, who lives in California, wrote to the News.
Today, many of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-generation Tyner descendants believe the legend and continue to search for the elusive Indian link. Others simply ignore it.
Churchill, though, has fashioned his life and career around it.
That decision lies at the heart of an investigation by CU, which has charged its standing committee on research misconduct with ruling whether Churchill's claim of Indian heritage has been a ruse by the professor to bolster his credibility as an Indian scholar.
Churchill has said that he is either 1/16th or 3/16ths Cherokee from his mother's side, while also claiming Creek Indian heritage on his father's side. But he has battled complaints for years - mostly from within the American Indian activist community - that he isn't Indian at all.
In 1993, when a campus news article challenged Churchill on his ancestry claims, he responded by naming several people and implying that they proved his roots.
But the News has determined that the people he named either were not Indians or were not his relatives.
Churchill also told the article's author that Joshua's father was a Cherokee named Tushali.
Records on Tushali - whose name was spelled by whites as Tsali, Toochalee and other variants - show that he was a Cherokee brave who was executed about 1838, ostensibly for killing U.S. soldiers who were removing his family from their home as part of a forced Indian exodus that came to be called the Trail of Tears.
That's the same year Joshua died at age 71.
Moreover, Tushali didn't live in the same part of the country as Joshua's family. Tushali lived near the North Carolina-Tennessee border, not in eastern North Carolina, where Joshua is believed to have been born in 1767.
Churchill's claim also is undermined by written records showing Richard Tyner was in fact Joshua's father.
Joshua is listed as a son in Richard Tyner's 1824 will. Joshua referred to Richard Tyner's farm as the home of "my father," and noted Richard's death in his family bible, calling him "my father."
Churchill reported last month to the CU committee that he meets three of the four criteria for determining whether he is Indian.
Those three criteria are self-identification as an Indian, acceptance within the Indian community, and tribal affiliation - none of which require proof of Indian parentage.
The one test he didn't cite: naming an actual Indian ancestor.
Churchill now declines to discuss his ancestry at all.
"What's to address?" he said. "No, I'm not going to spend the rest of my life talking about my ancestry. That's a slam-dunk made case."
Tracing family lore
It might not be that easy.
The News' genealogical research was conducted both in-house and in concert with several outside researchers.
Jim Paine, 51, of Hartsel, who heads several Internet database companies, maintains an anti-Churchill site at www.pirateballerina.com.
He worked with Bill Cullen, 35, a New Jersey police officer who plans to become a professional genealogist.
Jack Ott, 65, of Lakewood, a retired telecom planner, engineer and amateur genealogist, maintains an online Churchill tree at home.comcast.net/~jackott2/ahnentafel1.htm.
The investigation relied on census reports, colonial-era deeds, wills, veterans' records, draft registrations, marriage licenses, several Indian censuses, applications for Indian inclusion in a settlement of treaty violations, and state records such as lists of entrants in giveaways of former Indian lands.
The analysis also tapped into extensive research already conducted by genealogists in other branches of the family, none of whom were aware that Churchill was one of their relatives.
(Ties to a past: William Cullen Tyner, one of the Tyner men who share a common ancestor with Ward Churchill--namely, Richard Tyner, a homesteader in Georgia in the late 1700's.)
While the News found a large clan of Tyners among the Cherokee, they aren't related to the Joshua Tyner branch from which Churchill descends.
Dennis Ward, 65, a military career guidance specialist at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., and a registered Cherokee who is descended from the Indian Tyners, has tried for years to find any connection to Churchill's Tyners.
"I have never seen any real documentation as it pertains to Joshua Tyner having Indian blood," said Ward, one of the most active Tyner family researchers.
Ward, described by one Tyner genealogist as the most knowledgeable in the family, also had never heard of a link between Tushali and the Tyners.
On the other hand, the News' examination found plenty of evidence that Joshua - who became an Indian fighter in Georgia after the raid that killed his mother - was white, as was the rest of his family.
The legend that he went off during the last few years of his life to live as an Indian has been in the family for more than a century, although the first known mention came decades after his death.
There is no evidence to support it, just the odd circumstance that his wife of 45 years, who died in 1842, four years after Joshua, is buried alone in Wilson Cemetery in Cambria, Ill.
The legend is that Joshua was buried in an Indian-style mound by the Big Muddy River in Blairsville, Ill. In 1930, a state highway crew building a new bridge there unearthed a suspected Indian burial site. But the remains were never identified. They were reburied in an unmarked grave that is lost to history.
A local Illinois history book written in 1876, within folks' living memory of Joshua Tyner, referred to him and other pioneers as pure white with no Indian blood.
So where does the story originate?
"We're not really sure, to be candid with you," said Ken Tyner, 64, a retired Army sergeant living in San Diego who is a sixth-generation descendant of Richard Tyner. "Everybody's always speculated about having Indian blood, but I don't know where it comes from."
Ken is descended from Joshua's younger brother, Noah, and is Churchill's fifth cousin once removed - a relationship he knew nothing about until contacted by the News.
Ken Tyner and his half brother underwent DNA testing last year as part of their own genealogical research, learning that Richard Tyner was of northern European descent, not Indian.
Some descendants believe Richard's first wife - the woman killed and scalped during the Indian raid - might have been Indian herself. Still others pin their supposed heritage on Richard's second wife, Agnes "Sookie" Dougherty, although the News found evidence that she, too, was white.
( Ties to past: Thomas Tyner shown with wife Martha Kirk Tyner)
In any case, Churchill is descended from Richard and Richard's first wife, variously called Eliza Jane, Elizabeth and Abigail on family trees, through their son Joshua.
Even if Joshua's mother was a full-blooded Cherokee, something for which there is no supporting evidence, Churchill, as her fifth- great-grandson, would have only a tiny fraction - 1/128th - of Indian blood, not close to the 1/16th or 3/16ths he claims.
Impact on credibility
Despite the mounting evidence that Churchill isn't Indian, academic experts differ on whether it would constitute misconduct for him to pass as one.
If Churchill's work is authoritative, it shouldn't lose its credibility if it is revealed that he isn't an Indian, said ethics expert Kenneth Pimple at Indiana University.
"To some people, I have no doubt, Churchill's work would still be considered highly valuable," Pimple said. "To others, it might be fatally tainted by such a revelation.
"But should such a revelation have any impact on the assessment of his work? If his writings have any authority of their own, it should not."
But Churchill gains credibility by claiming Indian status, countered scholar Russell Thornton, an enrolled Cherokee and a UCLA professor whose work Churchill is accused of misrepresenting.
"I don't think the type of people who are his audience would give him near that much attention if he were not seen as an Indian," he said.
There's still another way to look at the question, according to Pimple, and that's what Churchill truly believes about his background, regardless of the objective truth of it.
"If Churchill's mother told him that he had Native American ancestry, it is reasonable for him to believe this to be true," Pimple said. "Even if further research should show that his mother had been wrong, it would be difficult to make a case that Churchill intended to fool anyone by claiming Native American ancestry."
Belief in the Tyner Indian legends is widespread among the descendants. The News found true believers in Illinois, California, Florida and Georgia.
"All the family believes, earnestly, they are descended from Indians," said Charla Schroeder Murphy of the Williamson County, Ill., Historical Society.
"I don't believe Mr. Churchill was trying to pass himself off as something he's not, but something that generations of Tyners have embraced and believed."
CU, however, could have cause for action if it found the legends are untrue and that Churchill knew it, Pimple said.
"I should think that in general, intentionally lying about one's credentials, which in this case might reasonably include ancestry, would be considered academic misconduct," Pimple said. "The key is demonstrating, by an appropriate standard of evidence, intent to deceive."
Putting claims to the test
In his response to CU's investigation, Churchill said he qualifies as an Indian under three of the four methods his attorney said are commonly used for determining Indian heritage.
• One, Churchill calls himself an Indian, although experts say such self-identification is the least meaningful. CU, however, said in 1994, in response to a complaint about Churchill's claimed ethnicity, that it recognizes self-identification.
• The second test is whether a person is regarded within the greater Indian community as a member, although this acceptance doesn't need to be based on demonstrated Indian bloodlines, either. Churchill's acceptance primarily comes from a confederation of Indian rights activists who support his writings and teachings. One of them is noted Indian activist Russell Means.
"Ward is my brother," Means has said. "Ward has followed the ways of indigenous people worldwide."
(Ties to the past: Brothers Felix and Jesse Tyner)
• The third test is whether someone is enrolled in a tribe. Churchill says that his May 1994 associate membership in the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma fulfills this requirement. But as the Keetoowah noted during a war of words with Churchill last month, the associate membership was not an actual tribal enrollment, but more of an honorary membership "because he could not prove any Cherokee ancestry."
"Mr. Churchill was never enrolled as a member," the Keetoowah said, making a distinction between tribal enrollment and the associate status that didn't require proof of Indian ancestry.
The tribe voted a month after granting Churchill's associate membership to stop giving them out, and said it erased all of the existing ones.
Churchill said the tribe is free to revoke his 1994 associate membership, but not to deny giving it.
"What it does not have a right to do is falsify history at its own convenience," he said.
Churchill obtained his Keetoowah membership shortly after being involved in a run-in with a rival faction of the American Indian Movement led by Vernon Bellecourt, who accused Churchill of masquerading as an Indian.
• The final method for determining Indian heritage is to identify an Indian ancestor - the only method Churchill didn't use in his 50-page report to the university's investigating committee, according to a description of the confidential response by Churchill's attorney, David Lane.
For Churchill's claims of 1/16th or 3/16ths Cherokee blood to be true, between one and three of his 16 great- great-grandparents would have to be full-blooded Indians, or six of his 32 third-great-grandparents and so on.
If it all came from his mother, as he has sometimes said, she would have to be nearly half Indian herself.
But all of Churchill's 16 great- great-grandparents are known. Not a single one was a full-blooded Indian, nor is there evidence any were part Indian. All but two are listed as white on census records from the 19th century. For those two, who could not be located on a census, their children were listed as white.
'I met my father one time'
Churchill has said he derives Creek Indian heritage from his father, the late Jack Churchill.
But in a 1993 interview with the CU student who wrote the campus newspaper article questioning his heritage, Churchill said he knew nothing about his father's ancestry.
His father and mother divorced when Churchill was an infant. Jack Churchill became a high school teacher in Petersburg, Ill., dying in 1989 at the age of 65.
"I met my father one time," Churchill told then-CU student Jodi Rave. "I didn't ask him too many family questions or other questions, and I really never tried to pursue it, or never really pursued him, because it seemed kind of bad for him."
Yet the next year, when he was up for associate membership with the Keetoowah, Churchill told the tribe that his father had Creek Indian heritage. The Creek Indians inhabited the area that became the southeast U.S., bordering Cherokee lands. They frequently warred with the Cherokee.
"I was asked if I wanted to try to document my father's side of things," Churchill said in a July 1994 statement published in an Indian newspaper after the Keetoowah meeting, "because he was at least as much Indian as mom. But he's dead now. I never knew him, and I don't know my relatives on that side. So I just let it go."
The News' genealogical search, however, found that his father's ancestors came not from Creek Indian territory, but from New England, Virginia, Tennessee, Iowa, Canada, Ireland, Scotland and England.
Great-great-grandmother Jane McNeeley, for instance, told an 1880 census taker in Illinois that her father was born in Scotland and her mother in Ireland. She was born in Canada.
McNeeley's husband, Nicholas Gorsuch, came from parents born in Maryland, census records state, and the family hailed from England.
The Churchills themselves go back to 1600s Connecticut.
His father's father, also named Ward Churchill, is listed as white in the 1920 census, His draft card listed him as "Caucasian." He and his wife, Ethel Janes, were restaurant keepers in Rushville, Ill., where he later served several terms as city clerk.
In the 1930 census, they were still in Rushville, as was their 5-year-old son, Jack Churchill, who became Ward's father 17 years later. Jack is listed as white.
Churchill, in his 1993 interview with Rave, also was mistaken about the record for Joshua Tyner.
Churchill moved Joshua up at least one generation, misplaced him in Indian lands and said that Joshua was moved from Tennessee in the mid-1830s, implying that he was part of the forced removal of Cherokees along the Trail of Tears.
"Now on my mother's side, their people coming up north, well, they got moved, they didn't just come north out of southern Tennessee," he told Rave. "Beginning about 1835, to around 1845, that's when they shifted."
That's not what the record shows.
Tracking down family roots
Joshua and his brother, Noah, married sisters Winifred and Priscilla Teasley. Together they left Georgia between 1800 and the fall of 1801, according to family historians, moving to Tennessee's northern border with Kentucky - not the Cherokee lands of southern Tennessee as Churchill said. The area where Joshua and Noah went had been settled by whites 20 years earlier.
Contrary to what Churchill told Rave, Joshua wasn't moved out of Tennessee in the 1830s, but left with his family about 1816 and is recorded as being one of the first white settlers in what soon would become Franklin County, Ill.
By the mid-1830s, when the government forced Cherokees, half Cherokees and white spouses of Indians from Georgia, Joshua was actually at the end of his pioneer life in Illinois.
Facts surrounding the infamous U.S. Indian Removal Act of 1830 give more indication that the Georgia Tyners were not part-Indian.
Descendants of Richard Tyner and both his wives remained in northeast Georgia rather than being rounded up and sent to Oklahoma.
Joshua Tyner was 71 when he died near Blairsville, Ill., on the day after Christmas in 1838, leaving behind his wife and numerous children who went on to have families of their own in the area.
One of those descendants, Maralyn Allen, married Jack Churchill and gave birth to their son, Ward, in 1947.
Analyzing the DNA
While some family speculation has centered on Joshua's mother - the unfortunate woman scalped by Indians - the scant history on her indicates she was white.
The most prevalent version of the legend is that Joshua's mother was kidnapped as a girl by Cherokees in South Carolina and forced to marry a Cherokee chief. She bore him a son, said to be Joshua, and when he was 3, the girl's father tracked them down and rescued them.
This account is improbable. Joshua's mother was not a girl at the time he was born; she had at least three older children and had been married in North Carolina to Richard Tyner.
But could she have been Cherokee, as some think?
(Ties to the Past: Felix Tyner, shown with his wife Cora)
That's unlikely, too. A baby born to a Cherokee mother and white father in late 1700s Georgia would have been raised as Indian, according to Indian scholar John Finger, a retired University of Tennessee historian. All of the Tyner children, including Joshua, were raised as white.
Last year's DNA testing on Richard Tyner's male descendants is silent on whether Joshua's mother was or wasn't Indian. That would require a different test.
The DNA test on a male descendant can only trace the male's Y chromosome to one of the 18 major groupings of human ethnicity, according to Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA, the organization that did the Tyner testing.
DNA mutations can mar efforts to link male lines, cautioned Ranajit Chakraborty, professor and director of the Center for Genome Information at the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine.
But the male Tyner DNA test matched northern European markers, Ken Tyner said.
Even if Churchill tested his own DNA, it couldn't show Indian heritage from the Tyners. That's because there are four female ancestors in the line of seven people from Joshua to Churchill.
To find out if Joshua's mother was part Indian, Greenspan said, the mitochondrial DNA of a direct female descendant must be tested.
Ken Tyner said that is a dead end for now.
"I know of no direct female descendants," he said.
With the DNA trail to Richard Tyner showing that he was white, turning to the paper trail indicates much the same.
Richard Tyner was a slave owner. While some Cherokees owned slaves as time went on, that would have been rare in the late 1700s.
"It would be unusual for Cherokees to hold slaves that early," historian Finger said.
There is also evidence that the legend of Richard Tyner's second wife being part Cherokee is untrue. Old Georgia records list several of "Sookie" Dougherty's offspring as white. Richard Tyner Jr. is listed with his father as an entrant in the 1807 Georgia Land Lottery. That giveaway of land that the state acquired from Creek Indians was restricted to free white males or their widows.
Marriage records from the early 1800s show the Tyner sons and daughters listed in the pages of "whites" rather than "coloreds."
And in another lottery in 1827 to parcel out former Cherokee lands - also restricted to whites - three Tyner descendants were eligible.
While these are strong indications that there was no Indian blood in the Tyner family, it is not clear and final proof.
But of all the records that make a racial distinction, not a single one says Indian.
Considering 'cultural' facts
What complicates the written record is the "cultural" fact that in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there were instances of mixed- blood Indians passing for white.
Finger, the Tennessee historian, said it is possible that backwoods whites who had children with Indian women could pass them off as white.
"In a frontier area, there may be more acceptance of a person of mixed blood being perceived as white," he said.
Still, none of the documentation that Joshua Tyner left indicates that he considered himself part Indian.
Joshua identified himself as white to census takers in both the 1820 and 1830 Illinois censuses. He later wrote an account of fighting Indians in Georgia as part of the Revolutionary War army.
On Sept. 3, 1832, shortly after his 65th birthday, Joshua applied for a federal pension based on his military service. In court testimony, Joshua said he was a private and enlisted as a spy, "ranging the frontier against the hostile Indians."
Joshua received his pension, $71.66 annually.
In an 1876 history of Williamson County, Ill. - which was formed from the part of Franklin County that Joshua Tyner homesteaded - author Milo Erwin minced no words in his praise for the area's pioneers, Joshua included, who he said settled on the Eight Mile Prairie in 1816.
They were all pure-blooded white men, Erwin avowed. "They were poor, but of unmixed blood. There were no half-breeds, neither of Indians nor other obnoxious races."
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January31, 2006... Babble on Ward Churchill:
Read postings like the following from Rabble.CA/Babble:
Resolution no. 56
ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
July 20, 21 & 22, 2004, Charlottetown, PEI
SUPPORT FOR LEAH KELLY’S FAMILY
Chief Gary Kishqueb, Lac Des Milles Lac First Nation, ON
Proxy Goyce Kakegamic, Cat Lake First Nation, ON
Due to lack of quorum on July 22, 2004, the Co-Chair referred the resolution to the AFN Executive Committee. On October 3, 2004, in Ottawa, ON, the AFN Executive Committee recommended action to implement the resolution.
WHEREAS Leah Kelly, a member of the Ojibways of Onegaming First Nation, died on June 1, 2000, in a car accident in Boulder, Colorado; and
WHEREAS Leah is the subject of the biography ‘In My Own Voice” written by Ward Churchill, her surviving husband, published in 2001; and
WHEREAS the family of Leah Kelly is angered by the lack of research that went into the making of this book relating to Leah and her family’s history; and
WHEREAS in the attempt to inform the author and publisher of “In My Own Voice” that there were many inaccuracies in the book, the family was met with threats by the author; and
WHEREAS serious false allegations and insinuations are made in the book against Leah Kelly and family members; and
WHEREAS a screenplay based on “In My Own Voice” is currently in the works by the author of the book despite the disapproval by the family of Leah Kelly.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Assembly of First Nations support the family of the Leah Kelly by denouncing “In My Own Voice” as an inaccurate portrayal of the life of Leah Kelly and her family; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED the Assembly of First Nations denounce the book and anticipated film as a continuation of the inaccurate portrayals of First Nations people in Canada and their histories; and
FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED the Chiefs in Assembly direct the National Chief state the healing of our First Nations people comes through the telling of our own stories by our own people.
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Russel Means:Idiot,bootlicker,lackey and fool, January 27, 2006
Reviewer: Richard W. Byrd “BlackByrd”, Bronx, New York, United States
I am an African-American male product of the struggles for humanity in the 60's. I started Russell Mean’s book with great anticipation and finished it with unbridled disgust. Where do I begin? Means lies when he says AIM started the community patrols before anyone, including the Guardian Angels and the Nation of Islam.
Fact:The patrols were started by the Black Panther party when Means was still dealing drugs, and being an all the way live drunk. He talks of the confrontation at the BIA building and uses it to propagate his anti-black racist venom. Through the book most African-Americans are depicted as reactionaries and/or fools. Means goes on to lie, how Indians would marry slaves and prefer to go into slavery than suffer the injustices of being Indian.
Fact:Means trivializes the holocaust my people suffered. In Dennis Bank’s book he cites the support the African-American community provided during the liberation of the BIA building. Means gets his cookies off vilifying and insulting and denigrating people who, because of our shared oppression in this country, should be his natural allies, While excusing blatant racists like McGovern and Janklow, and allowing himself to turn tricks for Larry Flynt. See Russell whore for 30 pieces and all the butt he can kiss. When one reads this book you get the impression there would be no AIM without Russell Means. Every good idea is his, the people are lost sheep without him, talk about mendacious megalomania. Even white supremacists groups are given a greater degree of empathy then the African community.
Live a black person in America and see how great life is. This short sighted fool cannot recognize people who have a common oppressor because of his reactionary racist tendencies. He condemns the black cops who did the oppressors biding during the BIA liberation, asking how they could allow themselves to be used to harm another disenfranchised people. Yet he cannot see the similarities with those Indians mercenaries who served in Vietnam and participated in the murder of a people who were fighting for their own destiny. This myopic egomaniac sees nothing wrong in murdering Vietnamese for U.S. imperialism. Not one Indian was killed by those D.C. cops.
To reiterate Means neglects to mention how during the BIA liberation, the African American community provided food and spiritual support, and also at Yellow Thunder Camp. It is of course a black man lacking character, which leads one to conclude Means is the worst type of anti-black racist, the racist who comes from the wretched of the earth. In conclusion despite Mean’s facade at heart, he is still a macintosh, a red and green apple (since this parasite will sell his soul for white money, despite his declarations to the contrary), but white to the core.
Editor’s Note: Russell Means entitled his book, “Where White Men Fear to Tread” and the reason is the crap is so deep in the book, no one could “tread” through it.