Characterizing 9-11 terror victims as “little Eichmanns” and commending the al-Qaida suicide hijackers for their “gallant sacrifices” may not even be the most outrageous statements University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill ever made.
In the April 2004 edition of Satya Magazine, a monthly publication “focusing on vegetarianism, environmentalism, animal advocacy, and social justice,” Churchill, under fire for his post 9-11 essay, said: “[I want the] U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.”
Ironically, Satya, which means “truth” in Sanskrit, says it is “committed to continuing Gandhi’s legacy by increasing dialogue among activists from diverse backgrounds and engaging readers in ways to integrate compassion into their daily lives.”
Churchill is described in the interview as “perhaps one of the most provocative thinkers around. A Creek and enrolled Keetoowah Band Cherokee, Churchill is a longtime Native rights activist. He has been heavily involved in the American Indian Movement.”
However, the American Indian Movement formally expelled Churchill in 1996, calling him “deceitful” and “treacherous” and questioning his Indian ancestry. Last week, the Oneida Indian Nation denied he is registered among the Keetoowah Band.
”It’s disturbing that anyone would use such hateful speech, and do so while claiming to be an American Indian when there is significant evidence that he is not,” said the Oneida statement. “Professor Churchill caused many in the media to falsely believe an American Indian scholar could besmirch the lives of those who died on 9-11. Because of this, he owes every American Indian an apology.”
Churchill resigned his position as head of the Colorado University ethnic studies program but kept his $96,000 per year teaching post.
At various times, according to press reports, Churchill has described himself as Cherokee, Keetoowah Cherokee, Muskogee, Creek and most recently Meti.
In a note in the online magazine Socialism and Democracy he wrote, ”Although I’m best known by my colonial name, Ward Churchill, the name I prefer is Kenis, an Ojibwe name bestowed by my wife’s uncle.”
In biographical blurbs, he is identified as an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. But a senior member of the band with access to tribal enrollment records told Indian Country Today that Churchill is not listed. George Mauldin, tribal clerk in Tahlequah, Okla., told the Rocky Mountain News, ”He’s not in the data base at all.”
According to Jodi Rave, an American Indian journalist, Churchill was enrolled as an ”associate member” of the Keetoowah by a former chairman who was later impeached. The one other known member of the same program, since discontinued, was President Bill Clinton. Rave said that she made this discovery as a student in a journalism class at the University of Colorado. She was also in a class taught by Churchill. When her article came out, she said, he dropped her grade from an A to a C-minus.
“One of the things I’ve suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary,” Churchill said in the Satyr interview. “This seems like such a no-brainer that I hate to frame it in terms of actual transformation of consciousness. ‘Hey those brown-skinned folks dying in the millions in order to maintain this way of life, they can wait forever for those who purport to be the opposition here to find some personally comfortable and pure manner of affecting the kind of transformation that brings not just lethal but genocidal processes to a halt.’ They have no obligation – moral, ethical, legal or otherwise – to sit on their thumbs while the opposition here dithers about doing anything to change the system. So it’s removing the sense of – and right to – impunity from the American opposition.”
Churchill said he does not want a revolution. He does not want others to assume power in the U.S. Instead, he explained, he wants the state destroyed.
“I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether,” he concluded.
In a foreword to the book Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (edited and introduction by Steven Best, a University of Texas El Paso philosophy professor and animal-rights activist), Churchill expands his Nazi comparison to modern medical researchers and meat companies.
“To assault the meatpacking industry,” Churchill writes, “is to mount a challenge to the mentality that allowed well over a million dehumanized humans to be systematically slaughtered by the SS einsatzgruppen in eastern Europe during the early 1940s, and the nazis’ simultaneous development of truly industrial killing techniques in places like Auschwitz, Sobibor and Treblinka.”
Churchill contends groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front haven’t gone far enough in defending “animal rights.” He claims that drawing a “line in the tactical sand” that embraces “property damage” but excludes murder is “arbitrary” – and again invokes Eichmann: “Given the opportunity to do either in, say, 1942, would it have been more effective/appropriate to have torched the office of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi bureaucrat whose peculiar expertise made an orderly implementation of the Final Solution possible, or to have eliminated Eichmann himself? The answer need not be rendered as an abstraction.”
Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens urged the university to fire Churchill. And the state House passed a non-binding resolution yesterday calling his comments “evil and inflammatory.” A similar measure was awaiting action in the Senate.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the controversy stems from an essay Churchill wrote titled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” written shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. In it, he describes the thousands of American victims who died in the World Trade Center inferno as “little Eichmanns” (a reference to notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann) who were perpetuating America’s “mighty engine of profit.” They were destroyed, he added, thanks to the “gallant sacrifices” of “combat teams” that successfully targeted the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.