AIM splits over Churchill affair

It appears that different factions of the American Indian Movement (AIM) have released statements either condemning or supporting Ward Churchill, in equally vehement terms.

First this, from the AIM Grand Governing Council in Minneapolis:

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
Phone: 218-654-5885

Nee Gon Nway Wee Dung, aka, Clyde H. Bellecourt, Ojibwa Nation
National Executive Director
American Indian Movement
Cell: 612-251-5836
Office: 612-724-3129

Press Contact:
WaBun-Inini, aka, Vernon Bellecourt, Ojibwa Nation
Executive Committee Member
Director Council on Foreign Relations
American Indian Movement
Office: 612-721-3914
Cell: 612-889-0796

And now this, from the American Indian Movement of Colorado:

Colorado AIM Press Release


Denver, CO



Dr. Tink Tinker (303) 229-7756 — Elder’s Council representative
Colorado AIM — 303-871-0463

The Elder’s Council and the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado confirm our support for Ward Churchill as a member of our chapter, and as a member of the Leadership Council of Colorado AIM. Colorado AIM further condemns the transparent, racist attacks against Churchill by those who seek to silence alternative voices. While Churchill‘s particular statements about events of September 11, 2001 were his personal views, his broader critical analysis of U.S. domestic and foreign policy is consistent with Colorado AIM’s perspective.

Colorado AIM is one of the largest and most active AIM chapters in the United States. Our strength, power and authority springs from our spirituality, from the example of our ancestors, and from the members of our community who embrace our principles.

We neither recognize, nor do we accept, the dictates of any person or persons who pretend to speak for us. Any person or entity that purports to speak on behalf of Colorado AIM other than our Elder’s Council or the Leadership Council, is being dishonest. Each AIM chapter is independent and autonomous, and our authority emerges from the voice of the people in our community, and we support Ward Churchill.

Ward Churchill has been an important member and leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado since at least 1984. His analysis of U.S. law and policy has been an essential tool in educating both indigenous and non-indigenous people on the history and the current circumstances of native peoples in the Americas. Ward has been tireless in his defense of indigenous peoples’ aspirations for freedom and justice around the world, and we applaud him for his numerous contributions.

Colorado AIM is painfully familiar with racist attacks against our movement, and against individuals in our movement, of which this is simply the most recent. We do not have to agree with every statement, or with every position that members of our chapter take in order to rally to their support when they are subject to an unprincipled, anti-Indian lynch mobs.

Churchill is not under attack because of a couple of statements that he made about the events of September 11, 2001. He is under attack because he has exposed the pain and the suffering caused by U.S. domestic and foreign policy. He does so without apology, and from the perspective of an indigenous scholar. He is under attack by racists who would prefer to silence indigenous voices altogether, and who would erase the history of indigenous peoples from the memory of the Western Hemisphere.

Our view of Ward Churchill is not through the lens of a few sentences taken out of context for calculated purposes. Our view is of an indigenous man who has devoted decades of his life to the defense of indigenous peoples’ self-determination and freedom.

The fact is not lost on us that the attacks on Churchill began immediately after the acquittal of him and others in the Columbus Day trials in Denver. Colorado AIM is proud of the actions of Churchill and the other Columbus Day resisters. We will continue our efforts to remove the slave-trading, Indian killer Columbus as a national hero, and we will continue with our numerous other initiatives to promote indigenous peoples’ freedom.

We are especially mindful of Governor Bill Owens’ hypocritical statements condemning Churchill. By making such statements, Owens takes his place along side other racist governors such as John Evans, one of the main instigators of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. Just this past fall, Owens had the audacity to refer to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people as “blackmailers” and “extortionists” for their economic development plan in Colorado. Now, he is attacking one of the few tenured American Indian professors in the state, using such McCarthyist claims that Churchill is “un-American” and a “terrorist defender.” Owens should immediately apologize to Churchill, and should keep his uniformed and ignorant statements to himself.

We also call on the Board of Regents for the University of Colorado to respect their own rules on academic freedom, and to affirm Ward Churchill‘s right to speak openly and freely as a scholar and a freethinker, and to continue his duties as one of the few indigenous academics in the University of Colorado system.


(Here’s some info on the Columbus Day trial from Indian Country Today, Jan. 29.)

The truly sad, ironic and frightening thing about all this is that it is redolent of the AIM factionalism of the early 1970s that the FBI successfully exploited in COINTELPRO–as documented in Churchill’s own book, Agents of Repression.

See our last post on the Churchill affair.

  1. But you ducked the issue of Churchill’s lame speech
    Is Churchill a phony Indian? I’d like to know… But you don’t address the issue at hand which is Churchill’s kneejerk analysis of the 9-11 attacks…. His essay is so bad I can’t believe this guy has tenure at a state university. I encourage people to sit down and really read it before they rush to Churchill’s defense. Churchill implies that the 9-11 attacks were perpetrated by Iraqis in revenge solely for the Gulf War and sanctions in Iraq (i.e. leaving out US in Mecca, Palestine, etc), and claims the hijackers were "secular activists," not fundamentalists or inspired by fundamentalism. Was this essay written before Bin Laden took credit? I don’t know. But he sounds ironically like Bush in blaming it all on Iraq… He also implies that the Oklahoma bombing was carried out by Arab "commandos". One could take it as an off the cuff rant, but then he actually expanded and published the essay as a book and had the gall to charge $20 for it! Is all his "scholarship" this bad? He’s been running around posing with an AK and collecting speaking fees from anarchist-minded groups who revel in his "revolutionary" views, particularly his attacks on activists who practice non-violence. And yet I don’t see him out there conducting armed revolution, so I think he’s a phony radical, if not a phony Indian. That is not racist to say so, and it’s sad to see that Colorado AIM faction resorting to the blanket charge of racism just because someone disagrees with Churchill or questions how the dude could become chair of an Ethnic Studies dept with such inept analysis as this essay implies. One can debate the issue of whether 9-11 was a logical outcome or even valid act of "revenge" for US atrocities and inequities around the world. Plenty of room for discussion there. But I’m kind of disturbed that lefties are rushing to defend this guy who swings so loosely with fact. Misinformation is not power. –da duchess

    1. Why a duck?
      Duchess, we have not ducked any issue. Scroll back and see our earlier posts on l’affair Churchill. The "Chickens Roosting" essay was not "scholarship" by any stretch of the imagination. It was just a venomous rant. Which seems to be most of what Churchill does these days. As I posted previously, his one really important, well-researched and valuable work was AGENTS OF REPRESSION: The FBI’s Secret War Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, and that came out in 1988. Since then he has mostly done sloppy, self-indulgent spewing. How cum I don’t get a paycheck for that?

  2. the “Road Map to Hell of Bushitler
    (c) 1998/99/2004 copyright L.C.Geerts
    Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson and others are propagating a policy of hatred towards Arabs and Muslims and are supporting and actually advocating a policy of war against Iraq that threatens the world with their crusading ideas. Biblical roots are in iraq and iran.
    The Sumerian gods were known by other names than those that the Semitic peoples to the north eventually gave them, but they were the same basic pantheon: the great father of the gods.
    the Sumerian and more or less also the Acadian religion are much older than the religion of the Babylonians (most of the religion of the Babylonians was taken over from the Sumerians and Acadians). Consider also that the Babylonian religion later on was taken over by the Jews and afterwards also by Christianity and the Moslems.
    The root of all Semitic nations and their languages are also from Sumerian origin.
    After a long period the Igigi tired of this unpleasant work, revolted, and forced the Nibiruan leaders (the “triad” of Gods) to find a “new” source of labor.
    Their solution, related in great detail in the Sumerian records, was to create a slave race
    The name Anu is used from about 2,000 BCE, the beginning of the Babylonian period, and they mixed the Sumerian Gods An and Anu and called him Anu and made An and Anu one God.

      1. whatever you call yourself is your doingwingnut@magnet
        support the troops, moron
        alt.mythology Sumerian Mythology FAQ, ver. 2.0

        Sumerian cuneiform, the earliest written
        language, translates
        traces and parallels of Sumerian myth found in Genesis. Sumer was a collection of city states around the Lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now southern Iraq.
        Traces of Sumerian religion survive today and are reflected in writings of the Bible.
        Eden,(Gen. 2:8) has a river which also “rises” or overflows, to form four rivers including the
        Tigris and Euphrates. It too is lush and has fruit bearing trees. (Gen. 2:9-10)
        Genesis describes a world made for and given to exploitation by man.
        In 2:15, this relationship is described: “God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.