Ward Churchill’s 9-11 snafu in the news

Upstate New York’s Hamilton College cancelled an appearance by University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill following over 6,000 protest e-mails and even death threats in reaction to an essay he wrote defending the 9-11 attacks. Churchill’s essay called the WTC victims "little Eichmanns" (a reference to Nazi Holocaust mastermind Adolph Eichmann) and hailed the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that carried out the 9-11 attacks. In the wake of the controversy, Colorado’s Gov. Bill Owens called on Churchill to step down from his faculty position. Churchill has stepped down as head of the ethnic studies program, but remains on staff, the Denver Post reports.

An outspoken figure among Native American scholars, many of Churchill’s works draw parallels between the Nazi Holocaust and the genocide of American Indians. Many national Indian leaders now seem to think Churchill is doing more harm than good.

On Feb. 2, The Rocky Mountain News ran a story questioning Churchill’s Indian bona fides. The story quoted Native American leaders Suzan Harjo and Vernon Bellecourt accusing Churchill of being a fake Indian. "He’s not an Indian," Harjo said flatly. Bellecourt called him an "academic fraud."

The story also made much of a photo circulating on the web of Churchill posing Malcolm X-style with a machine gun.

Churchill’s original essay "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" is on line.