Fake Indigenous and real Indians

Muscogee Creek Veterans, Real Indians

Muscogee Creek Veterans, Real Indians

Ah, it’s weird to be back in Oklahoma. Today we drove down to the big Iranian Redneck Goat Ranch in Weleetka, and passed through the heart of the Muscogee Creek Nation, which is headquartered in Okmulgee. Lots of political signs still up in the yards, all about the election of a new Chief of the Tribe. It brought back recently revitalized memories of a fake indigenous pseudo scholar, who claimed to be Muscogee Creek—Ward Churchill. I never liked Ward Churchill. Even as an undergraduate, before specialists denounced his work as absolute crap, I thought his work was vacuous tertiary innuendo masquerading as something original and important. My dislike of his “work” was elevated when I began to use serious scholarship from real scholars like Russell Thornton and Joane Nagel in my demography and social movements courses. But, the real kicker for me was hearing my old friend Howard Harrod talk about an interaction he had with Churchill at a conference. Howard was a true scholar, with an earned D.Div. and PhD in the sociology of religion from Princeton (they used to offer that joint through religion back in the 1960s). While it should be irrelevant, Howard was also an enrolled member of the Cherokee Tribe, and was one quarter blood quantum. But, like many Okies, Howard never played the indigenous card. Shitloads of Okies are Indians, and if you’re low on the blood, and were never forced to live on a reservation or go to those nasty BIA schools, it’s considered inappropriate to act like you’re aggrieved. Even though Howard wrote several highly acclaimed books on the religion and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Northern section of the Western Hemisphere, he tended not to go to conferences with “specialists” on the topic–and a vicious attack from Ward Churchill was a primary reason why he didn’t. Churchill harangued poor Howard (who was the nicest guy you could ever meet), calling him a tool of the white capitalist oppressors, berating his scholarship, and telling him that white people like Howard had no right to even discuss indigenous issues.

I sure wish Howard could have lived to see Churchill taken down. Howard told me that he suspected that Churchill was not what he claimed. I mean, shit, there ain’t no Muscogee Creek in Springfield, Illinois! So, how do you get born way up there to people who aren’t there? Fucking dumbass liar. Yeah, the indigenous had it bad. They got moved to Oklafuckinghoma! But, Churchill was a big name then, and he always had a deep tan, and a black ponytail which he wore in a braid, and a bunch of Indian shit he bought at some Indian store outside of Boulder. What was Howard to do? He was kind of pale, and looked like an old Okie who just stepped off the farm.

What irks me is that Churchill defrauded a bunch of naive knee-jerk wackjobs into giving him a really cool gig that he did not deserve. Churchill supposedly has an MA in communication from what is now Univ. of Ill-Springfield–a glorified community college. I’m almost tempted to check to see if they even offer that degree. He never even went to a real graduate school, much less a PhD. For this, he became full Professor, based, of course, on his ethnicity. Except, of course, that his indigenous heritage is a fake. Churchill is 100% anglo-American, of almost pure English extraction. He should have been fired for that long before he was fired for shoddy scholarship. I’m toasting one to the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Cherokee, and to Howard Harrod–I love you, man, I wish you could have seen this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcELZv1RuKc

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