Harjo: Ward Churchill is not the Indian man's burden
" Why is it important for Native peoples to continue to tell the world that [fired Colorado University professor Ward] Churchill is not a Native person? Churchill is now a cause celebre and there are a lot of people who are angry with Native people because of him.

Some Churchill supporters are mad at Native peoples for being mean to a ''fellow Indian.'' Some Churchill opponents are mad at Indians because Churchill claimed to be one.

Some folks are against Indian studies because Churchill says there aren't any Indian studies standards. Some folks are opposed to Indian studies because Churchill has been part of Indian studies.

There are even a number of well-meaning people who think that, by supporting Churchill, they are supporting Native peoples and Native rights.

Like it or not, Churchill is like gum on the bottom of your shoe and we're stuck with him for a bit. All we can do for now is to defend our Native nations and people against his attacks, and take up for Indian studies, too.

Another thing we can do is to ask a series of questions along these lines:

What makes you think Churchill is a Native person? His sunglasses and, if so, why? His lack of graciousness and, if so, why? His lack of support by or contact with any of the Native nations he claims?

By reminding people that Churchill should not be the Indians' burden, you might not win any popularity contests, but I guarantee you some memorable conversations."

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Ward Churchill, the white man's burden (Indian Country Today 8/3)

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