International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

“Fake Indian: The Case of Ward Churchill”
William Wei

This essay examines the controversy surrounding Mr. Ward Churchill, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder. Churchill contends that he was fired from his tenured position for his provocative polemic about the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, in violation of his First Amendment right to speak freely. But the University charged him with egregious research misconduct. Early in the University’s investigation into Churchill’s alleged academic dishonesty, the important issue of his fraudulent Native American identity was deemed irrelevant and dropped from the deliberations. Yet, the question of his Indian identitywas always in the background. This article discusses the crucial role that Churchill’s statusas aNative American played in the protracted public controversy and considers its meaning in the context of the invention of an American identity.

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