Monday, February 13, 2006

The Assault on Leah Kelly!

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"I broke and slammed [my wife] back against our bedroom wall, telling her that if she kept it up, she’d be apt to land in a hospital."---Ward Churchill

Ward Churchill has written that Indians at Pine Ridge "suffered violent physical assaults" and were even murdered, but he ironically admits that in 1996 his young Canadian Indian wife Leah Kelly suffered a violent physical assault when Churchill slammed her into their bedroom wall. He says that Leah was often assaulting him due to her alcoholism and mental illness.

Churchill wrote:
"I broke and slammed her back against our bedroom wall, telling her that if she kept it up, she’d be apt to land in a hospital." [See the text at Amazon on page 38.]

But shouldn't Churchill have gotten his wife to the hospital that night? Shouldn't Churchill have called the police, Leah's doctor, and an ambulance immediately if his mentally ill wife was violent and out of control, instead of threatening to injure her?

Churchill writes that his wife was a drunk and crazy Indian who seemingly committed suicide by running into the road because her Canadian Indian family was dysfunctional.

Churchill blames his wife's death on the collective guilt of white opression:

"I cannot avoid the meaning of it all. Leah’s is the quintessential story of contemporary North America. It is thus ours, each of us, to the extent that we live on this continent. From this, squirm as one might, there is, can be no escape."

Ward Churchill claims that he is an Indian, but he has not demonstrated Indian ancestry and does not hold citizenship in any Indian nation.

Isn't it just possible that Professor Churchill was "the white man" who mistreated his much younger Indian wife? Why is this white man's behavior the collective fault of all white people?

Leah Kelly was reportedly struck by a motorist who said she was lying in the road late at night and that he didn't see her. She reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of .35.

According to the Denver Post:

Churchill's third wife, 25-year-old Leah Kelly, was killed May 31, 2000, when hit by a car outside Boulder, and Churchill's biography of her continues to stir bad feelings with her family. Kelly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.35 percent when a motorist came upon her outside of town. He said she was lying in the road and he had no time to stop. Churchill later wrote that her death "left a crater in my soul," but he blamed her alcoholism, and her demise, on the colonial treatment Indians received from white people.

Her family today feels Churchill used Kelly's death to make philosophical points with which they don't agree. He portrayed her family as dysfunctional - a dysfunction he said was caused by her Indian parents' confinement to Indian schools. The family and her Ojibwe tribe dispute those details and Churchill's overall assessment that Leah Kelly was ground down by a white man's system until she became a doomed alcoholic.

"This was a really bright, outgoing (person), and she was absolutely beautiful," her sister Rhonda Kelly said. "I have yet to come across anybody who disliked her."

According to the Rocky Mountain News, Leah Kelly's sister, Rhonda Kelly "said [Leah]...told her that she suffered "psychological abuse" during her marriage to Churchill. She described him as exhibiting "very controlling behaviors" ....Churchill, in the wake of Leah Kelly's death, established a fund at CU for Rhonda Kelly's two children and contributed $200. Rhonda Kelly last summer wrote a letter to CU's financial aid office asking that the money be earmarked for a "promising native woman who was or is involved in an abusive relationship. I wish that such an award can assist a woman to leave an abusive relationship before her spirit is broken, as was the case of my sister Leah."

"My sister Leah Renae Kelly had so much promise, but she was involved in an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage, and as a result of feeling that she could not seek real help for fear of having others know of her predicament, she instead turned to alcohol to escape the torment and humiliation in her marital home."

Ward Churchill claims to be an advocate for Indians, but even by his own account he mistreated his Indian wife. I don't believe him when he points the finger at other people and accuses them of abusing Indians.

So it's not "Home Sweet Home."
Adjust! This is
Snapple's opinion.


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