Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Was Churchill a Member of AIM Security in the Early 1970s?

Quotes of the day:
"An Indian is who an indigenous community says is an Indian."--Ward Churchill

"[Blood quantum] was not formalized until the passage of the General Allotment Act, mid-1880s. At that point they began to define Indian as being someone who was demonstrably and documentably of at least one-quarter by quantum blood indigenous in a given group. You couldn't be an eighth Cheyenne and an eighth Arapaho and be an Indian. You had to be a quarter Cheyenne or a quarter Arapaho or hopefully a quarter and a quarter. The reason for this was quite clear. They were identifying Indians for purposes of allotting them individual parcels of land in the existing reservation base at that point. If they ran out of Indians identifiable as such, then the rest of the land would be declared surplus. So it was clearly in the interests of the government to create a definition of Indianness that would minimize the number of Indians..." Ward Churchill [Churchill's claim about blood quantum is debunked by Lavelle's 1999 article: The General Allotment Act "Eligability" Hoax]

Our Feature Story

This article from Spring 2004 claims that the Tenured Plagiarist of Ethnic Studies Ward Churchill was "a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) security team at the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota in the early 1970's."

In 1985,Wardo claimed in a Soviet-Cuban propaganda mouthpiece, the Covert Action Information Bulletin, that "at least 342 AIM members and supporters were killed by roving death squads [at Pine Ridge] aligned with and supported by the FBI." Churchill claimed in the C.A.I.B. that the killings happened "between 1973 and 1976..."

Funny that these FBI-aligned death squads managed to miss an important member of the AIM security team like Wardo.

In his anti-FBI book Agents of Repression, Churchill claims that he was on Pine Ridge Indian reservation on 6-27-75, the day after the infamous 6-26-75 murder of two FBI agents:

"Author Churchill experienced one of these sweeps firsthand when, while driving across Pine Ridge on June 27, 1975, he stopped to urinate alongside the road, about five miles south of Porcupine. Over the ridge came an APC, accompanied by some 20 FBI and BIA police personnel, moving "on line," carrying M-16s, and dressed in Vietnam-style jungle fatigues, boots and bush hats. Most of the group were also wearing military-issue flack-jackets. Needless to say, the whole scene afforded a sense of deja vu to the viewer, given that he had spent a year in Southeast Asia in combat." [page 438, footnote #49]

During a November 4, 1999 radio interview with Native America Calling, AIMster Vernon Bellecourt stated (possibly sarcastically):

[I]n his book Agents of Repression, [Ward Churchill] stated that he was behind the hill from the Jumping Bull community the day after the gun fight that erupted there and killed two FBI agents...

Churchill, who reportedly told a Canadian audience that he was "a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) security team at the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota in the early 1970's," challenged Vernon Bellecourt's facts on Native America Calling but reaffirmed his earlier claim that he was travelling through Pine Ridge in the aftermath of the murders:

"In my book [ie Agents of Repression], I did not state that I was on the other side of the ridge from the Jumping Bull [Compound]... I was at Potato Creek which is some distance away on the Pine Ridge reservation. I had arrived there that day in an International Scout vehicle without a radio, I had no idea what was going on and was surprised by one of the FBI sweep operations, that’s what I recount. I was on my way to Spearfish, South Dakota to take up a faculty position, I had not resided in South Dakota nor had I been in South Dakota since I was 6-years-old, at the time I arrived at Pine Ridge. That’s simply another flat out, disinformational statement." [Full text].

I don't know if Churchill, who has claimed he was a member of the Pine Ridge AIM security team in the early 1970s, really was on Pine Ridge about the time of the FBI agents were murdered or whether he was just trying to give himself radical "cred," but I notice that in 1999 he claimed he had never been on Pine Ridge (except when he was six) until June 27, 1975.

If that is the case, how could Churchill have been a member of AIM security "at the Pine Ridge Reservation" in the early 1970s?


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