Sunday, March 22, 2009

Professor Barbara Mann Testifies in Ward Churchill's Lawsuit Trial

"Turkey Lurkey told me," said Gander Pander.
"Goosey Poosey told me," said Turkey Lurkey. "Ducky Daddies told me," said Goosey Poosey. "Cocky Locky told me," said Ducky Daddies. "Henny Penny told me," said Cocky Locky. "Chicken Little told me," said Henny Penny."A piece of it fell on my head," cried Chicken Little, "and we are going to tell the King."--"Chicken Little"

I think the children's story "Chicken Little" shows what happens when scholars like Barbara Mann don't verify their sources when citing dishonest "scholars" like Ward Churchill: A false story--a canard--spreads through our history.

Ward Churchill wrote anti-FBI propaganda in a KGB mouthpiece. He claimed that FBI-backed death squads killed 342 Indians. Ward Churchill has also penned increasingly elaborated canards about the American Army deliberately distributing smallpox-infected blankets to the Mandan Indians. Churchill's canard about smallpox blankets resembles the KGB's long-discredited canard that the U.S. Army invented AIDS to kill black people.

Scholars like Barbara Mann who cite Ward Churchill are uncritically repeating crude, unscientific propaganda that has its origins in the Medieval stories that Jews poisoned the wells of Christians with plague or that they kidnapped and murdered Christian children and used their blood to make matzoh.

According to the CDC:

Smallpox is usually spread from one person to another by infected saliva droplets that expose a susceptible person having face-to-face contact with the ill person...Rarely, smallpox virus has been spread from one person to another through airborne or fomite transmission [objects].

Reliable historical accounts report that the Mandan were infected by a sick passenger who arrived on a steamship. In The Effect of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian, E. Wagner Stearn and Allen E. Stearn write that an eyewitness named Francis A. Chardon claimed in his journal that an Indian stole a sick traveller's blanket. Chardon offered the Indian a new blanket if he would return the stolen one. (Stearn and Stearn p. 81). There is nothing in this book about the Army distributing infected blankets to the Mandan. [For Churchill's misuse of books by the Stearns and other scholars, see Thomas Brown, "Did the U.S. Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill’s Genocide Rhetoric" in Plagiary.]

The Mandan smallpox epidemic killed whites and Indians. It endangered the whites because the Indians blamed them for the illness.

A story about "mischief makers" telling Indians that whites were plotting to give them smallpox blankets is even reported in Stearns' The Effect of Smallpox on the Amerindian (1945), which Ward Churchill cites in A Little Matter of Genocide in his account of the British General Amherst's plot to infect Indians (Footnote 8, page 76).

In a discussion about the health effects on Indians of the construction of the Pacific Railroad, the Stearns report that some "mischief makers" tried to convince Indians that the whites planned to deliberately infect them with contaminated clothing:

Mischief makers tried to provoke the Indians against the whites by telling them that they were to be exterminated by smallpox, introduced in clothing sent to them. [ The Effect of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian (1945) by E. Wagner Stearn, Ph.D. and Allen E. Stearn, Ph.D. (102)]

Ward Churchill is a modern-day mischief maker who circulates fabricated canards about the U.S. Army using biological warfare against the Mandan.

College professor Barbara "Chicken Little" Mann seems to have changed her testimony as a witness for ex-professor Ward Churchill in his lawsuit against the University of Colorado. Ward Churchill is suing CU because he was fired from his position as a tenured professor due to research misconduct. (Hat Tip PirateBallerina, CNews 20March09)

Barbara Alice Mann is testifying as an expert on the so-called Mandan smallpox "genocide." She wrote about the Mandan epidemic in her book George Washington's War on Native America (Scroll to page 11).

In George Washington's War, Professor Mann claims:

In 1836...the [U.S.] government distributed smallpox blankets to the Mandans. (62)

Unfortunately for Professor Mann, footnote 62 refers the reader to Ward Churchill's book A Little Matter of Genocide. Scroll down to page 185 in George Washington's War to see footnote 62 in the citation.

Professor Mann also cites The Effect of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian, but it is hard to believe that Professor Mann has read the Stearns' book since her own book presents such an unbalanced history. [See her footnote 60 on page 185 in George Washington's War on Native America.]

The Daily Camera's Churchill Trial Blog (3-20-09) reports:

The morning began with testimony from Barbara Mann, an English professor from the University of Toledo who has researched the smallpox epidemic on the Upper Missouri River in the 1830s.

Churchill attorney David Lane read her words from her Feb. 6 interview. Her taped testimony was not able to be played for technical reasons.

She [testified in the 2-6-09 interview] that Churchill's claims about how the disease was spread -- primarily by the U.S. Army and with deliberate purpose -- have backing in the historical record.

The legal blog Race to the Bottom (3-20-09) reports that in her March 20, 2009 testimony that Professor Mann admitted she does not know if Churchill's claims have backing in the historical record:

CU’s attorney asked numerous times, and Professor Mann replied several times that she had not seen primary and secondary sources supporting Professor Churchill’s proposition that smallpox blankets were dispersed to the American Indians. She then clarified that “It doesn’t mean that [the primary or secondary source] doesn’t exist. It means I haven’t seen it.” The attorney established, by getting a positive response from Professor Mann, that “it is not appropriate” to fabricate facts that are not supported by primary and/or secondary sources supporting some of Professor Churchill’s propositions about the spreading of smallpox to the American Indian population.


Blogger Laurie said...

"It is also documented that the U.S. government directly engaged in these tactics. In 1836, for instance, the government distributed smallpox blankets to the Mandans. (62)"

I can't get to page 185. Would you please quote the citation?

2:16 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

The quote cited on page 11 is footnote 62 which goes back to fn 61--Churchill on page 64.

Page 185 from "George Washington's War on Native America" by Barbara Alice Man. Praeger 2005.

PAGE 185

60. E. Wagner Stearn and Allen E. Stearn, The Effects of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian (Boston: Bruce Humphries, 1945), 44-45; Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, 154.

61. Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocie, 154; patterns of deliberately inducing illness in colonial times, 170-71.

62. Ibid., 64.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

That would be Genocide.

Hi Laurie!

Thanks for posting.

This book doesn't copy, but usually they do.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Thanks for your help!

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Canada we learn about smallpox being spread on blankets by English, French, and American people. Its considered common knowledge? Are you actually saying it never happened? If so, you need help.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Churchill wrote lies for a KGB-sponsored publication about the FBI backing death squads that killed Indians.

The KGB used to spread the story that the US Army made AIDS to kill blacks. The KGB has now admitted this.

People used to believe that the Jews gave the Christians plague by poisoning their wells. Now that's called an anti-Semitic canard.

People catch smallpox from sick people, and plenty of people used to have smallpox. Blankets wouldn't be necessary and it would only rarely work. Maybe like a 2% chance.

Churchill made up his story about the Mandan genocide.

He's a KGB stooge.

The old AIM lawyer Mark Lane is in the KGB files as a collaborator.

Mark Lane was the lawyer for AIM and the people at Jonestown, but he escaped when all the others died and wrote a book claiming the CIA killed those people.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Brian Wilkes said...

From the National Institutes of Health

Smallpox transmission

"Smallpox is highly contagious. In most cases, people get smallpox by inhaling droplets of saliva, which are full of virus, during face-to-face contact with an infected person. When someone becomes infected, they do not immediately feel sick or shed virus to their household contacts.

Contaminated clothing or bed linens also can spread the virus. Those caring for people with smallpox need to use special safety measures to ensure that all bedding and clothing from the infected person are cleaned appropriately with bleach and hot water. Caretakers can use disinfectants such as bleach and ammonia to clean contaminated surfaces."

If blankets from a smallpox patient, especially one who had coughed heavily into it, was immediately used on another patient, it's possible for the virus to be transmitted. However, it would be an inefficient means of transmission.

In reality, smallpox spread faster in New Spain, where there was no attempt to hasten the spread. In fact, Spanish records show the colonial leaders shocked at the rate of infection. In the absence of American horse, cattle or camel populations, in which related viruses are endemic, Native Americans had no chance to develop immunity.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...


Thank you for adding to the discussion with the latest scientific information.

Ward Churchill is simply repeating an old canard that was used to scare Indians. This is a version of anti-Semitic libels about poisoning wells, and so on.

As I noted in my post, this canard is reported in Stearn and Stearn, a book that Churchill actually "cites."

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8:17 PM  
Anonymous Viagra said...

There is nothing in this book about the Army distributing infected blankets to the Mandan

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So by disproving the Mandan Attack, disproves that this happened anywhere at all? What a flawed premise.

There are a number of letters that substantiate that Lord Jeff Amherst proposed this tactic, and his men followed his instructions and induced small pox among the Indians during Pontiac's Rebellion.

It is hardly a canard. The hate between the colonists and the Indians was quite real. Those denying it are engaging in a prevarication.

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