More about Churchill at

Footnotes and Fallacies

We've taken the liberty to compare some of Ward Churchill's claims in his "Summary of Fallacies" response to CU's investigation committee's report. 

The indented, bulleted portions are from Churchill's "Summary", while the footnotes are quotes from the committee's report (with exception of #7, which notes that while Churchill conflates two allegations, he attempts to refute only one, and #13, which points to the uncanny similarity between Churchill's witnesses and his Christmas card list—a similarity the CU committee apparently failed to notice). Page numbers listed at the end of each footnote reflect the pagination of the PDF version of the committee's report, available here.

Judge for yourself who is lying.


1. "From its review, the Committee concluded that Professor Churchill’s descriptions of the General Allotment Act of 1887, while perhaps slightly more accurate than Professor LaVelle credits them with being, are nevertheless literally incorrect." pp. 17

2. "Professor Churchill is inaccurate, however, insofar as he credits the General Allotment Act of 1887 as the source (as he puts it, "the first time") of that federal imposition of racial Indian ancestry (i.e., Indian blood), since it had been accomplished at least forty years previously in the Rogers case." pp. 20.

3. "Thus, the Committee finds that no general hoax of the type suggested by some of Professor LaVelle’s broader claims was perpetrated by Professor Churchill, since the core of his broad point (i.e., that the General Allotment Act of 1887, as implemented, required—albeit by implication—some Indian blood quantum to be eligible for an allotment) is correct, or at least clearly arguable. We find as well, however, that most of details and embellishments of that claim made by Professor Churchill are historically inaccurate or literally incorrect." pp. 23.

4. "The role of the Committee, as noted above, is not to ascertain the ultimate truth or falsity of Professor Churchill’s claims, but rather to evaluate the scholarly means by which he reached them to determine whether such means involved research misconduct. That point raises the question of whether the methodologies or approaches employed by Professor Churchill to arrive at some of these gross misstatements of historical detail constitute research misconduct." pp 22-23.

5. "Professor LaVelle claims, without providing an exhaustive list, that such claims are repeated in at least 11 separate works authored by Professor Churchill. Since Professor LaVelle did not list those references (although citing many of them separately in his second article on the issue), the Committee undertook to—and did—locate more than eleven such references." pp. 15.

6. "The other two apparently independent third-party sources cited in footnotes 63 and 64 are essays published in the same volume, The State of Native America, one under the name of a person named Rebecca Robbins and the other under the name of M. Annette Jaimes, the editor of the volume. Since both essays do contain statements of the type that Professor Churchill claims, that might have put an end to the matter of research misconduct regarding this allegation, except for the fact that in response to the separate allegation that he had plagiarized the Robbins essay in another later published piece, Professor Churchill said in Submission E that he had in fact ghostwritten both the Robbins and the Jaimes essays, in full. He continued to adhere to that position in his discussion with our Committee, claiming that he wrote both pieces 'from the ground up.'" pp. 25.

7. Note that while Churchill conflates both allegations A and B here, he only attempts to refute allegation A.

8. "The pages referenced by Professor Churchill in the Salisbury book do not contain the words "Wampanoags" and have no discussion of any disease or epidemic (including smallpox). They contain no suggestions that John Smith or anyone else intentionally introduced a disease. Quite the contrary—Salisbury’s discussion of Smith’s plan to move towards English colonization, which focuses on psychological strategies and military repression, includes the prospects for using Indian labor as a cheap labor force." pp. 35

9. "The Committee finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Professor Churchill misrepresented his sources in two essays when describing Captain John Smith and smallpox, a form of falsification. We conclude also that he fabricated his account, because no evidence—not even circumstantial evidence—supports his claim." pp. 39.

10. "Our investigation focused on Professor Churchill’s accounts of the Fort Clark episode and its consequences in six essays published between 1994 and 2003 under his own name." pp. 41.

11. "We have seen no evidence to support Professor Churchill’s claim that the U.S. Army intended to kill off the Mandan Indians." pp. 66.

12. "This allegation provides another example of Professor Churchill’s practice of referring to essays that he claims to have written himself as if they were independent authorities. In Submission H, when discussing an article by Guenter Lewy, Professor Churchill drew attention to the fact that Lewy notes that Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr. support Churchill’s claim that the U.S. Army started the pandemic of 1837-40 by distributing smallpox-infected blankets at Fort Clark. Professor Churchill gave no indication in that submission that he claims elsewhere to have authored the Stiffarm and Lane essay himself." pp. 67.

13. Churchill's "indigenous witnesses" include only his close cronies Russell Means, George Tinker, and Glenn Morris. Michael Yellow Bird, while certainly sharing many of Churchill's opinions, is the only (possible) non-crony.

14. "Professor Churchill has not, however, respected those Indian traditions. He did not mention native oral sources in any of his published essays about Fort Clark. Instead he raised the possibility that he had drawn on oral material only in an attempt to produce after-the-fact justification for his claims during the course of this investigation. At that point, he purported to defend the legitimacy of his account by referencing oral tradition, but he provided no evidence that he had done any research whatsoever into the traditions of the Mandan or other relevant tribes regarding the smallpox epidemic of 1837 before publishing his essays. The Committee concludes that this behavior shows considerable disrespect for the native oral tradition by employing it as a defense against research misconduct while failing to use or acknowledge it in his published scholarship." pp. 82.

15. "Professor Churchill claims that his first use of the language from the pamphlet, in his 1989 essay, was authorized by an individual named John Hummel, who he believed to have the authority to negotiate on behalf of the Dam the Dams Campaign. In an interview with the Committee, Professor Churchill said that Hummel approached him, asking him to draw attention to the issue; he later sent to Churchill a box full of materials, including the pamphlet in question. Professor Churchill points to the circumstance that at the end of the article he named several individuals (though not Hummel), identifying them as members of the Dam the Dams Campaign and crediting them with "assembling the original paper from which this essay was written." Contact information for Dam the Dams Campaign is offered. The endnote then discloses, "Rewriting/updating for this volume was accommodated by Ward Churchill of the Institute for Natural Progress."
"Good practice in a co-authorship situation calls for the obtaining of written permission, and an explicit effort to negotiate the language of the entire work with the co-author, rather than the informal and questionably authorized transaction Professor Churchill describes. Possibly a failure in this regard might not be regarded as the grave offense of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined in the "Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct" of the American Historical Association as "the expropriation of another author’s work, and the presentation of it as one’s own." But even if the first use of the language from the pamphlet did not constitute plagiarism, the later uses did." pp. 87.

16. "Professor Churchill claims that he was not responsible for the circumstance that he was named as sole author of the article in Z Magazine: he maintains that the editor took Dam the Dams’ name off the essay without his consent. This claim, like many of Professor Churchill’s claims, is difficult to disprove, but it is the responsibility of an author working with a publisher to ensure that proper credit is given to co-authors and sources.

"In any event, no such disclaimer of responsibility can pertain to the 1993 and 2002 articles, as Professor Churchill was himself the editor of those volumes." pp. 87.

17. "Professor Churchill argues against the conclusion that his acts of pseudo-authorship are a form of research misconduct, claiming that there are respectable precedents for the practice. He avers that it was common for authors of a certain period, publishing in certain publications (mainly Trotskyite, he says), to use pseudonyms freely, citing especially the case of C. L. R. James, noted Caribbean novelist and historian. It does not appear, however, that "J. R. Johnson," which was the most important of C. L. R. James’ pseudonyms, was an actual person with a separate identity. Nor have we been shown or discovered that James claimed, in his scholarly work, that Johnson was a separate historian who supported certain claims that James made about historical events. In these ways the case of C. L. R. James is quite different from that of Professor Churchill. In any event a single counterexample, however distinguished, cannot nullify an overwhelming consensus about established practice." pp. 91. Incidentally, Bernie Morson at the Rocky Mountain News wrote an article in June '05 that engenders further confusion as to who wrote for whom.

18. "The operative definition of research misconduct for purposes of this allegation is found in the Operating Rules and Procedures of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct of CU-Boulder, and the University of Colorado System Administrative Policy Statement on Misconduct in Research and Authorship. Both sources designate as a form of misconduct "Failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications." We find that the publication of one’s own scholarly work (as distinct from creative work or fiction) under another name constitutes such a failure. The failure is aggravated when the name used belongs to another actual person, especially one working in the same field, whether or not the other person consents to this use of his or her name." pp. 90.

19. "Professor Churchill said in his Submission E that from time to time he publishes written work under "pseudonyms," which may sometimes be the names of actual living people. In this case, he claimed that he actually wrote ("from the ground up," as he puts it) five of the essays attributed to others in The State of Native America, including not only the essay credited to Robbins, but also those credited to M. Annette Jaimes (the volume’s editor) as sole author, to Jaimes and Theresa Halsey as co-authors, to Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr. as co-authors, and to Jorge Noriega." pp. 90.

20. "Contrary to his claim that he did only light copyediting work on it, the essay in question, 'In Usual and Accustomed Places,' is listed as a work written (not edited) by him in his Faculty Report of Professional Activity for the year 1991, followed by the parenthetical notation 'for the Institute for Natural Progress.'" pp. 93.