Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ward Churchill and the Witch Hunters

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Faculty Call for Churchill Report Retraction, Consider Filing Research Misconduct Charges
This document contains 3 documents:
i) Open Letter
ii) Summary of Violations of Standard Scholarly Practice in Churchill Report
iii) Documentary Evidence Packet

Open Letter from Faculty Calling for Churchill Report Retraction

Today, Monday April 23, 2007, we, the undersigned nine professors, call on the University of Colorado at Boulder--especially the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct (SCRM) and the Churchill Investigative Committee of the SCRM--to rescind the "Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill."

Through a process of careful investigation guided by two experts in the field of American Indian Studies who did not know Churchill before 2006--Prof. Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters at Cornell University, and Prof. Michael Yellow Bird, Associate Professor, Center for Indigenous Nations Studies at Kansas University--we have found the Report to contain violations of standard scholarly practice that are so serious that we are now considering the additional step of filing charges of research misconduct against the authors of the Report. These violations include:
- relying on a biased and flawed source for major arguments;
- relying on the artificial exclusion of reputable independent sources that contradict the Report's argument in order to support its argument;
- suppressing text from a cited source that contradicts the Report's argument;
- distorting the weakness of the Report's case;
- artificially limiting scholarly interpretation in violation of norms of scholarship.
These and further violations are explained more fully in the attached summary and documentary evidence packet.

Prof. Wesson, the chair of the committee that authored this report, has already publicly acknowledged and corrected one of these violations in the report (Silver & Gold Record, April 12). But our investigation has uncovered such a pattern of these violations that the report cannot be salvaged through individual corrections. As with any scholarly document found to be so deeply compromised, the Report must be retracted. The violations of standard scholarly practice that are contained in the Report are serious enough to justify failing a PhD thesis, let alone an investigative report that is to serve as a basis for firing a tenured, full professor.

Our concerns transcend the Churchill case altogether. We feel compelled to take this action not only because of the seriousness of the violations themselves, but because the consequences of allowing them to go unchallenged reverberate far beyond anyone's individual career. As faculty, we trust that the procedures governing reviews, due process, academic freedom and faculty governance are, in fact, fair, appropriate, and duly constituted. We trust that when these procedures are carried out, they will meet the norms of standard scholarly practice and the minimum standards of professional integrity. Yet, the pattern of violations of standard scholarly practice in the Report compromises not only its own scholarly integrity but also the integrity of the protocols and principles that protect academic freedom. To allow the firing of any professor on the basis of an investigative document that is so fundamentally compromised is to lower the bar of due process so dangerously that it puts any professor at risk of arbitrary dismissal.

We do not know what motivations or intentions could have produced this pattern of violations. We are only convinced that the report contains them and that any faculty member who studies the documentary evidence we are attaching to this letter will find themselves confronted with the same grave concern. We believe that the University, the SCRM and Churchill Investigative Committee of the SCRM can accept our call in good faith and rescind the report, making it unnecessary for us to consider research misconduct charges. Because of the urgency of the situation and the seriousness of our concerns, our only focus is the rescinding of the Report-an action which is crucial in and of itself, regardless of what next steps may follow.


Eric Cheyfitz
Ernest I White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters at Cornell University

Elisa Facio
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

Vijay Gupta
Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
University of Colorado, Boulder

Margaret LeCompte
Professor, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder

Paul Levitt
Professor, Department of English, University of Colorado, Boulder

Tom Mayer
Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder

Emma Perez
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

Martin Walter
Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder

Michael Yellow Bird (Sahnish, Hidatsa)
Associate Professor, Center for Indigenous Nations Studies, Kansas University

"Report of the Investigative Committee on Research Misconduct at CU-Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Prof. Churchill"
May 9, 2006. 124 pages

VIOLATION #1. Relying on a single biased and flawed source (LaVelle) for major arguments; importing LaVelle's errors of source misrepresentation into Report

The report uses John LaVelle's two essays as the basis for the report's major findings of misconduct in the first two allegations, A and B. As the first two paragraphs of LaVelle's 1996 review essay of Churchill's Indians Are Us? show in their ad hominem, unsupported attacks on Churchill's identity and work, LaVelle's work is clearly biased before the fact against professor Churchill and contains substantial errors in its understanding of Native history (General Allotment Act, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act and the legal construction of Native identity through blood quantum) and in its misreading of two of Professor Churchill's sources: Limerick and Thornton, misreadings that the Investigative Committee affirms and imports into the Report. For example, on page 266 of his 1999 essay in Wicazo-sa Review, LaVelle asserts: "But in fact, Thornton makes no such prediction about the demise of lndians in the twenty-first century-not within the range of pages cited by Churchill nor anywhere else in Thornton's book." And yet we find such "predictions" not only within the pages that Churchill cites (see 180 in American Indian Holocaust and Survival) but elsewhere in the book (239). As for LaVelle's assertion that Churchill is quoting Limerick out of context on the effects of quarter-blood quantum, the context of the Limerick (see 338 in The Legacy of Conquest) appears to affirm Churchill's use of it and calls into question LaVelle's reading in his 1996 "Review Essay" in American Indian Quarterly (111). Further, other scholars have used this quote from Limerick in precisely the same way that Churchill uses it (see Cheyfitz, The Columbia Guide to American Indian Literatures of the United States Since 1945, p 25). Relying on one source (LaVelle's work) as the basis for one's major arguments despite its being clearly biased and flawed, constitutes a serious violation of standard scholarly practice.

VIOLATION #2. Artificial exclusion of independent sources representing alternate views; and, misrepresentation of a Supreme Court case to create false appearance of authoritativeness.

Following Lavelle, the Report misreads Churchill on Allotment and does not bring any evidence to support its claim that Churchill is wrong on the blood fraction of one-half or more used to issue allotments, a number that is supported by at least one other reputable scholar.(See Circe Sturm in Blood Politics 2002, 78). This matter of how tribal rolls were constituted by the Interior Department, using blood fractions-the department was empowered by the 1887 Gen. Allotment Act to constitute these rolls (sec.3 of the Act)-needs further research but it is clear, as Churchill and other scholars assert, that blood quantum was used in one fraction or another (Angela Gonzales in "The (Re)Articulation of American Indian Identity" [1998]). Further, the Report's reading of US v. Rogers in order to discredit Churchill's historical sense of when blood quantum was formally instituted is at best debatable and at worst simply wrong, for Taney does not define race in his decision in terms of either blood or blood quantum (see 45 573) as the Report insists. By relying on the artificial exclusion of reputable independent sources (Gonzalez and Sturm) that contradict the thesis of the investigative report in order to make the case against Churchill and by creating the false appearance of authoritativeness by referencing a Supreme Court case (US v Rogers) in support of its argument in spite of the fact that the case in question is at best debatably relevant to the thesis-in these ways, the report violates standard scholarly practice.

VIOLATION #3 Importing factual error or distortion from LaVelle; and turning a scholarly debate into an indictment by arbitrarily limiting scope of interpretation when such limitation is not justified given the unresolved debate over such scope

The Report charges Churchill with falsifying the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. While Churchill's account of the Act is not entirely accurate in Indians Are Us, it is not "egregiously" inaccurate as LaVelle claims on page 174 of his 1999 essay in Wicazo Sa Review, which does not get the Act entirely right either, omitting state recognition of a tribe as granting its members recognition as Indians and asserting contra Churchill that "the act [does not] refer to any such thing as 'the Alaska Native Corporation'" (1999; 275). In fact the Act does explicitly include in its purview "Alaska Native village[s]," which, as scholars of federal Indian law know, are indeed organized into corporations. LaVelle, as he does over and over, is either willfully misreading Churchill here or is himself ignorant of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, as he is of other key points of federal Indian law and Native history. Churchill's statements about the Act's federal standards of one-quarter blood quantum have validity because they are implied in the Act. Though the tribes have varying standards of blood quantum to determine enrollment, Stephan L. Pevar's The Rights of Indians and Tribes: the Authoritative ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights notes that "Many tribes require that a person have at least one-fourth tribal blood to be enrolled" (Third edition; 19). Thus, the Report's and LaVelle's description of the Act as not including those standards is at best debatable and arguably wrong. As with the Allotment Act issue, what we have here is a scholarly debate about the extent of particular acts, and what is or is not included in them; and it seems that Churchill's extensive readings make much more sense than the Report's and LaVelle's limited readings, which do not take into account the actual coverage and implementation of these acts. Further, the Report notes that Churchill also wrote a later essay (2003) on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act in which he cited it accurately and thus modified his description of it. But instead of giving him credit for scholarly revision, something the Report takes him to task for not doing in his Allotment formulations, it uses this revision to damn the earlier one (see page 30), noting "that in his 1994 essay, 'Nobody's Pet Poodle,' Professor Churchill seriously and deliberately misrepresented the specification of a blood quantum requirement of one-quarter of Indian blood in the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990" (31). This statement is not only inaccurate in charging Churchill with "seriously and deliberately [having] misrepresented the specification of blood quantum" but also exhibits in bad faith given the earlier demand of revision and so raises the question of intent. If Professor Churchill were "deliberately" misrepresenting the Act in his earlier characterization, why would he revise that characterization in a later essay, which he clearly calls attention to the earlier work?

VIOLATION #4. Suppressing text from cited source that contradicts the Report's argument

In the matter of John Smith and smallpox, the Report leaves out crucial quotes from Salisbury that Churchill cites as support for his speculation that there is circumstantial evidence implicating Smith's involvement in a smallpox epidemic in New England in 1616. The Report claims that Churchill fabricated Salisbury, a serious charge. In fact, the Report's assertion that "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)" (34) is completely incorrect. The Salisbury passage in question contains a sustained discussion of epidemic (101) and on p.102 refers to a tribe of the Wampanoags, the Pokanet.

VIOLATION #5. Suppressing text from cited source that contradict the Report's argument; and distortion to bolster weakness of argument

The Report finds Churchill's account of the Ft. Clark epidemic supported by Native oral history. Further, in charging Churchill with misrepresenting Thornton on the epidemic, the Report leaves out Thornton's citing of the speech of Four Bears (American Indian Holocaust and Survival, (98-99), which supports Churchill's reading of the epidemic. But why spend almost one-third of the Report investigating a charge that is substantially dismissed unless one wants to make it look as if there is something to the charge in order to prejudice the reader against Churchill, even as one basically concedes his interpretation? This again strikes us as an act of bad faith, an act of deliberate distortion.


In sum, the Report turns what is a debate about controversial issues of identity and genocide in Indian studies into an indictment of one position in that debate. Further, while it is normative to interpret acts of Congress or any legal document for that matter to include both their implementation and effects, the Report, following LaVelle, insists on violating this standard and confining the acts under investigation to their literal language, which makes no sense if one wants to understand their actual political and historical force. By following this method, the Report restricts interpretation of the acts in a way that privileges its own understanding of them and excludes alternative explanations that it may find challenging to this understanding. This approach clearly runs counter to the accepted procedures of scholarly and critical interpretation, the purpose of which is to encourage a range of interpretations so long as plausible evidence can be produced in their support. Professor Churchill has provided such evidence in his interpretations but because of the manufactured limits of interpretation set by LaVelle's scholarship and the Report, Churchill's interpretations have been substantially excluded from reasonable consideration. Such arbitrary exclusion fails the scholarly standards of the profession.

For claims re violations of standard scholarly practice in Churchill Report

* Because of time constraints, a few pieces of textual evidence cited in the Summary were not included here. But the Summary above provides the citations and page numbers to enable readers themselves to locate the texts in question.

VIOLATION #1 Relying on a single biased and flawed source (LaVelle) for major arguments; importing LaVelle's errors of source misrepresentation into Report

Textual Evidence re Bias, Ad Hominem

These are the opening 2 paragraphs of one of the LaVelle essays upon which the Report relies. This is LaVelle's review essay on Churchill's Indians Are Us? (American Indian Quarterly 20:1, 1996, 109-118):

Indians Are Us? is a collection of commentaries on American Indian political and social affairs, written in the truculent tone that readers have come to expect from writer Ward Churchill. Like its predecessors, Fantasies of the Mastter Race and Struggle for the Land, this latest Churchill project consists largely of polemical pieces hastily compiled from obscure leftist publications.

Through the course of all his writings, Churchill gradually has emerged as a spokesman of sorts for those persons derisively referred to as Indian "wannabees"--individuals with no American Indian ancestry or tribal affiliation who nonetheless hold themselves out to the public as "Indians" by aggressively inserting themselves into the political affairs of real Indian people. Churchill's appeal among the "wannabees" lies both in the boldness with which he expresses contempt for Indian tribes, and in the scholarly facade he gives his anti-tribal propositions; indeed, many Churchill fans appear to have been won over by the mere fact that Churchill's books contain an abundance of endnotes. By researching those copious endnotes, however, the discerning reader will discover that, notwithstanding all the provocative sound and fury rumbling through his essays, Churchill's analysis overall is sorely lacking in historical/factual veracity and scholarly integrity.

Discussion: The essay frames its unscholarly approach through vituperative ad hominem attack. The "wannabees" assertion borders on libel since the Churchill book in question is endorsed on its back cover by major American Indian figures Russell Means, Jayce Weaver, and Rob Robideau.

Textual Evidence re LaVelle's misrepresenting source Thornton

On page 266 of his 1999 essay in Wicazo-sa Review, LaVelle asserts:
"But in fact, Thornton makes no such prediction about the demise of Indians in the twenty-first century--not within the range of pages cited by Churchill nor anywhere else in Thornton's book."

Directly contradicting this assertion, the page range Churchill cites from Thornton contains the following on p180 re the possible ultimate disappearance of full-blood American Indians, which is the group Churchill is referring to:

Thus part of the increased mixture of American Indians with non-Indians between 1910 and 1930 was due not to increased intermarriage itself but to the different rates of growth of the full- and mixed-blood American Indian populations at that time. After issuing and analyzing these data, the U.S. Bureau of the Census concluded, with particular reference to the ongoing population recovery of American Indians: "The results of the studies on sterility, on fecundity, and on vitality all point toward one conclusion, and that is that the increase of the mixed-blood Indians is much greater than that of the full-blooded Indians, and that unless the tendencies now at work undergo a decided change the full-bloods are destined to form a decreasing proportion of the total population and ultimately to disappear altogether" (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1915:159).

Again, directly contradicting LaVelle's assertion, at the end of Thornton's book on p239 Thornton closes by suggesting a possible grim future:

It may be that demographic effects of less natural increase, more intermarriage, and less tribalism will ultimately eliminate American Indians as a distinct population, whereas 400 years of population decimation after European contact did not. American Indians as Indians may eventually end, in the words of T.S. Eliot, "not with a bang, but a whimper."

Textual Evidence re Report Importing LaVelle's Source Misrepresentation (Thornton) into Report

Professor LaVelle contends that Professor Churchill willfully distorts the scholarship of both authors [Limerick and Thornton] to buttress his claims concerning Indian statistical extermination. Although that issue is not central to the allegation before us, the Committee's reading of Limerick's and Thornton's original writings finds that Professor LaVelle is correct in this instance as well: those authors do not support Professor Churchill's claims. (Report p 31)

VIOLATION #2 Artificial exclusion of independent sources representing alternate views; and, misrepresentation of a major court case to create false appearance of authoritativeness.

Textual Evidence re artifical exclusion of independent sources representing alternate views:

Here is the Churchill text that the Report is investigating:

As forwarded to our Committee, the allegation focused on the most elaborated statement of Professor Churchill's position, found in his essay, "Perversions of Justice," in his Struggle for the Land (1993 edition), pp. 48-9.19

One of the first of these was the General Allotment Act of 1887, "which unilaterally negated Indian control over land tenure patterns within the reservations, forcibly replacing the traditional mode of collective use and occupancy with the Anglo-Saxon system of individual property ownership."[63] The Act also imposed for the first time a formal eugenics code-dubbed 'blood quantum'-by which American Indian identity would be federally defined on racial grounds rather than by native nations themselves on the basis of group membership/citizenship.[64]

Here is the Report's argument criticizing Churchill:

The General Allotment Act of 1887, as originally enacted, simply applied to "Indian[s]" and, unlike many later statutes, contained no definition of Indian whatsoever. It certainly did not, as repeatedly claimed by Professor Churchill, expressly require any blood quantum, let alone one-half or more Indian blood. (Report p16)


The general thrust of Professor Churchill's underlying basic point (seemingly and surprisingly rejected by Professor LaVelle) is that late nineteenth-century racism by federal officials in implementing the General Allotment Act of 1887, rather than traditional Indian cultural practices based on community citizenship, better accounts for the predominance of current blood quantum requirements in tribal membership rules. That argument certainly has a firm historical basis, dating back at least to the Rogers decision. Professor Churchill nevertheless has virtually all of the details of that history wrong. This racism predated the General Allotment Act of 1887, as Rogers demonstrates. It was not imposed either for "the first time" or in any express way by the General Allotment Act of 1887, as Professor Churchill claims, although blood quantum was certainly employed to implement the Act during its fifty-year history of wreaking havoc in Indian country and justifying massive transfers of two-thirds of the Indian land base into non-Indian ownership. There was never a half-blood quantum requirement for eligibility for an allotment under the Act …. (Report p.22)


"Professor Churchill deliberately embellished his broad, and otherwise accurate or, at least, reasonable, historic claims regarding the General Allotment Act of 1887 with details for which he offered no reliable independent support of any kind in his publications or in his defense during this investigation and for which the Committee was unable to find that any reasonable and reliable support exists." (Report p.27 "Conclusion")

Contrary to Report's assertion that Churchill's analysis is incorrect and not supported by any other "reasonable or reliable" work in the field, Circe Sturm argues in Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (Univ of California Press, 2002) on p.78:

As early as the Sauk and Fox Treaty of 1830, the federal government had used blood as the basis for racially identifying Native Americans and distinguishing them from the national body. However, in the late nineteenth-century, it began to impose a different racial ideology on Native Americans-the eugenic notion that Native-American identity was tied to Indian blood quantum. Beginning with the General Allotment Act of 1887, commonly known as the Dawes Act, the federal government used this ideology mostly to control access to economic resources. The Dawes Act was designed to break up the communally held Native-American land base by allotting parcels of 160 acres to individual Indians. Blood quantum was crucial to its implementation: Native Americans living on reservations who documentably of one-half or more Indian blood received allotments, while those who did not meet this standard were simply excluded.

Sturm's well-known text, from a reputable university press, closely supports Churchill's analysis of the historic impact of the Act re introducing blood quantum. Angela Gonzalez' article "The (Re)Articulation of American Indian Identity: Maintaining Boundaries and Regulating Access to Ethnically Tied Resources" in American Indian Culture and Research Journal (22:4, 1998, 199-225) is another such supporting text that appeared almost a decade ago in one of the main American Indian Studies journals:

When treaty making ended in 1871, the prevailing attitude of the federal government was that Indians should be assimilated and transformed into productive members of society. To hasten this transformation, Congress passed the General Allotment Act in 1887, aimed at the dissolution of collectively held tribal lands into individual land allotments. The criteria used to determine allotment eligibility was based on individual Indian "blood quantum."
Reflecting the scientific ideology of the time, blood was believed to be the carrier of genetic and cultural material. The amount of blood that an individual possessed of a particular race would determine the degree to which that individual would resemble and behave like persons of similar racial background. Inferred from the racial background of the parents, if both parents were of 100 percent Indian blood, their offspring would also be 100 percent and quantified at four-fourths Indian blood quantum. Children of mixed parentage, for instance, if the father was white and the mother was Indian, would possess one-half Indian blood quantum.
Determining blood quantum, however, required a benchmark, so beginning shortly after passage of the act, federal enumerators began canvassing Indian lands, counting Indian households, and recording the number of adults and children and the blood quantum of each. Given that few Indians possessed "official" birth certificates, enumerators had to rely on subjective judgment, individual self-report, and information supplied by neighbors, friends, and relatives. Compiled into what became known as the Dawes Rolls, these records continue to be used by Indian tribes for enrollment decisions and determination of eligibility for special programs and services provided by the federal government for American Indians. (from online version of journal)

Any expert in the field would be expected to know of the Sturm and, at the very least, would be expected to turn up both Sturm and Gonzalez in any research into this subject.

Textual Evidence re misrepresentation of a Supreme Court case to create false appearance of authoritativeness

The Report uses US v. Rogers to assert with sustained confidence that Churchill is historically incorrect:

During the nineteenth century, federal law did not rely exclusively, or even primarily, on tribal kinship-based definitions of citizenship, but rather insisted on employing partially racially-based definitions by demanding some degree of Indian blood or ancestry. Perhaps the most dramatic proof of that point, although unassociated with the allotment period or the General Allotment Act of 1887 (and surprisingly not mentioned by Professor Churchill in any of his claims about the General Allotment Act of 1887), was the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Rogers, 45 U.S. 567 (1846), announced four decades before passage of the General Allotment Act of 1887. […] Thus, in the nineteenth century, and forty years before enactment of the General Allotment Act of 1887, the United States Supreme Court already had adopted a racial definition of Indian, based literally on Indian ancestry (i.e., Indian blood), rather than the political definition of citizenship adopted by the Cherokee Nation. […] 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. The General Allotment Act of 1887 was simply enacted and, more importantly, implemented against that background. (Report p18)
Thus, Professor Churchill's claim made to the Committee (but not clearly stated in his published scholarship) that an eligibility requirement of Indian blood quantum could be implied in the Act, and was certainly the way it was implemented by federal agents, might literally be true. Nevertheless, the requirement of Indian blood did not originate with either express or implied requirements of the General Allotment Act of 1887, as Professor Churchill claims, and the Rogers case disproves. (Report p19)
The general thrust of Professor Churchill's underlying basic point (seemingly and surprisingly rejected by Professor LaVelle) is that late nineteenth-century racism by federal officials in implementing the General Allotment Act of 1887, rather than traditional Indian cultural practices based on community citizenship, better accounts for the predominance of current blood quantum requirements in tribal membership rules. That argument certainly has a firm historical basis, dating back at least to the Rogers decision. Professor Churchill nevertheless has virtually all of the details of that history wrong. This racism predated the General Allotment Act of 1887, as Rogers demonstrates. (Report p22)

The key section of the Rogers decision being cited does not support the Report's assertion that the Rogers decision clearly represented an earlier imposition of "blood" in defining Indian identity. Here is the key section from Chief Justice Taney's decision:

And we think it very clear, that a white man who at mature age is adopted in an Indian tribe does not thereby become an Indian, and was not intended to be embraced in the exception above mentioned. He may by such adoption become entitled to certain privileges in the tribe, and make himself amenable to their laws and usages. Yet he is not an Indian; and the exception is confined to those who by the usages and customs of the Indians are regarded as belonging to their race. It does not speak of members of a tribe, but of the race generally,-of the family of Indians; and it intended to leave them both, as regarded their own tribe, and other tribes also, to be governed by Indian usages and customs. (45 U.S. 567 at 572-573)

Taney's decision never mentions a "blood" requirement for identity. Further, he does not rely on a biological understanding of race in this decision but instead on a cultural/social definition-"usages and customs"-of American Indian identity. Biological theories of race were still only emerging in 1846 (the word "biology" was not coined until roughly 1820). The Report's use of USv.Rogers as a case which authoritatively proves Churchill wrong is clearly questionable.

VIOLATION #4. Suppressing text from a cited source that contradicts the Report's argument

Textual evidence re suppressing text from cited source that contradicts the Report's argument

Here is the Churchill text that the Report is investigating:

REPORT p33-4

Allegation C refers specifically to the next sentences [by Churchill]:
There are several earlier cases, one involving Captain John Smith of Pocahontas fame. There's some pretty strong circumstantial evidence that Smith introduced smallpox among the Wampanoags as a means of clearing the way for the invaders.[140]
[Churchill's] Note 140 cites Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Europeans, Indians, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643, pp. 96-101 (Report p33)

The Report then asserts a serious charge of source fabrication:

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. (Report p34)

But the Report completely misrepresents the Salisbury pages in question:

But the real destruction of Smith's New England came during the ensuing three years. From 1616 through 1618 the Indians were subjected to an epidemic, or series of epidemics, of catastrophic proportions. Attempts by medical historians to diagnose the malady have floundered on the inconclusive nature of the surviving descriptions. The only first-hand European witnesses whose observations survive, Richard Vines and Thomas Dermer, agents of Gorges, both referred to the disease simply as "the plague," and the remaining evidence likewise supports the conclusion that the epidemic represented a strain of plague. (Salisbury 101-102)

The pages cited by Churchill contain not none but six mentions of disease or epidemic. Further, in this same section of discussion Salisbury also mentions "Wampanoags":

The epidemic's other coastal extremity is quite abrupt-the Pokanoket [one tribe that composed the Wampanoag peoples] on the eastern and northern shores of Narragansett Bay were struck but the Narragansett on the west side were not. (Salisbury 102)

Here, the Report commits fabrication in its handling of Salisbury, an Oxford Univ Press book from 1982 that is authoritative in the field.

VIOLATION #5. Suppressing text from a cited source that contradicts the Report's argument

Here is the Report's claim that Churchill misrepresents Thornton re Mandan epidemic:

In "Bringing the Law Home" (published in 1994), Professor Churchill writes: "Such tactics [deliberate spread of disease by the British among American Indians during the colonial period] were also continued by the United States after the American Revolution. At Fort Clark on the upper Missouri River, for instance, the U.S. Army distributed smallpox-laden blankets as gifts among the Mandan. The blankets had been gathered from a military infirmary in St. Louis where troops infected with the disease were quarantined" (p. 35).
He does not give a year for when this happened and provides no references for those sentences, but at the end of the paragraph, he provides the following note: "The Fort Clark incident is covered in Thornton, op. cit. [American Indian Holocaust and Survival], pp. 94-6."
That wording indicates that his account was based on Thornton, whereas in fact Thornton says something quite different about the Fort Clark situation. On pp. 95-9 (not 94-6), Thornton discusses the Mandan situation in some detail. He says that that the disease was spread by people on the steamboat who had smallpox and/or by Indians who came in contact with them after the boat had first stopped at Fort Clark and then gone on to the Mandan villages. He says that this started a "pandemic," but he does not mention blankets or suggest deliberate infection on the part of the U.S. Army or the American Fur Company. Professor Churchill therefore misrepresents what Thornton says.

Contrary to this assertion, the Thornton text in this very same section does contain extensive mention of deliberate infection when Thornton cites the speech by Mandan leader Four Bears on p98-99:

My Friends one and all, Listen to what I have to say- Ever since I can remember, I have loved the Whites, I have lived With them ever since I was a Boy, and to the best of my Knowledge, I have never Wronged a White Man, on the Contrary, I have always Protected them from the insults of Others, Which they cannot deny. The 4 Bears never saw a White Man hungry, but what he gave him to eat, Drink, and a Buffaloe skin to sleep on, in time of Need. I was always ready to die for them, Which they cannot deny. I have done every thing that a red Skin could do for them, and how have they repaid it! With ingratitude! I have Never Called a White Man a Dog, but to day, I do Pronounce them to be a set of Black harted Dogs, they have deceived Me, them that I always considered as Brothers, has turned Out to be My Worst enemies. I have been in Many Battles, and often Wounded, but the Wounds of My enemies I exhalt in, but to day I am Wounded, and by Whom, by those same White Dogs that I have always Considered, and treated as Brothers. I do not fear Death my friends. You Know it, but to die with my face rotten, that even the Wolves will shrink with horror at seeing Me, and say to themselves, that is the 4 Bears the Friend of the Whites-
Listen well what I have to say, as it will be the last time you will hear Me. think of your Wives, Children, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, and in fact all that you hold dear, are all Dead, or Dying, with their faces all rotten, caused by those dogs the whites, think of all that My friends, and rise all together and Not leave one of them alive. The 4 Bears will act his Part-.

The Report's suppression of this speech in Thornton is made worse by the fact that Four Bears' speech is known the writers since the Report itself cites the speech on pp49-50.
The Seven Charges of Academic Misconduct (Prof. Churchill)
Allegation A: Misrepresentation of General Allotment Act of 1887
Allegation B: Misrepresentation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990
Allegation C: Captain John Smith and Smallpox in New England, 1614-1618
Allegation D: Smallpox Epidemic at Fort Clark and Beyond, 1837-1840

Allegation E: Plagiarism of a Pamphlet by the Dam the Dams Group
Allegation F: Plagiarism of Professor Rebecca Robbins
Allegation G: Plagiarism of Professor Fay G. Cohen

Definition of Misconduct:

from CU Policy "Misconduct in Research and Authorship"

"Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism and other forms of misappropriation of ideas, or additional practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted in the research community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Archaeology of the Cuban Taino: Turey and Survival

Gradual, perhaps grudging and incremental acceptance of the fact that the classic European tale of Taino tragedy (total extinction) is not something that can be supported with evidence.

Humble Brass Was Even Better Than Gold to a 16th-Century Tribe in Cuba

January 16, 2007, Tuesday
Late Edition - Final, Section F, Page 3, Column 1, 1245 words

Because of its otherworldly brilliance, the 16th-century Taíno Indians of Cuba called it turey, their word for the most luminous part of the sky.

They adored its sweet smell, its reddish hue, its exotic origins and its dazzling iridescence, qualities that elevated it to the category of sacred materials known as guanín. Local chieftains wore it in pendants and medallions to show their wealth, influence and connection to the supernatural realm. Elite women and children were buried with it.

What was this treasured stuff? Humble brass — specifically, the lace tags and fasteners from Spanish explorers’ shoes and clothes, for which the Taíno eagerly traded their local gold.

A team of archaeologists from University College London and the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment came to these conclusions by analyzing small brass tubes found in two dozen burial sites in the Taíno village of El Chorro de Maíta in northeastern Cuba, according to a recent paper in The Journal of Archaeological Science.

Huts have been reconstructed near the site as a heritage center. (photo credit: Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

The graves mostly date to the late 15th and early 16th centuries, when waves of gold-hungry conquistadors landed on Caribbean shores. Within decades, the Taíno, like their neighbors the Carib and the Arawak, were largely wiped out by genocide, slavery and disease.

But the archaeologists say this is not the whole picture. Their research — the first systematic study of metals from a Cuban archaeological site — focuses on one of the few indigenous settlements ever found that date from the period after the arrival of Europeans. The scientists say the finds add important detail and nuance to a history of the Caribbean long dominated by the first-person reportage of the Europeans themselves.

“It’s certainly true that the arrival of the Europeans was in the short term devastating,” said Marcos Martinón-Torres of University College London, the project’s lead researcher. “But instead of lumping the Taíno in all together as ‘the Indians of Cuba who were eliminated by the Spaniards,’ we’re trying to show they were people who made choices. They had their own lives. They decided to incorporate European goods into their value system.”

Brass first came to the Americas with Europeans. While a few brass artifacts have been found elsewhere in the Caribbean, no one knows when and how they were acquired. In contrast, El Chorro, first excavated in the mid-1980s, is one of the best-preserved sites in Cuba, and its artifacts have a clear archaeological context.

Training X-rays and microscopes on a half-dozen pendants, Dr. Martinón-Torres and a Cuban archaeologist, Roberto Valcárcel Rojas, determined the metals’ bulk chemical composition. It was a mixture of zinc and copper — the elements of brass.

They then used a scanning electron microscope to find the pendants’ unique geochemical signature. All came from Nuremberg, Germany, a center of brass production since the Middle Ages.

The few other metal artifacts from the cemetery — pendants made from a gold-copper-silver alloy — probably came from Colombia, where the Taíno are thought to have originated. Only two tiny gold nuggets, of local origin, were found.

Sixteenth-century portraits in places like the Tate Gallery held further clues. Many subjects wear bootlaces and bodices fastened with objects strikingly like those found in the graves. Similar objects have been excavated from early colonial settlements, including Havana and Jamestown, Va.

European accounts said the Taíno traded 200 pieces of gold for a single piece of guanín, of which brass was the highest form. Yet the residents of El Chorro may not have considered the trade unfair, said Jago Cooper, a field director for the project. In fact, access to European brass may have increased the power of local chieftains, hastening the transition from an egalitarian society to a hierarchical one.

The finds from El Chorro suggest that interaction between the Taíno and the Europeans may have been more varied than once thought.

“Large European materials being incorporated into their culture, and exotic materials being used to reflect Taíno beliefs — it’s new, important evidence for what was happening during contact,” said William F. Keegan, an archaeologist at the University of Florida and the co-editor of The Journal of Caribbean Archaeology, who was not involved in the research. “There’s been a tendency to assume the Taínos quickly disappeared due to European diseases and harsh treatment by the Spanish, but there’s increasing evidence that the culture continued to be vibrant until the middle of the 16th century.”

Some of that evidence comes from another site in Cuba: Los Buchillones, a coastal settlement about 200 miles west of El Chorro de Maíta. First excavated in 1998 by a Cuban-Canadian team, Los Buchillones is the site of the only known intact Taíno house. In the last decade, continuing study of the site and the surrounding region by Mr. Valcárcel Rojas and Mr. Cooper has revealed a community with trade networks all over the Greater Antilles that survived into the Spanish colonial period in the early 17th century.

Clearly, they would have known about Europeans’ presence, but chose to avoid contact, unlike El Chorro’s chieftains. It may have kept them alive longer.

Together, the sites hint at an array of tactics not documented by the Europeans. “Most accounts seem to be based on the idea that Europeans ‘acted’and Taíno ‘reacted,’ ” said Elizabeth Graham of University College London, who with her husband, David Pendergast, first excavated Los Buchillones. “In the case of El Chorro de Maíta, the Taíno were clearly being proactive.”

The finds at El Chorro also help to fill a hole in the study of the Caribbean past created by Cuba’s political isolation. Archaeology of the island has been little known outside of its borders since the 1959 revolution. Very few foreign archaeologists have dug there, and the few field reports published by Cuban archaeologists, mostly trained by Soviet scholars, are difficult to get outside the country.

In recent years, there have been efforts to bring Cuban archaeology out of the long shadow cast by the 45-year-old United States sanctions. In 2005, the scholarly volume Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology assembled a dozen English-language reports in one place. (In it is a paper Mr. Valcárcel Rojas co-wrote about El Chorro de Maíta.) The relatively new Journal of Caribbean Archaeology currently has its first Cuban paper in peer review.

For most American archaeologists, papers published by their international colleagues are about as close as they are going to get to Cuba these days. Since 2004, the Bush administration has greatly tightened restrictions on educational travel to Cuba; programs under 10 weeks are now prohibited. Last summer, Florida went a step further, banning public universities from spending money on research in countries the State Department considers state sponsors of terrorism, including Cuba. Both sets of regulations are being challenged in court.

Last spring, Mr. Valcárcel Rojas was denied a visa to attend the annual Society for American Archaeology conference in Puerto Rico. Dr. Martinón-Torres and Mr. Cooper presented the research — which received Cuba’s highest academic prize — without him.

Still, the British-Cuban team is seeking a three-year grant in hopes of uncovering the trade and social networks that connected El Chorro’s inhabitants — in particular, the effects of the brass-gold trade on those connections. And there is European behavior to puzzle out, too.

“We would expect the Europeans to load up with brass in their cargos, but we haven’t found that brass in Cuba,” Dr. Martinón-Torres said. “It’s possible it hasn’t been recognized by archaeologists. We expect if both sides were happy with this exchange, there must be more evidence of it.”

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Unfair Trade: EU against Africa, Caribbean & Pacific

From The Guaradian (UK):

Unfair trade
UK ministers, who claim to promote sustainable development, are part of a push to force developing countries to sign away their environment. Countries affected include those of the ACP (Africa Caribbean Pacific) bloc, as well nations in Central America, the Andean region of South America, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Venezuela.

April 26, 2007

...unfair trade deals that the European Union is forcing on 76 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, of which 39 are among the least developed in the world. These so called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are comprehensive free trade instruments that are set to force ACP countries to eliminate trade barriers to almost all EU imports. This will expose family farmers and fledgling industry to direct and unfair competition from powerful European corporations - driving farmers off their land and causing mass unemployment....New investment rules in particular would open up and deregulate oil, mining, forestry and fishery sectors on behalf of European transnational corporations. This would undermine poor communities' access to the natural resources that fishing communities, farmers and indigenous peoples - in particular women - rely on for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel and food security needs....