Churchill Responds to Inquiry

May 2005

In a single-spaced, 50 page typed submission, CU Ethnic Studies professor Ward Churchill has responded to charges of plagiarism and answered questions about his ethnicity.

The response refutes "absolutely every allegation against him including the absolutely unconstitutional inquiry into his ethnicity," [Churchill lawyer David] Lane said.

On the issue of whether Churchill misrepresented himself as a Native American:

Churchill claims Cherokee and Creek descent and says he is an "associate" member of the Keetowah Band of Cherokee. Lane said he gave the investigatory committee a videotape copy of Churchill's initiation ceremony, "where he is not made an honorary member, he is made an associate member." Lane said he also submitted genealogical research conducted by the Keetowah Band that affirms Churchill's claim to Native American heritage.

Even though he complied with the request, Lane continues to assert that asking Churchill to "prove his pedigree" is unconstitutional. On the plagiarism question:

Lane said Churchill in one instance simply took articles written by other people and put them together for a chapter of one book, which Churchill did not take credit for. "His name does not appear as the author of the piece. He was asked to edit it, and he did. He checked for typos, punctuation, grammar, those type of things. He never claims himself as the author," Lane said. "That is not plagiarism." In at least two other cases Lane said Churchill authored articles and gave them to others who took credit for them. At least one of those people later accused Churchill of plagiarism.

A final decision on Churchill could take up to seven more months.