As many of you know, Ward Churchill, the Indigenous scholar and author of numerous important studies on American genocide and repression, was fired by Colorado University in 2007.
While they cited a bunch of academic "misdeeds" - which more than one observer have pointed out are routine for writers - the real reason was quite obviously the essay Churchill wrote just after September 11th, 2001. In "Some People Push Back:On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" Churchill attempted to explain the attacks that brought down the World Trade Center, arguing that many in those twin towers were not "innocent victims", but had in fact been functionaries in a bloody and genocidal world empire.
Last week a jury found in Churchill's favour, that he had been wrongfully fired not because of any academic misdeeds, but as punishment for his 2001 essay. While the jury only awarded him a symbolic $1, it will now be up to a judge to decide whether the university must give him back his job, or else offer a cash buy-out.
No matter how it ends, and despite the merely symbolic one dollar award, the jury's decision is a major legal victory not only for Churchill himself, but for academic freedom of speech in general.
For those of you in Montreal, next week Churchill will be speaking here as part of Q-PIRG Concordia's Subversive Cinema series, following a screening of the 2008 award-winning short film “American Outrage”, about two elderly Western Shoshone sisters who put up a heroic fight for their land and indigenous sovereignty.
What follows below is the information about this event:
KEEPING IT REEL!
QPIRG-Concordia's Subversive Cinema Series
Next feature film: AMERICAN OUTRAGE
Followed by a lecture by WARD CHURCHILL
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 7pm
1455 de Maisonneuve West, H-110
Welcome to all. This event is FREE.
Note: Film begins at 7pm (sharp), followed by the lecture.
QPIRG-Concordia presents a special lecture by outspoken Native American author, writer and academic Ward Churchill. This lecture will be one of Ward Churchill’s first public events since his recent victory in a wrongful dismissal case against the University of Colorado.
The lecture will be preceded by the 2008 award-winning short film “American Outrage”, about two elderly Western Shoshone sisters who put up a heroic fight for their land and indigenous sovereignty.
About WARD CHURCHILL:
Ward Churchill, is one of North America’s leading Native American scholars and the author of numerous works, including Fantasies of the Master Race, Struggle for the Land, From A Native Son, Agents of Repression, Since Predator Came, Pacifism as Pathology and A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas.
It was the essay making up the core of his book On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, exploring the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, that set in motion the University of Colorado procedure leading to Churchill being fired from his position as a Professor of Ethnic Studies and Coordinator of American Indian Studies in 2007. On April 2, 2009, Churchill won his case against the university, arguing that he was wrongfully dismissed, in violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.
Over the years, Churchill has been active with numerous native organizations, including the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the First Nations International Tribunal. He is currently the co-direct of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado, an autonomous chapter of the American Indian Movement, and the vice-chair of the American Indian Anti-Defamation Council.
About AMERICAN OUTRAGE:
Carrie and Mary Dann are feisty Western Shoshone sisters who have endured five terrifying livestock roundups by armed federal marshals in which more than a thousand of their horses and cattle were confiscated -- for grazing their livestock on the open range outside their private ranch.
AMERICAN OUTRAGE asks why the United States government has spent millions persecuting and prosecuting two elderly women grazing a few hundred horses and cows in a desolate desert? The United States Bureau of Land Management insists the sisters are degrading the land. The Dann sisters say the real reason is the resources hidden below this seemingly barren land, their Mother Earth. Western Shoshone land is the second largest gold producing area in the world. (2008, Bulldog Films).
This event is the last in the “Keeping it Reel: Subversive Cinema Series”. Previous films have included: “In This World”, “FLOW: For the Love of Water”; & “P4W: Prison for Women” (with guest speaker Ann Hansen). Get in touch for more information about QPIRG-Concordia programming and events.