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Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill: Birds of a Headdress Feather

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Senator Elizabeth Warren belongs to an elite club of American professors who have risen to academic heights through a fraudulent claim of Native American ancestry. In fact, it’s such an elite club that I can only think of one other known member: Ward Churchill.


Remember Ward Churchill? He was a professor of ethnic studies (of all things) who claimed to be of Creek, Muskogee and Cherokee descent. Problem was, the admixture of Indian blood tended to shift with the telling. By one account in 1992, he said he was one-eighth Creek and one-sixteenth Cherokee. In another version, in 1993, he dropped to one-sixteenth Creek and Cherokee. Somehow, in 2005 he jumped to three-sixteenths Cherokee in yet another claim. Eventually the real Cherokee themselves called Churchill’s claims to tribal membership to be fraudulent. 

Churchill had managed to parlay his phony claim to Indian ancestry into a career in academia at the University of Colorado - Boulder beginning, it seems, in 1979 when he listed on his employment application with the school that he was Native American. He was hired by CU, ironically as an affirmative action officer, while also lecturing in the ethnic studies program on issues relating to Native Americans. In 1990, he was promoted to associate professor at CU, despite lacking a requisite doctorate for the job. 

Churchill gained national infamy when he penned a column, published on September 12, 2001, titled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens”, in which he scurrilously claimed that the attack on the World Trade Center was brought on by the United States itself. He outrageously claimed that the US had killed half a million Iraqi children through alleged bombing of Iraq’s water purification, sewage facilities and other infrastructure in the first Gulf War in 1991. Aside from the allegation being untrue, he overlooked the fact that in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm America was defending an ally, Kuwait, against the aggressor Iraq.  And that we were supported by a coalition of 35 countries.


One of the more odious lines in Churchill’s 9/12 screed was that chickens “came home to roost in a very big way” to America that day, adding cutely “a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well.” He goes on to equate Americans with Nazis for supporting George H.W. Bush’s prosecution of that war and celebrating the US military’s brilliant and swift destruction of Iraqi forces.

The thing about someone who would lie about their very ancestry on employment applications and other official records is that they’ll lie about other things. Churchill’s infamous column, in which he called those who died in the towers “Little Eichmanns” (referring to the Nazi war criminal), led to greater scrutiny of him and to his eventual undoing.

When people began looking at his military records, for instance, they discovered that he had lied about his military service. Based on an interview of Churchill for a 1987 puff piece profile in the Denver Post, the paper asserted that Churchill had gone through paratrooper training in the Army, volunteered for service in Vietnam, and was sent out on Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols as a “Lurp”. In fact, however, reporters reviewing his military records in 2005 discovered he was trained as a film projectionist and light truck driver, with no paratrooper school or LRRP training in his background, and the 75th Ranger Regiment Association reportedly found no record of him being a member of an LRRP team.


Churchill’s popping off about 9/11 also brought scrutiny of his academic “work” by the University of Colorado, which produced a 125-page mini-opus in May 2006 detailing his research misconduct and academic fraud. In their conclusion, a committee of CU academic investigators unanimously determined that Churchill was guilty of falsification, plagiarism, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, and serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research. 

Churchill was sacked by the university on July 24, 2007. He filed suit against the school for unlawful termination and won his lawsuit, along with a grand total of $1 in damages. But the case was overturned on appeal, so he didn’t even get his dollar. Churchill then relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, from whence he told a friendly interviewer in 2014 that he was getting “resituated” and writing stuff that basically nobody wants to read. 

This brings us to Senator Elizabeth Warren, another faux Native American who, despite her best efforts at spin to the contrary, leveraged her own claims to membership in the Cherokee Nation to advance herself in the Ivory Tower, which in turn allowed her to leapfrog to the heights of Democratic politics. 


Sen. Warren was arguably more successful than Mr. Churchill in playing the affirmative action card. Remarkably so, actually, considering that the American people may seriously have the option of choosing as its next president a complete fraud, who actually proffered herself as a “Native American” based entirely on her possessing high cheekbones like her “Papaw” and family lore that she had Indian blood coursing through the veins under her pasty white skin. 

In an excellent column at Real Clear Investigations last June titled “Harvard Must Set the Record Straight on Elizabeth Warren,” Hal Lambert laid out a very clear history of Elizabeth Warren calculatedly lying about her ancestry in 1993 in order to exploit a discrimination lawsuit against Harvard over its hiring practices, resulting in its law school actively seeking women and “persons of color” to recruit to its faculty. After she finally came on board in 1995, Harvard’s spokesman, Mike Chmura, referred to Warren as a “Native American” in the Harvard Crimson in 1996. Chmura called Warren Harvard Law’s “first woman of color” in the Fordham Law Review in 1997. In 1998, Chmura wrote a letter to The New York Times, touting Harvard Law’s new Native American hire and the Crimson again reported that year: “Harvard Law School has only one tenured minority woman, Gottlieb Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is Native American.” There are other examples. And Warren herself has admitted to listing herself as “Native American” in professional directories. 


Now, just as in the case of Ward Churchill, we’re beginning to see new evidence of falsehoods by Sen. Warren emerging. This time it relates to claims in her autobiography that she was asked not to return to a teaching position in New Jersey in the 1970s because she had become “visibly pregnant,” which she pushes on the campaign trail as part of her victimology meme. In fact, thanks to recent sleuthing by the Washington Free Beacon, county records show that Ms. Warren had been offered a new contract in 1971 by the Riverdale Board of Education to return to her job teaching in their district.

The thing about people like Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren, who are willing to lie about something so basic as their very heritage in order to advance themselves, is that they have built their tepees on quicksand. It has a way of dragging them further into the muck of prevarication. Do we really want such a fraud in the White House? 

William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 30 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. and a contributor to Townhall, American Thinker, and The Federalist. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)


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