Churchill did address the issue of his ethnicity, admitting that he is not Native American.
"Is he an Indian? Do we really care?" he said, quoting those he called his "white Republican" critics.
"Let's cut to the chase; I am not," he said.
His pedigree is "not important," Churchill said: "The issue is the substance of what is said." Of course, in my dreams, I imagnined him striking a Nixon pose at the podium and saying, "The American people want to know: is their professor a Creek? Well, I'm not a Creek." I wish I had a webcam so you could see the look of satisfaction on my face. It's like the look, I'm sure, Ted Rall wore 2:00 PM EST on November 2, 2004.
For the best round-up on Churchill, see PirateBallerina
UPDATE: The Political Teen has Photos from Ward Churchill's appearance in Hawaii.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin links to audio files of Ward Churchill advocating violence in 2003. Surprise, surprise.
CORRECTION: The Honolulu Star Bulletin has issued a correction to the story upon which this column was based. Instead of
"Let's cut to the chase, I'm not," the quote in yesterday's paper continued.
What the paper MEANT to write was:
"Is he an Indian? We really care. We're trying to protect the rights of Indians to divine for themselves, say this circle of flies in the form of white reporters circling a manure pile like it's of all consequential importance. Cut to the chase on that."
I guess that's what I get for believing the mainstream media. Since the two quotes are not really even close to each other, one wonders whether a Star Bulletin reporter even attended the speech.
Churchill went on to say that he is an associate member of the Keetoowah tribe and that associates are enrolled in the band after their genealogy has been vetted by the enrollment office. He said that he is less than one-quarter Indian, so he does not qualify to be a full member.
But that Churcillian statement does not jibe with this official statement from the American Indian Movement:
He waves around an honorary membership card that at one time was issued to anyone by the Keetoowah Tribe of Oklahoma. Former President Bill Clinton and many others received these cards, but these cards do not qualify the holder a member of any tribe. He has deceitfully and treacherously fooled innocent and naïve Indian community members in Denver, Colorado, as well as many other people worldwide.
UPDATE: The Denver Post, which did not carry the "I am not" quote, is less certain about what Churchill said.
And student editors at the university's paper, Ka Leo, said they had listened repeatedly to a tape of the speech, and because of the applause, laughter and poor sound quality, they weren't sure what he said. He might have said, "Let's cut to the chase; I'm not." Or, "Lets cut to the chase on that," according to their review.
So far, I have not found any statement or clarification from Ward Churchill himself. And, yes, the smirk is off my face.