Talk:Ward Churchill/Archive 10

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Splitting of article into subarticles

Recent edits by Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters have split controversies into separate articles. Certainly, given the fact that the controversies surrounding Churchill consume more space than the rest of the biographical data, child articles are needed. However, keeping only a sentence of two in the main biography is not inline with how controveries are handled in other biographies. I don't think the current article gives a balanced, NPOV assessment of the notable aspects of Churchill. Whether intended or not, this has the appearance of trying to sanitize the biography to support a favorable POV of Churchill. In particular, there are numerous credible concerns in the controversy articles that go to the heart of the biographical information in the article. The claims in the article are now not balanced by examining the criticisms/controversies that in many instances directly challenge these claims.

I think the article has taken a step backwards from the relative NPOV that it had achieved and this needs to be addressed. I have faith that this can be accomplished cooperatively and without "edit warring". – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:55, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I definitely disagree, in bulk. Now that I got around to splitting, I feel like this burden is lifted in letting the main article read like an actual biography, rather than as a tired political argument. And this includes the more-or-less pro-Churchill McCarthyism stuff, which also detract form the basic biography. This article is now neither pro- nor anti-Churchill, which is where the relief comes from. It just says: he was born here, has this academic job, wrote these books... but with prominent pointers to articles discussing the narrow issues of non-academic controversies. Lack of sniping and insults isn't "advocacy of Churchill" (unless you start with the a priori that everything one can say about Churchill is condemnation).
Is there another biography of an academic you could point to where controversies are handled substantially differently (and importantly, where they are handled better)? It's true that many other bios are not factored into smaller pieces, and run up against WP:SIZE violations. But that's a fault with those others, not a virtue.
That said, while I would strongly oppose making the links to siblings much longer, the wording are certainly subject to tweaking. The one I spun off today, particularly, was just done as a first pass (but mostly taking the language that was already at the top of the section). Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:16, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

This is a really tough call. No doubt, Churchill is best known for his words and a few of his actions. What brought him to my radar was his comment about the 'Little Eichmanns" and I think that is what many people connect him with. Hum. The remaining "issues" such as his possibly incorrect claimant that is partially native american, that he may have plagerized some of his papers were after the Eichmann episode and are essentially a spinoff that only became known to peons like me when certain special interest groups added all this on in a further attempt to both (I guess) enlighten the rest of the world about the man, but also to make him more "dislikeable" to many people. It is very hard to be neutral in an article of this nature, but the current form seems to come fairly close. I mean, the controversial issue is right up front as the second paragraph in the opening information. I might re-add a few more tidbids in some of the daughterize sections, but I wouldn't overembellsh it. I'll give an example. In the George W Bush article, I had a long dispute over the section regarding subtance abuse. I wanted only the known facts in the main article, not innuendo, not poorly referenced or highly POV and circumspect misinformation. I wanted that relegated to a subarticle. We kept the fact that Bush had been arrested for DUI at one point, that he had essentially confessed to drug and alochol use to Billy graham, is now substanitally shorter than the daughter article, but it sticks to the major, his arrest and his confession to Rev Graham.[1] Clicking the link to the daughter article and well, the whole story shows up, even the innuendo and hard to prove rhetoric. I think if we can do this here, allow only the hard facts and subarticle all the controversial stuff, then that helps a lot. I don't want a whitewashing, just discussion as to what is substantive for main article space and what is less substantive that can be relegated to a daugther article.--MONGO 03:25, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Refactoring, WP:SIZE and scandal category

Actually, I was OK with your argument for just including the cat on the Ward Churchill (misconduct allegations) article without needing to refactor this article. (It was the argument about a scandal requiring a level of proof, when I think simply a reasonable level of credibility and notoriety is enough, that caused me to replace the cat.) Since the cat was removed without objection before the refactoring, I'm not sure I see the causation between the cat and the refactoring. So maybe we can revert back to to the presplit, post cat removal article? – Doug Bell talkcontrib 04:26, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I very much don't want to go back. The thing you did with the category, as I say, was sort of the nudge to do what I have been hoping to for a while, since it added one small extra benefit for doing the moderate amount of work involved. If you look through this talk page, you'll see that refactoring discussed before, I think even by you (where I think you liked the idea... if it was someone else, sorry, I don't always remember exactly who made every comment). But since the refactoring of the "essay controversy" was first discussed, the "New McCarthyism" material was expanded further, which pushes even more for the refactoring in two ways: (1) The main article became a more serious WP:SIZE concern (still not outragously long, but a bit more on the too-long side, and likely to grow); (2) Spinning off the "research misconduct" to a sibling, but leaving the "new McCarthyism" gives the biography itself a bit too much "pro-Churchill" spin. I don't think any of the writing really violates NPOV now, but having the accusations of persecution be about the only thing that wasn't flat academic bio leaves the wrong impression (just like having over half the article about "misconduct allegations" left the wrong spin before, in roughly the opposite direction).
Now I certainly do not want any of the siblings to be either pro-Churchill or anti-Churchill. Those sort of judgements are not encyclopedic, but I don't think any of them are bad right now. But even the relative length devoted to a particular angle within an article is a sort of tacit endorsement of a particular type of concern over others. Breaking things up, quite apart from simply making each part the right length, mitigates the "bias by wordcount". Right now, the bio reads pretty much like every other academic's bio; but with prominence given to the siblings. It might make sense to include some sort of mention of the siblings right at the top, even before the corresponding sections that briefly summarize them; but I'm not sure how to do that exactly.
I'm trying to think of a good analogy for the structure: someone else who was a "regular" academic, but gained popular noteriety greater than you might expect from their academic career. Barak Obama might have a similar structure if you compare is moderate notability as a law professor to his hugely increased prominence as a Senator. But that's not really quite a good match. Not because Obama or Churchill are better or worse than each other, nor even because Obama is more notable overall. More just because like him or dislike him, it's not exactly "controversial" that Obama is Senator. If anyone can think of a better analogy, I'd like to look at how it is handled on WP. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 04:51, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
I saw, Doug Bell, that you suggested a rather good analogy on your user talk page: Kobe Bryant. While I had never read that page before just now, so can't judge your characterization of the edit history, the pattern you describe is not a bad analogy for this Churchill article. I do see that Bryant's page has not been refactored, despite WP:SIZE modestly suggesting such (and yes, I believe referring to WP policies/guidelines is good and desirable practice in talk page discussions). I think in the Bryant case, there is less of a dividing point in his noteriety. The rape charges were certainly extremely widely covered in the press, but he had pretty wide awareness among the general public before that as well. In contrast, Churchill was mostly notable in comparatively specialized circles prior to 2005, sort of along the line of Howard Zinn or Slavoj Zizek maybe; definitely enough to warrant an article, but not so much that national news networks would report his doings. But there are also many more total words devoted to Churchill once you add up the siblings than to Bryant... I think close to three times as many words (and definitely at least twice). I can't say whether that is good or bad, but the degree of coverage any article topic gets is certainly poorly correlated with its "objective" importance (I wouldn't write millions of words on characters in science fiction stories, for example, but such exists on WP). Beyond the probably accurate insinuation that I can get a bit "trigger happy" in monitoring this page, I'm not quite sure what moral to draw from the Bryant article though (given some pretty agressive vandals I've had to deal with, almost always stridently anti-Churchill, I think maybe you can see how I got that way... even if it is a fault). I'll take a closer look at the history and content of Kobe Bryant in a day or two. Other analogies are welcomed, from Doug or anyone else. I would like to have the right conceptual model for how to balance the different "notabilities". Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 06:32, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, as far as mainstream news, Churchill wasn't noticed much until after his comment about the victims of 9/11, and a lot of the other stuff that was brought to light (much of it I question as biased actually) only happened after the 9/11 comments. Kobe was big news for years so though the rape is a really big blemish, it is but a chapter of his story as far as mainstream noteworthy-ness goes...sad out athletes get more attention than our educators.--MONGO 06:25, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I would point out another difference between the scandals that Churchill and Bryant are involved in. The rape allegations against Bryant are not related to his role as a basketball player. The notoriety of the rape allegations came solely from his notability as a professional basketball player, but not because they are relevant to his basketball career. In the case of Churchill, most of the allegations of misconduct are either directly (plagiarism, academic fraud and fabrication) or indirectly (Indian ancestry) relevant to his career as a professor, author and authority on Indian issues or to his sideline (art fraud) as an artist. Like Bryant, however, the charges of misconduct only became widely known once Churchill became widely known following the publicity from his 9/11 essay. What does this mean for the Churchill article? I think it means that the misconduct allegations are more relevant to the Churchill bio than the rape allegations are to the Bryant bio because they challenge many of the notable accomplishments from his bio. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 18:31, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
There are a number of disanalogies between Churchill and Bryant, I think. Bryant was already quite widely known before the rape charges; I'm not a sports fan, but even I know that he is/was one of the top players in the NBA. Not everyone is a basketball fan, but those that are are in the "general public" rather than a specific academic field, as per Churchill. But as Doug Bell says, the alleged academic fraud is more closely connected to academic scholarship than rape is to basketball... I think maybe a bit of the Bryant "scandal" had to do with the alleged rape being an outgrowth of his fame and fortune. And certainly a lot of the reporting seemed to be about how the trial would affect his playing basketball, so there's a bit more connection. But still less than with the academic connections. Overall though, I think we may have gotten as much as is available from the analogy. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 20:30, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Before and after the media

I think the Zinn and Zizek analogies are sort of worth thinking about. Both Zinn and Zizek have made comments similar to Churchill's about the causes of the 9/11 attacks. Churchill might put things in a slightly more provacative style, but only slightly; and mostly they would all be similarly loathed by much mainstream or right-wing commentators. However, Zinn and Zizek remain known mostly in academic circles (but in both cases, as with Churchill, this filters down to the level of regular undergrad course assignments of their books). Then in 2005 (not in 2001 when Churchill actually wrote the essay), Churchill was pushed to this wider noteriety in the general press, and in blogs. So the question that strikes me is: "Why Churchill rather than the others?" I sort of have some hunches about the answer, e.g.:

  1. Churchill is actively teaching in Colorado, a state where some of the anti-leftist agenda has spread in academia.
  2. Zinn is a retired emeritus professor in Massachusetts. It's the wrong state for the Horowitz/O'Reilly style efforts, and Zinn doesn't really have a job to be fired from.
  3. Zizek teaches at several US schools, but only as various "visiting professor" type titles. He's one of those "funny foreigners" with a permanent academic job in one of those formerly-Communist countries. So rants about "unpatriotic" and "traitorous" don't really work.
  4. Zizek writes in a somewhat obscure and difficult style and talks about obscure and difficult dead philosophers (well, every other paragraph, alternating with accessible and funny use of popular culture). Bill O'Reilly couldn't make it through enough of his essays to know what he was "indignant" about. In contrast, Churchill (and Zinn too) are very layperson accessible.
  5. A little bit of just plain accident. Once you find one sacrificial lamb, there's no need to search for another better one (as long as the first one works well enough).
  6. Churchill genuinely is rather deliberately provacative in his language. It's backed up by good (nay, excellent) scholarship... but after my own heart, he likes supporting the extreme turn of phrase.

But despite those reasons and accidents, it didn't have to be Churchill who became the subject of the "Churchill Affair" (or something functionally identical to it). Zinn or Zizek, or anyone else who published 20 books and hundreds of essays, would no doubt have some skeleton in their closet if you looked hard enough... or at least something that could be made to look like a skeleton if you squinted just right. Which makes me think there are two rather disparate aspects to this bio: (1) Who Churchill was before the brouhaha, which is to say, a notable academic historian (no, not a saint, nor even a world-historical genius; but neither a demonic threat to the fiber of society); (2) Who Churchill is as a media image, post-2005. The current factoring, even past obeying WP:SIZE, pretty much examines these different aspects in a coherently organized way. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 06:53, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, no doubt the Little Eichmanns thing was the issue that made him persona non grata in many circles. I pretty much was disgusted with it, but I confess, on 9/11 I almost put my foot through my TV. But I understand his comment for what is is...I don't view it is treasonous or anti-American, just a little bit poor as an analogy. I get his politics, I just don't agree with it. Regardless, a through development of Churchill the man before the events of 2004?(5) are paramount of importance, especially his academic work. But as you said, (and I am willing to confess I know not his academic status amoung his peers prior to the last couple of years), there is a lot more to him than just the things that make him notorious...but, the notority of his words and deeds are probably why there is a Wiki article on him to begin with...that is why I find the challenge to make this a "fair and balanced" article to be so tremendous. I think I may have hit a cord there...taking all the other things that have come to light prior to 2004, is there enough to justify an article...if that issue can be examined, then that gives the article a direction of sorts. Is his published work highly regarded? Is his achievements in academia noteworthy...I think he was the head of his department so there must have been a reason for his rise from assistant professor to tenured full professor and chair (unless I am mistaken about what his title was).--MONGO 12:37, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
just a little bit poor as an analogy... you really think it was just a bit of a "poor analogy"? Another example of the administrator mentality.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Out of curiousity, I took a look at the early edit history. Churchill's essay was reported in the mainstream press (Fox News and Rocky Mountain News initially) in February 2005 (not 2004). The article was started in May 2004; the first few revisions were absurdly stubby (a sentence), but it was a moderately substantial article by December 2004. But May 2004 is just when someone got around to starting an article, Churchill still had 20 books (or maybe 19 or whatever) before that, and was known academically. I think looking at the pages for any of the other academics I mention would show a similar pattern of stubby creation at various dates, but generally years after their actual notability.
In any case, I do know about Churchill, and have since the mid-1980s, which seems to distinguish me from most of the editors to this page. Just ignoring everything after February 2005 (including any retrospective "revalations" about his alleged prior transgressions), he is a moderately prominent historian, particularly in relation to North American indian issues, and also in relation to US government suppression of dissent in the 20th century (COINTEL PRO, etc). Popularly, he published in general readership left/liberal magazines like Z magzine and The Progressive, so a fair number of non-academic would have seen his name. Books by Churchill were used in a number of undergraduate courses in history, political science, or ethnic studies, but by no means in every such course, or even the majority.
Churchill certainly isn't the "most important American historian" of any such hyperbolic praise... but basically, if I were to have written "the best possible article" about Churchill in January 2005, it would look a lot like the article does right now (obviously, minus the links to the sibling articles). In fact, the actual January 2005 version isn't that much different: a little sketchier, with less complete bibliographic details, and a bit less well written; but basically similar. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 19:33, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Bell on organization

Here's what I think needs to be done to the article to bring it back to a balanced NPOV:

  1. The discussion of the 9/11 controversy can be left in the Ward Churchill (9/11 essay controversy) child article. The bio needs to reference the child article and have a discussion on the 9/11 controvery's effect on Churchill. This is basically what I was able to convince others to do to the Kobe Bryant article which had initially only had two sentences on the rape charges. The 9/11 controversy is a significant event in Churchill's life and it needs to be discussed in this article in that context.
  2. The article needs to include a better discussion of some of the allegations made on the Ward Churchill (misconduct allegations) page—not at the same level of detail, but more than exists now.

The misconduct page includes some credible accusations that challenge many of the claims made in the Churchill bio. While these may have come to light because of Churchill's notoriety surrounding his comments on 9/11, they aren't just improbable theories thrown out for the purpose of dirtying Churchill's name through innuendo. In particular, I think the challenge of Churchill's claim to Indian ancestry has to be considered as truth unless Churchill can refute it, which he has never attempted to do. (In fact, I keep wondering why the {{NorthAmNative}} tag is still on this page—it should be removed unless Churchill is discussed in that WikiProject as an example of someone making false claims of Native American ancestry instead of someone of Native American ancestry.) Because there are credible claims against whether Churchill is the orginial creator of some of his works listed on the bio page, and credible challenges against of Churchill's claims of ancestry, both of which are central to the bio page (and in fact just about all that is left on the bio page), they need to be discussed in more depth on the bio page. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 18:16, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Take a look at the guideline Wikipedia:Summary style. Essentially, WP style mandates about one paragraph of description associated with a link to a sibling or child article. That's exactly how much we have for both links.
How does [the discussion of the 9/11 controversy] differ from the current article, which prominently links to Ward Churchill (9/11 essay controversy), and includes a one paragraph summary of what is in that sibling article?
It's not really particularly important whether an infobox is included. But Churchill wrote many books and articles about Native American issues. Even if every editor on Wikipedia concurred that Churchill definitely has 0% NA ancestry, and Churchill held a press conference stating the same thing, it wouldn't affect the relevance of the infobox. Neither of these things is going to happen, of course, since Churchill probably (like many Americans) has a little bit of NA ancestry, but not a well mapped geneology. The point is that his writing "relates to Native American issues"; the box or category aren't yellow stars forcibly sewed on the lapels of those proven to be racially identified... they're there to group articles of related areas of interest. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 19:43, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Look at the Kobe Bryant article. The details of the rape allegations and trial are in the Katelyn Faber child article. The Kobe Bryant article discusses Bryant's actions related to the allegations and how this incident impacted Bryant. It doesn't discuss the details of the allegation, which is left to the child article. The 9/11 controversy has had a significant impact on Churchill, and he has taken a number of actions in relation to the publicity surrounding the controversy. That information is relevant to the bio and should be discussed here. I'm not talking about repeating everything from the child article, but this event is the reason most people have heard of Churchill and it has had a significant impact on Churchill himself. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Bullet points

Here are some points that I think belong in the bio: – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Resigned chair
  • Churchill resigned as chairman of the Ethnic Studies department as a result of the 9/11 controversy. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, added that. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Glad to see that progress on improving the article is possible despite the fact that we both hold rather different points of view on Churchill. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 22:32, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Witheld teaching award
  • The 9/11 essay controversy article discusses the Teaching Recognition Award that was witheld. However, this award was withheld because of the allegations of plagiarism and research misconduct, not because of the 9/11 essay. The controvery and the misconduct allegations are linked, and I think the place to discuss this is in the bio. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree with the characterization of why the award was withheld, nor find that description even remotely plausible. The award was withheld because of controversy over the essay. Full stop, period, end of story. Even the alumni newsletter (that I receive) makes little effort to claim anything different. But analyzing that is a much longer digression; and whether or not he gets some silly and trivial in-house award is of extremely little importance to Churchill's career overall. A few less votes by students, and it would have simply gone to someone else, and be a non-issue. No one report on the setback to Churchill's career from receiving 5 votes less than someone else for best teacher in 2005, for classrooms of 25-75. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
It's not my characterization, it's in the child article. Can you cite a reference to why the award was witheld? That should probably be included regardless of which article it is discussed in. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 22:32, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I certainly don't read the characterization on the sibling the way you recharacterize it. But even if the award was withheld for the reasons you claim, it's utterly trivial in an academic career. None of the academics I know who won similar awards have it mentioned on their WP articles.
Geez, do you really have to continually try to disparage my comments by assuming bad faith? Here's what it says in the child article:

The University of Colorado Alumni Association, which sponsors the award, announced that they would withhold the award from Churchill until the investigation on the charges that he committed research misconduct had been concluded. Given annually for 44 years, this is the first time the award was withheld from its winner.

Explain how my statement about this sentence from the child article is a "recharacterization", and your strident statement that "the award was withheld because of controversy over the essay" is the true and proper charaterization? I find this particularly bizarre since you added that text to the original article. User:Doug Bell
Your characterization immediately above is: "was withheld because of the allegations of plagiarism and research misconduct". The quote says "until the investigation...". These are not the same, and in the context at issue could hardly be more different. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 02:17, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
You're splitting hairs here. "Because of" indicates cause (that's why it's the root of the word) and the cause stated in the article is the charges of misconduct. Without those charges, there would be no investigation and no reason to withold the award. It's simply a different wording not a rewording, and certainly not a recharacterization, of the statement in the article. It was bad faith on your part to claim that I was adding any characterization to what you wrote in the article. On the otherhand, extrapolating the statement in the article to say that it was "because of controversy over the essay" is making a characterization that is not in the article. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 02:37, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I am not willing to invent facts to put into the article, on the basis of the idea that Doug Bell things they are likely. The alumni association said they are withholding the award until the investigation is complete, not because of plagiarism. There's a reason that the word "cause" is not in the root of "until". As below, this is a talk page, not an article. I would not put my own analysis of events into the article, as you seem to wish to do with your analysis. Why are you even proposing to substitute original research for verifiable content?! Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 03:21, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Invent facts? Proposing to substitute? What are you talking about? I think maybe you need a are starting to extrapolate an awful lot from very little and are bordering on inventing stuff from whole cloth. If the charges of misconduct are the cause of the investigation, and the investigation is the cause of the award being witheld, then saying that the "award was withheld because of the allegations of plagiarism and research misconduct, not because of the 9/11 essay" is not inventing facts nor even recharacterizing the statement. Inventing facts would be, for instance, saying that it was "withheld because of controversy over the essay." There is some causation between the controversy and the award because the allegations came to light after scrutiny resulting from the essay controversy, but making that the cause of the award being witheld is a real stretch, whereas my statement was a simple rephrasing of what the article says with no intent on adding any meaning. The university has pointedly stated that the investigation does not involve the controversy, but is solely focused on the misconduct allegations. Get a grip. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 03:56, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Second, it's not the award, but the withholding of the award that is one of the impacts on Churchill that have resulted from the controversy. I suspect that's why you decided to include it when you created the "new McCarthyism" section. It's the impact on Churchill from the allegations and controversy that is the type of information I'm suggesting should be discussed in the bio. User:Doug Bell
You don't seem to be having a good faith discussion on this issue claiming that I'm recharacterizing your additions to the article and then later stating "None of the academics I know who won similar awards have it mentioned on their WP articles." I mean, why did you add it to the article in the first place if is wasn't for the fact that it was witheld? The fact that it was witheld is what makes it notable, so why the specious argument? – Doug Bell talkcontrib 00:14, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
It's worth including as an example of the efforts at political intimidation, not because it had any effect on Churchill's career. It's pretty self-evident that it doesn't have any effect on his career. But the fact that the alumni association would take such a grandstanding action, despite the lack of effect shows a lot about the political climate of the "9/11 essay controversy". Get it?
Of course, in the extremely unlikely event that you could find some verifiable source that said it actually did have any effect on Churchill's career, that might be worth including in one of the siblings. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 02:17, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
You're not making sense here. The article says nothing about the award being witheld as political intimidation or as grandstanding, nor do the association's statements on the matter make any claim that could be characterized as such. This is a highly POV view, which fortunately is not reflected in the article. The interesting point to me is that you somehow think that your view is the obvious interpretation of the current article. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 02:37, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
WTF? A talk page is not an article! Of course many of the clarifying comments I might make on a talk page are not meant for article content? What conceivable comment are you event trying to make here?! Is it just arguing for the sake of being argumentative? Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 03:21, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
The point I'm making is that making the claim that it is political intimidation is a speculative POV. If the only purpose in including the award in the McCarthy section is to make that point, that is not NPOV. My suggestion about moving the discussion of the award to the bio and discuss it as part of the fallout from the 9/11 essay and allegations of misconduct was simply to include it as an example of these events on Churchill. Maybe it is too small of a thing to mention in the bio. However, the proper place to discuss it then would be the misconduct article, not the essay article. Now that I understand your thinking behind where it is included, I think moving it to the misconduct article is the proper resolution to remove the POV you are trying to make in including it where it is now. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 03:56, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, I moved the discussion on the teaching award to the Ward Churchill (misconduct allegations)#The University of Colorado's Investigation section. We're starting to make some real progress here. :-) – Doug Bell talkcontrib 17:53, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Disputed ancestry
  • The bio doesn't discuss that Churchill claims Native American ancestry, nor that the claim is strongly disputed. Since this claim is relevant both to many of Churchill's academic works as well as his position at the university, I think it needs to be briefly discussed in the bio. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
These claims, such as they are, are utterly unimportant to Churchill's career. It wasn't why he was hired, it's not something he makes any particular point of claiming (apparently he did check some box on some application form), and it has nothing to do with why other faculty use his books in courses. Maybe, at most, there might be a tiny sliver of connection between this and the break-away status of Colorado AIM, but that is a bit of inferential guesswork, and is merely plausible, not known. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Not true. Churchill claims Native American heritage on the front cover of most of books. See Also, he claims in speeches that he is speaking on behalf of all Native Americans, even though most Native Americans do not recognize him as a speaker on their behalf.-- 17:40, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Obviously, in the real world (outside the fantasy of there are not any books by Churchill that contain any claims of NA heritage on their covers. Only an idiot would claim to speak "on behalf of Native Americans" (or likewise, e.g. "on behalf of all Irish people")... Churchill ain't an idiot. But perhaps is confused by remarks such as that by Chief John Ross of the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians who comments on the back of From a Native Son: "Ward Churchill points out the traditional Indian views more than anyone else." Someone who did not know how to read might think that contained some claim about Churchill's own ancestry... of course, John Ross is also not an idiot, so he does not make any such claims. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:18, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Does Churchill's author bio information in any books or papers on Native American issues include this claim? If so, it's not a stretch to assume there is a motivation to use that, at least indirectly, as a credential of authority.
Hmmm... that's an interesting question. I've never seen any bio blurb that claimed Churchill was NA. Certainly not the ZNet or CU pages linked to. And from my recollection, no book covers or article blurbs. But if there was one that did claim that (and it was put there by Churchill, not by some clueless intern), that might be notable. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 23:30, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
What about this statement:

It comes with the fact that I am myself of Muscogee and Creek descent on my father’s side, Cherokee on my mother’s, and am an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

from the article An American Holocaust? The Structure of Denial? I found that after about two minutes of effort since it is linked from the top of the Questioned ethnicity section. The article where Churchill makes the claim was written well after his honorary associate membership with the Keetoowah Band ceased to be recognized on July 9, 1994. Even had his honorary membership still been recognized, the claim of being an enrolled member is false. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 01:57, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm... that does seem like an incorrect claim that Churchill makes in the Socialism and Democracy article. Can you think of a way to turn that into some notable and verifiable fact that would fit into an encyclopedia entry? Whether Churchill is, in fact, of Creek and Cherokee descent is still open, and is almost certainly not verifiable either way. But he was indeed not an enrolled Keetoowah. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 02:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Wow, if you're willing to say it "does seem like an incorrect claim", I guess I could go all the way to saying it "is a false claim". I've added a note to the bio discussing this. That's three down, two to go on my points. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 17:53, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
The addition seems fine. It's a little bit pedantic, but not outside encyclopedic standards. I'm not sure what your count is about... obviously I have nothing against including NPOV content that you propose. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 20:18, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Accused works
  • Since the bio lists all of Churchill's works, I think the bio needs to also indicate which works have been accused of plagiarism or research misconduct. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
The unimportant pamphlet is not listed in the bibliography. I added a note to the one book that seems to be listed that is involved. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Other consequences
  • What other consequences from the 9/11 controversy and misconduct allegations has Churchill experienced? I don't know, it's not my area of expertise, but I assume this has had a huge impact on how Churchill is percieved and where he is asked to speak or not asked to speak as a consequence. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 20:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I think as a whole, he's probably gotten more speaking invitations, but he already received many before that. I suppose psychologically, he's a bit pissed off about some of the rhetoric against him (that seems reflected in some of his quoted comments), but he hasn't had a nervous breakdown over it. I doubt very much it had any particular effect on the use of his books in classrooms, but if you could find a Wikipedia:Reliable sources citation that indicated that, it would be fine to include. And I know he got a bit of a pay cut when he resigned the chair, but from something like $100k to something like $85k/year... so he's not starving either way (nor is he a millionaire... if he lives in Boulder, that only just barely pays a mortgage :-)). Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
There is also the issue that his sabbatical was denied. I suspect that is not all. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 18:18, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I remember hearing something about that. Do you have a source describing it? I think we could add that to the paragraph about his teaching career. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 20:18, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

E-mail correspondence between Churchill & Jim Paine is available at, . As I recall, Churchill described it as a bureaucratic screw-up. Hoosier 03:10, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I had never heard of that blog before just now. But taking a quick look, it seems to be solely a personal blog of (extremist) opinion. So that doesn't really do for WP:RS. Even if they once in a while touch down on some fact, it doesn't look like a source that can be trusted to cite. That said, I do know there is some issue about Churchill's sabbatical that I've seen mentioned as background in some of the newspaper articles I've read over the last few days. I'm really not sure of the details: apparently it has something to do with Churchill thinking courses he's taught in certain semesters should count toward the requirement for sabbatical eligility, and the school either disagreeing or dragging their feet on the approval. What I've seen doesn't make it clear that this has any direct relation to any of the controversy (I think I saw something where Churchill claimed it did, but I can't say whether he's right).
I remember in the department where I did my doctorate there was a lot of rancor between some factions of faculty. One of the upshots of this was this utter pettiness where the graduate program director refused to let one of the faculty on "the other side" schedule a class in a certain room, despite the availability of that room during the class time, sticking to some hypertechnicality about how rooms were assigned. Academics can be very petty at times... but without that pettiness rising to anything of encyclopedic interest. It's not clear to me whether Churchill's sabbatical issue amounts to anything more than this. But maybe it does (citations, citations, citations). Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 05:28, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

This has nothing to do with 9/11...

The line "He examines ... Leonard Peltier, [etc.] ... calling them tools of genocide" OK, I haven't read Indians R Us, but I would be shocked (shocked!) if Churchill is calling Peltier a tool of genocide. I am assuming the line should read something like "the Leonard peltier case" but in any event I haven't read the book, so I won't edit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ethan Mitchell (talkcontribs) 22:26, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Ridiculously short

Does anyone else feel that the various article splits here are unnecessary? It makes the main article ridiculously short (in comparison to other articles) and Ward Churchil has been primarily recognized because of the 9/11 essay controversy and his misconduct allegations (whose articles are also ridiculously short). CJK 21:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)


  • A rule of thumb.

Some useful rules of thumb for splitting articles, and combining small pages (tables, list-like sections and markup excluded):

  • >50KB - Probably should be divided (although the scope of a topic can sometimes justify the added reading time)
  • >30KB - May eventually need to be divided (likelihood goes up with size; this is less critical for lists)
  • >20KB - Might need to be divided
  • <20KB - Probably should not be divided
  • <1K - If an article or list has remained this size for over a couple of months, consider combining it with a related page

On 3 March 2006:

Ward Churchill:                             approx 17k
Ward Churchill (misconduct allegations):    approx 39k
Ward Churchill (9/11 essay controversy):    approx 18k
TOTAL:                                      approx 75k

Including words and lines:

   285    2283   18212 WC_essay_controversy
   258    2203   17372 WC
   638    5062   39009 WC_misconduct
  1181    9548   74593 total

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters (talkcontribs)

Note that these articles have a large number of http links relative to their size. Since the guidelines in WP:SIZE are intended to estimate readable content, not downloadable size, subtracting those sizes yields:

Ward Churchill:                             approx 17k -  2k = 15k  (12%)
Ward Churchill (misconduct allegations):    approx 39k -  6k = 33k  (15%)
Ward Churchill (9/11 essay controversy):    approx 18k -  3k = 15k  (17%)
TOTAL:                                      approx 75k - 11k = 64k

However, also subtracting the references and lists of books/articles (which are for reference, and not typically "read" as part of the article), gives sizes of:

Ward Churchill:                             approx 17k -  8k =  9k  (47%)
Ward Churchill (misconduct allegations):    approx 39k -  8k = 31k  (21%)
Ward Churchill (9/11 essay controversy):    approx 18k -  5k = 13k  (28%)
TOTAL:                                      approx 75k - 21k = 54k

So while I think that combining all of the articles into a single article is not suggested, certainly, the bio and the essay controversy have no issue with WP:SIZE. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 23:09, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Citation templates and proper references

Just FYI: I haven't touched quite everything that needs touching up in terms of full reference information. But the basic stuff I've done so far pushes this page from 17k to 21k. You can do whatever additions or substractions you like based on what you imagine articles "typically" contain in terms of citations and links... but the WP:SIZE guideline doesn't come with such caveats. Oh, this also includes the removal of two or three dead links. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:34, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Where to expand

The size recommendations for articles are not only for "number of words to read". The technical issues of download times, navigation, and editing within an edit window are also part of the recommendation. I'm not struck by this article having a higher density of URLs and references than others I have worked on, though I certainly haven't done a survey of WP averages (let alone by different types of topics: i.e. an academic bio vs. a popular entertainer bio vs. a scientific article vs. a videogame article vs. etc). As a guess, I'd think academic-ish topics have a higher citation density than many other topics. For example, the article MONGO mentioned Glacier retreat, to which he and I were two of about a half-dozen major contributors, most certainly has a considerably higher citation density than do any of the Churchill siblings. Moreover, we refactored that article for precisely the same size reasons, at approximately the same threshold size.

Actually, looking now I see that Glacier retreat is really too large, even with the child/sibling Glacier mass balance spun off. The latter is about the right size. However, this is a known concern in its FA nomination, and MONGO is currently working on refactoring, in his sandbox. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 23:18, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Out of curiosity, I did the same analysis on the Glacial retreat article:

Glacial retreat (just http links):     approx 66k -  5k = 61k  ( 8%)
Glacial retreat (reference section):   approx 66k - 23k = 43k  (35%)

I added percentages to the items above and here. As you can see, all of the Churchill articles have a greater percentage of http links. When taking the entire reference section into account, the Churchill bio article is still quite a bit in the lead, with the Glacial retreat article a solid second ahead of the Churchill sibling articles. Not sure it says much but I thought it was interesting.

What exactly are you measuring here. In the case of the Glacier retreat article, we use the citation templates... so actually, http links should be 0% of the article (did we miss some?). But also, there is a difference between the size of the data as entered in the citation templates, and how it gets rendered as an HTML page for browsers. Which are you looking at?
The templates still contain http links...this is just the total size of the URLs in the file. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 07:49, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
True enough about the URLs still appearing in the templates. FWIW, here's what I get with the latest version of the article. This looks a little bit inconsistent with your numbers (though I am working from a different revision:
% wc Ward_Churchill
   467    2781   21662 Ward_Churchill
% sed "s~http://[+&%.?=_A-Za-z0-9/-]*~~g" < Ward_Churchill | wc
   467    2781   20579
% python -c "print (21662-20579)/21662."
Which is to say, a bit under 5% URLs. For comparison:
% wc Glacier_retreat 
   750    8807   68214 Glacier_retreat
% sed "s~http://[+&%.?=_A-Za-z0-9/-]*~~g" < Glacier_retreat | wc
   750    8805   64271
% python -c "print (68214-64271)/68214."
So I wonder what method you used to add it up. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 09:16, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
I think you are losing part of some of the URLs? The grep pattern I used simply looked for whitespace to end the URL instead of trying to list all of the chars to include. For example, some URLs have commas and # signs. Just a guess. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 12:12, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm... yeah, I might not have the full character set. But I looked through the filtered files also, and did not see anything I missed for these particular files (e.g. a quick search for leftover ".htm" and ".asp" showed nothing). I don't suppose you accidently used a greedy pattern rather than a non greedy one. E.g. "http://.*\s" will grab everything from the URL until the end of its line. I'm pretty sure that if you look at your actual filtered results you'll find that you counted too much as URLs; the percentages you give look much too high. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 19:17, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
No, I only grabbed the URLs. There was probably an extra character or two per URL for line feeds in the output, but I know that other than that the list was accurate. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 21:28, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
In Glacier retreat, URLs are always at the end of a line by themselves, since we always use the reference templates (and use line breaks for readability). In other article, like this one, many URLs are inline, within paragraph text. Your URL list linked above seems to be 4318 bytes; by above count from Glacier retreat is 3943 bytes. But those probably aren't exactly the same revision, and there are the few extra line feeds and spaces here and there in your list. What seems much more divergent is where I add up the Churchill URLs as about 5% of the article, and you get 12% (and even more in the siblings, which I haven't counted yet). That's where I think you might be matching too far. Oh well... it's not that important, I just got curious about these numbers of bytes. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:50, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, never mind, once I count it, it's not that far different from your (just some rounding improvements):
Yeah, there are rounding differences (I just used the K size Windows reported for the files and calculated based on K since there wasn't a moon launch or anything depending on nailing the accuracy), but I don't see how you got "a bit under 5%" using your number. Maybe you had a math error? – Doug Bell talkcontrib 22:55, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Nah... the sizes I give for the main WC article are right. Your debugged version of the URL regex didn't matter for any of the URLs in this particular article. It's 21662 bytes total, and 20579 with URLs removed. So that's a little under 5% as URLs. But it is at 13% for the siblings. A couple of the dead links I removed were absurdly long URLs though (y'know the type, with a huge amount of extra data included in the GET request), so maybe that pushed it down. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 00:39, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
% wc WC_essay_controversy
285    2283   18212 WC_essay_controversy
% sed "s~http://[,#+&%.?=_A-Za-z0-9/-]*~~g" < WC_essay_controversy | wc
285    2283   15835
% python -c "print (18212-15835)/18212."
% wc WC_misconduct
638    5062   39009 WC_misconduct
% sed "s~http://[,#+&%.?=_A-Za-z0-9/-]*~~g" < WC_misconduct | wc
638    5062   33879
% python -c "print (39009-33879)/39009."
I added the characters you mentioned. Looks like right around 13% for both. Once I get around to cleaning out the dead links, that might go down a bit (unless we find replacements that are still live). Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 22:00, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Glad to help debug your "program". – Doug Bell talkcontrib 23:00, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
I've actually been meaning to move all the references in the Churchill articles to citation templates, which are nicer in a number of ways; and also to use full reference footers rather than simple unnamed URLs inline. Doing that will expand the page size a bit, maybe by 10% (which has nothing to do with why I haven't yet undertaken the moderately large project). Partly, I haven't decided which citation style I think is most useful for the Churchill article... probably m:cite.php for this one, even though I thought it was less good for the glacier ones. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 05:42, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

As to the technical issues with WP:SIZE, the guideline doesn't even mention download time (the image sizes will drawf the text on most articles with images) and the other technical issues are only relevant to editing articles on a very limited subset of platforms. For these cases, the limit is 32K, which the guideline doesn't even make as a mandatory limit, so I think that the technical limits are not particularly germain. Also, if you look at some of the discussion on the WP:SIZE talk page, it becomes clear that the guidelines are probably rather dated now since the technical limit of 32K is mostly gone. Given how many featured articles are longer than these recommendations, I'm pretty sure that pedantic adherence to these guidelines is not useful. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 01:19, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, the citations actually take up a lot of the do the images. I wonder if that issue is looked at during FA nominations, but no one seemed to indicate they had a problem with the size of the Glacial retreat article. No doubt, scientific articles by their nature are going to have or at least they should have more citations.--MONGO 01:25, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

How things should be

I figured out why some of the editors' approaches bother me quite so very much. They come from non-academic backgrounds, and fail to understand that academia and scholarship is a topic worth including in an encyclopedia. A common comment has been (roughly): "I never heard of Churchill until I saw him on Fox News, so that (and only that) is his notability." An argument from ignorance, of a classic sort. For those of us who actually earned doctorates in areas like philosophy, sociology, history, political science, and a few other areas that border on the areas where Churchill works, it's infuriating. The subject of this biography is a well known academic, but as with other academic, is known within his area of scholarship, not firstly as a figure of popular culture. A biography of an academic should address their academic work, not schlepp it off as irrelevant once they enter a more popular consciousness. And most academics with notable intellectual careers, whether left-wing, right-wing, or neither, have pretty good, pretty neutral Wikipedia biographies. We don't suddenly lose the obligation to write encyclopedic academic bios as soon as a professor is discussed outside his or her field (whatever the reason).

I looked at an academic bio I would find comparable: Slavoj Zizek. At first brush, it seems to have a larger URL density, and more external references. 'wc' gives it at 3926 words, and 30185 bytes, or 7.7 bytes per word. This bio comes in at 7.8 bytes per word, so actually that's quite close (I'm pretty sure 'wc' will count a URL as one word; though different URLs differ in length of course). But I think the Zizek bio is a pretty good one for an academic. It's a bit longer than Churchill's, but shorter than the hypothetical combined version. Zizek and Churchill are the same age, and have written a similar number of books and articles. Aside from exact length, Zizek's is good in doing a pretty nice job of presenting the thought of Zizek. If Churchill's main bio is to expand that is what should be added, not the conceptually distinct matters of the controversy stemming out of the single essay (most of those issues aren't really academic/intellectual per se, but more broadly political).

The Churchill bio does a moderately good job of explicating the content of his books, many of them having a summary blurb on the topics covered in each book. But I can certainly see room for expansion in that area. This could include criticism, of course, but not of the extrinsic quality of political fights, accusations of treason, plagiarism, blacklisting, and all that stuff. Rather, it might be nice to have a little more on how Churchill's writing actually relates to other historians working in related areas. And with a bit more of that, I think the main bio can easily grow to around 25k in size.... there's actually a little bit that touches on this in the misconduct allegations sibling, but its all with this spin of calling everything fraud, which is not good main bio material. I mean, even assuming that every single plagiarism or fraud accusation ever made is 100% true (even the vast majority dropped from investigation as not substantial), that amounts to a criticism of maybe 2% of everything Churchill has written. The other 98% of his writing has also been read and discussed in academia (and also in popular political fora)... it's just possible that someone might be interested in that 98% of the writing of an academic, not only one noun clause here, or one allegedly plagiarized paragraph there. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 23:51, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

You're working under the incorrect assumption that Churchill is an academic historian. Yes, he is employed as an academic, and he does purport to write history, but his work is not at all relevant within the field of Indian history. While he is widely cited, it is mostly by other ethnic studies professors who find his ethnic grievance polemics attractive.
Churchill does not publish with university presses or in refereed history journals. He is not cited by the mainstream Indian historians who actually do the primary source research that Churchill then cannibalizes and spins into his grievance narrative. Churchill is a fringe figure outside of the radical world of ethnic studies. That said, go ahead and situate him in the appropriate context. But don't describe him as an important American historian, because he is not even close.
I would also note that you don't know the intellectual backgrounds of the various editors, and so you should not disparage their knowledge. Your own claim to having "been an academic" is laughable. Your online cv shows that your academic career consists of having adjuncted four courses while you were a grad student. It's like a guy who once played four innings in a minor leagure baseball game calling himself "a professional baseball player." It may be true in the technical sense, but to construct your identity in terms of a career you failed at is kind of pathetic. The bottom line is that you are in no position to criticize other editors, given your own history with the Churchill articles. I would prefer that you eschew the ad hominem, and focus on learning to construct an intellectual argument based on reason and evidence.Pokey5945 00:14, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
You know, this is good. Not that I agree with it wholeheartedly, but this is a much more appealing way for you to argue your view than most of the exchanges I've had with you. It would be nice if you could refrain from making disparaging comments such as "fail to understand that academia and scholarship is a topic worth including in an encyclopedia" and "an argument from ignorance, of a classic sort" because these types of statements weaken, not strengthen, your argument.
Where I differ somewhat from your take on things is that like it or not, Churchill is no longer just an academic. He has stepped into political and "popular culture" and you cannot separate this from a bio on Churchill. I mean, how would you react if I suggested we create the sibling article Ward Churchill (academic works)? The bio needs to focus on the man and what about him is notable. That said, I have not once pushed to overwhelm and push aside the discussion of his notable academic achievements. What I am looking for is more balance in his bio that recognizes that he is not simply an academic anymore, but also a polarizing figure in popular culture.
So here's my take on "how things should be done," and hopefully, you will see that we are not really so far apart afterall. Leave the child (or sibling, as you seem to prefer) articles separate. Include a more detailed summary of the sibling articles in the main article. I'm not talking about pulling in all the detail and references, in fact not most of it, but what is in the bio currently is hardly a comprehensive summary of the child articles. Included in the summary of the 9/11 controversy should be a discussion of Churchill's role as a polarizing figure and rally point for both the left and right of the political spectrum. I would discuss Churchill's defiance in the face of the firestorm and the fallout that he has experienced. This fallout includes bringing to light (new light in some cases, renewed light in others) most of what is discussed in the misconduct allegations article. Discuss the popular culture and political aspects of Churchill in this manner, but again, at a higher level than it is discussed in the child articles.
Yeah... that sounds fine to add. Actually, your paragraph right here basically just needs to modified slightly in tone, and it should work fine. Just to keep in mind that Wikipedia summary style indicates no more than a couple paragraphs introducing a related topic. But now we have only one fairly short paragraph introducing each child/sibling (yeah, I'm not sure which term is better for these related pages). So expanding that to two paragraphs of explanation should be very reasonable. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 03:20, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Go look again at the Kobe Bryant article. I think a section roughly equivelant to the sexual assult allegations in that article should be able to discuss these issues, leaving plenty of space in the article for a detailed examination of Churchill's academic career. If you notice, by facing the issue head on, the rest of the Bryant article is able to discuss his basketball career relatively unencumbered by peppering it with references to the scandal.
Give it some thought. As with the Bryant article, I am hoping to achieve a more balanced article not through warring or even through writing it myself (as I don't feel qualified for the most part), but rather through convincing the "guardians" of the article to do it themselves. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 02:43, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
The notion the Ward Churchill should have an entry comparable to other distinguished individuals working in parallel fields is ridiculous and betrays a clear personal bias. Let’s say tomorrow I inflame public opinion with a well-publicized controversial essay. Would I then be worthy of a wikipedia entry of similar scope and treatment as George Andrew Olah, simply because we are both PhDs with similar research? Folks will be coming here to learn about Ward Churchill because of his controversial essay. Of course it’s appropriate to list publications and otherwise flesh out the trivia of Mr. Churchill’s bio. But this entry would still be ‘Native American scholar and activist: stub’ sans “chickens”; the current entry should reflect that.Pigwiggle

Little Eichmanns?

He calls the people who were killed on 9/11 little eichmanns? This is a seriously evil man. What if your own mother was killed in 9/11. Would you label her a 'little eichmann'? Only the young 18:53, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

moving the Treason section

The treason section is currently in the misconduct allegations page. It should be moved to the McCarthyism page instead, where this type of discussion is more relevant. Thoughts?Pokey5945 00:33, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. It's (a) not related to the misconduct allegations, and (b) is related to the 9/11 essay controversy, so it at least should move to that article. Whether it should be part of the McCarthyism section or not is debatable, but it should be moved to the controversy article. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 02:32, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I can go along with that. Except I think that not directly as a subsection of McCarthyism, but rather another heading at the same level as the teaching award. It would have the advantage of making the "misconduct allegations" a little bit shorter, and the "9/11 essay controversy" a little bit longer, bringing them closer to the same length. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 03:05, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

World can't wait

An anon editor inserted the following material:

Churchill has signed the Call of the antifascist group The World Can't Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime. [2] The statement condemns the Iraq war, torture, the abrogation of habeas corpus, theocracy, the suppression of science, the attacks on abortion rights, and "a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance." It advocates resistance to, and repudiation of, the Bush agenda.

Maxrspct reverted it with an "rvv" edit comment. While I tend to agree that this is extraneous material, probably by a proponent of the particular petition, it doesn't seem to be actual vandalism. This signatory minimally speaks to Churchill's activism. Given he's probably signed hundreds of similar statements, it's probably not important, but I thought I'd put it here to give editors a chance to argue for its inclusion, if they are so inclined. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 17:14, 6 March 2006 (UTC)


I came across something relevant to the question of whether Churchill belongs in this category; I wasn't sure if I should disinter the archived discussion or not.

Below is a quote from the last footnote to Churchill's essay in Pacifism as Pathology. After quoting Isaac Deutscher on the need (of Marxists) to use violence in order to put an end to violence, Churchill adds:

"Although myself strongly anti-marxist in my political perspectives and practice, I must admit that on these points I wholeheartedly concur with the views expressed." (emphasis mine) —Morning star 18:07, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm... I don't feel strongly about the category. I guess I wish the category were "Marxism" rather than "Marxists"; Churchill certainly wrote about Marxism (especially earlier in his academic career), which is what motivates me to like the category on the page. But at the same time, Churchill is definitely not himself a Marxist. If you want to remove the category, Morning star, I will defer to your judgement on it. Maybe I'll propose a category rename, and if that passes, an inclusion in Category:Marxism should be less questionable. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:22, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I can see the logic of his inclusion in the category, the problem is the overspecifity of it. The challenge is finding a term to describe Churchill's political position that is neither too general, nor too unquantifiable in the context of an encyclopedia (like Category:Progressive revolutionary liberationists). To address his relevance to the subject, perhaps a new category is needed, something like Category:Scholars of MarxismMorning star 05:38, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I like the "Scholars of Marxism" idea. I guess I'll implement it and move a few names there. If you'd like to help me locate some more to help populate the category, that would be great. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:08, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Category: Impostors

Why the revert? Churchill meets any reasonable definition of an Indian impostor. His genealogy does not contain a single Cherokee, or even a single non-white ancestor. Please justify the revert.Pokey5945 00:11, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

That is POV. It hasn't been proved or disproved.. if that is even possible. If Ward Churchill says he is of native american-indian blood.. and he is one of the best known amerindian scholars... and he has been in the AIM movement for decades... It's enough to exclude from that category. Controversy yes but imposter.. that would be judging him on wikipedia - POV. As his employer (University of Colorado) says: "Further, it has always been university policy that a person's race or ethnicity is self-proving." -- max rspct leave a message 00:16, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
The fact that Churchill makes an identity claim is hardly enough to exclude him from the impostor category--false identity claims are the very essence of being an impostor. If it is POV to label someone an impostor, then why does the Wikipedia impostor category exist, and why are so many people in it? The fact is that impostors do exist, and it is possible to prove that they are impostors. Your argument above is with the existence of the impostor category. You haven't substantiated an argument for excluding Churchill from that category. The university's official policy is just one position. There are many Indian activists who take a different position. Finally, CHurchill's genealogy has been proved by a number of researchers, and published in two separate newspapers. Pokey5945 00:23, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I know you've asked me to assume good faith, Pokey5945, but malicious vandalism of the page doesn't win you a lot of points in that regard. This absurd "commentary-by-categorization" doesn't even come close to passing the "smell test". You have to assume about a half-dozen unevidenced and unlikely things even to make sense of the claim, and even then it's not a proper category. Perhaps the category would fit better on your user page, since you're trying to impersonate a NPOV editor. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 00:40, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm disappointed that you won't live up to your pledge.Pokey5945 00:50, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I have, and I will. But vandalism is simply contrary to WP policy; it doesn't become allowed under some tortured misreading of something I wrote. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 03:04, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
An edit does not constitute vandalism simply because you disagree with it. I have not entered into a revert war, and I am here debating the issue in good faith.Pokey5945 05:02, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
It would obviously be taking a side. Whats making an "identity claim"? Do US citizens have to prove their ethnic identity before they can identify with it? That the categ exists is not a reason to put him in it. There is no consensus in massmedia or authoritive sources (court verdict/academic judgment) that would support adding him to that Cat. In the wikipedian sense >"Innocent till proven guilty" People have accused him of being an imposter.. . Allegations can go on page and the extention articles - but u know they are there already. -- max rspct leave a message 00:38, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that categorization is taking a side, but it is the side that all of the evidence falls on. There is no evidence of any Indian ancestry. He has been proven guilty of claiming ancestry he doesn't have. The fact that a court has not spoken does not mean that the topic cannot be addressed in Wikipedia. It's unlikely that a court will ever speak on Churchill's ancestry. Certainly most of the people in the Wikipedia impostor category have never been so labeled by a court verdict. There is, however, consensus in the mass media. All of the major news organs that have addressed the issue have failed to find any Indian ancestry for Churchill, and that includes not only the two Denver papers, but also the two national Indian newspapers. Once again, the category exists precisely for individuals like Churchill. Your argument is with the existence of the category.Pokey5945 00:50, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
You want us to extrapolate out and debate and judge W.Churchill on wikipedia? I expect that no paper is calling him an imposter. Wikipedia is not here to judge ethnicity, especially when it is controversial. You want to judge his ultimate ethnicity on here? Geneology by just name is not 'proof' ....same goes for blood quantum tests etc. That would be racist. Stop disrupting - u know that cat is out of the question.-- max rspct leave a message 01:01, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, yes, several newspapers have called Churchill an impostor, although they may not have used that precise word. But that word is the Wikipedia category that best fits. If genealogy is not "proof," then what would constitute proof? Churchill fits precisely into the category as it currently exists on Wikipedia. You cannot evade a debate on this issue by labeling me "disruptive." This is a legitimate issue for discussion, as evidenced by the fact that the category for Native American impostors already exists and is well-stocked with people much like Churchill. For example, see the article on Iron Eyes Cody. One newspaper outed him as an Indian impostor, and he denied it. Four newspapers have outed Churchill as an impostor. Pokey5945 01:09, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
So the use of the term imposter is original research by Pokey5945, pure and simple, huh? Even the anti-Churchill rags that published reports list a large share of Churchill's ancestor's as "unknown ethnicity". Unknown doesn't mean "white" (which is how many other of his ancestors are identified)... it means unknown. So the very most ideological sources possible to locate leave the question of Churchill's ethnicity as "we don't know". Moreover, it is really, really, really difficult to find any claim by Churchill to anything specific enough to be called impersonation. He vaguely alludes to some unknown number of Indian ancestors. You might be able to get Category:People who have been mistaken out of this, but even that is probably POV. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 03:04, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
What would it take for you to accept the category of Indian impostor? It would be difficult to find a more clear-cut case than Churchill. Churchill has specifically claimed that his Cherokee ancestor was Joshua Tyner, but Tyner was always listed as white on all of his records. When Churchill was challenged back in the early 1990s, he gave the names of people on Cherokee rolls who he himself is not descended from, in an attempt to mislead. Also, I think your statement about a large share of Churchill's ancestors being of unknown ethnicity is incorrect. Can you substantiate this? The published genealogies I saw had racial IDs from census records going back four or more generations. Finally, the onus is on Churchill to subtantiate his claims to Cherokee ancestry. He has never doen so, for the obvious reason that he cannot. Again, what evidence would you require?Pokey5945 05:00, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
This discussion is certainly absurd to the point of being a direct insult against me and other editors of this page. According to the resource that you yourself added, Pokey5945[3], 2 of Churchill's 8 great-grandparents are listed as "race unknown" (the other 6 as "white"). FWIW, your source also lists Tyner as "race unknown". This is according to the most "incriminating" evidence the RMN can manage to dig up. Churchill himself, in every single statement he's made, has said "I am less than 1/4 Indian". And NO there is no "onus" on Churchill to substantiate anything: he never received any concrete benefit related in any way to any claim of Indian ancestry, and those claims he made were always circumspect and incidental.
Likewise, it's quite possible also that Churchill, at some point in his romantic life, claimed to have a bigger penis than he actually does... which has about as much to do with him being an "imposter" as this ridiculous Indian kerfuffle. Hell, you should probably go edit my bio to include me as an "imposter" on the same sort of grounds: I think I've overstated the number of words in my book in casual conversation; I've been a little bit loose in describing my expected income on loan applications; I've even been a little overconfident about my experience in some job interviews. Oh the shame. Oh the horror. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:41, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
The chart you linked to is from the Denver Post, not the RMN. Those people the Post listed as "race unknown" are documentable on census records. The RMN did a more thorough job of research. If you look at the RMN story, it states quite clearly that Joshua Tyner is listed as white on all census and other records, as are the others. The other relevant issue here is that Churchill has repeatedly claimed in his speeches and writing to be a member of the Keetowah tribe, even though he has never been enrolled, and even though his honorary membership was revoked in 1994. That is patently dishonest on Churchill's part. In short, there is no basis for Churchill to claim being a Cherokee beyond his unsupportable family story about one drop of Indian blood. What is the difference between Churchill and the other Indian impostors categorized as such on Wikipedia, such as Iron Eyes Cody, Long Lance, or Grey Owl?Pokey5945 23:32, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Problems with records of "passing"

There is a serious problem with just looking at census records to determine someone's far as it goes in the U.S., people of very light skin complexion of either african or indian ancestry oftentimes would not claim their minority status in the U.S. prior to the 1960's...the reason should be self was economically advantageous to be white, (still is today of course) and parents of mixed race offspring would oftentimes label their child as white. It didn't become "fashionable" to be black or indian until relatively recently in U.S. history due to the latent bigotry that was so pervasive in American society. That Churchills greats or grands would not call themselves indian is no surprise. I myself have been told I have Cherokee ancestry...though I can't prove it. A number of actors claim native ancestry as well, Kevin Costner comes to mind. The Cherokee nation may not recognize Ward's claim, but as the Univ. of Colorado has stated, race need only be "self-proving". In light of Ward's other contributions to Native American efforts, he doesn't really deserve to be villified for not being able to completely substaniate his claims.--MONGO 08:06, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

You seem to be arguing that Churchill could conceivably have one drop of Indian blood--even though there is no evidence for this--and that one drop of blood would somehow make him a Cherokee.Pokey5945 23:32, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
No, I'm not saying that...I'm saying tthat his ancestry may be based on common knowledge he has, just as my ancestry is. Read what I wrote. It was common prior to relatively recently for some to list themselves on censuses as being white for numerous reasons. There is no such thing as one drop of blood to determine ethnicity...I haven't looked it up, but most tribes demand at least an 1/8 proven ancestry or more to become members of the tribe I believe. I have been told that my greatgrandfather was 1/2, which means I am 1/16 Pamunkey as an guess is that Churchill is at least this much, and though this may not qualify him for status in the indian nation as an indian, it doesn't mean he has lied about his ethnicity...maybe exagerrated a bit about the precentage.--MONGO 09:55, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Ethnicity means culture, not a distant drop of blood. CHurchill is not culturally Cherokee. He was not raised in a Cherokee community and has never lived in one. His family members are white people who believe they have a distant drop of Indian ancestry. For another example: take David Mertz, who has German ancestry. It would be dishonest for him to go around calling himself a German citizen, or claiming that he is an ethnic German. And if he used his German imposture and then took over the leadership of a German political party, that would be beyond the pale. This is Churchill's offense.Pokey5945 05:16, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Who said David Mertz has German ancestry? I mean, it's fascinating for Pokey5945 to be so interested in my geneology, but I never claimed to have German ancestry myself. FWIW, "Mertz" is my dad's step-father's name (his "dad" from childhood). So in terms of some racialist theory of blood quanta and "ethnic taint", I suppose I don't have a provable "drop of German blood" (well, maybe I do, but it's not from my father's biological father). On the other hand, I could probably obtain German citizenship if I really wanted to (not sure what the requirements are, but most nations allow people to acquire citizenship). Were I to do so, I'm not sure what would be so terrible about me obtaining leadership in a political party. Is this supposed to be some allusion to Hitler? To Schwarzeneggar? Angela Merkel? I suppose pursuing this kind of line we should also label Shania Twain an imposter since only her adoptive father is Ojibwa, and she dares call hereself "Shania" despite lacking that "racial blood". Why are we going off on this eugenics discourse of racial bio-determinism, exactly?! Certainly even honorary membership in the UKB is a pretty darn strong indicator of cultural identity, as are many of Churchill's actions and writing going back at least to the 1970s. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:47, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Mertz is just an example. Use the name Pokey Hitler if you prefer. The argument is the same. It is true that many nations allow outsiders to acquire citizenship, and citizenship is a prerequisite for claiming the political rights of citizens of that nation. Again, you are focusing on the blood aspect, when what offends real Indians is white people who present themselves as Indians without bothering to become citizens of the nation they falsely claim. That is Churchill's offense. If he only said he was of Indian descent, no one would object. When he claims to actually _be_ a tribal Indian, and engages in Indian politics, then he is usurping rights that do not belong to him. That gets real Indians extremely angry.Pokey5945 07:04, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Are you suddenly claiming now that Churchill ran for UKB tribal office? It's a pretty perverse notion of "politics" that prohibits non-citizens from writing a book about a nation or its history (or indeed about its politics). Or even a broadsheet, for that matter. I'm not allowed to write a book about German politics until I prove that blood quantum and/or obtain citizenship?! Oy vey.
Give the "real Indians" crap a break, please! I have no idea if you might have a tribal membership (it's possible; my hunch is probably not), but you sure as heck don't speak for "real Indians" as some phantasmic general category (at most you speak for one). It's one heck of a lot more offensive than anything Churchill may have done in his life. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:22, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Churchill is deeply involved in Indian politics, and has "held office" in a number of Indian political organizations, including a splinter faction of AIM most notably. He could not run for office in the UKB because he is not a citizen of that nation. I have not claimed to speak for real Indians. I only claim to know what the general consensus is in Indian Country about white wannabes, and I've tried to educate you on this topic. Churchill, on the other hand, is constantly usurping the right to speak on behalf of Indians. That is one reason why he is so widely detested in Indian Country. The category of enrolled Indians is hardly "phantasmic." It's as empirical as you can get. Either you're a citizen or you're not. Get to know some of these people, and ask them what they think.Pokey5945 07:30, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
"You've tried to educate me"! Give me a break! The whole story is that you don't like Churchill because of his politics, and are playing this big charade about "Indian identity" to try to pretend it's something different from that. I was just thinking though: you seem to be from Colorado, and so worried about "imposters"... maybe you could contribute something to Ben Nighthorse Campbell's article. There's someone who actually did use Indian "authenticity" for political advantage, after growing up on the Sacramento "rez". Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters
I have more in common with Churchill, on substantive political issues, than I do differences. Once again you are reverting to your ad hominem habit, which you promised not to do anymore, and you're not even close to being accurate. Some of us are able to distinguish our political viewpoints from other aspects of life. I will not support a person's despicable behavior just because I agree with his politics. And I can be on friendly terms with people who disagree with me, as long as they are decent human beings. It's disappointing that so few people are able to do that. Life would be a lot better if folks wouldn't assume that those who disagree with you are automatically evil and depraved.Pokey5945 06:14, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, me too, FWIW. Family lore for me likewise suggests I have some great-great... who is Cherokee (I even know a name, and I think my dad knows the geneology sequence). It's interesting that the Cherokee tribal group is particularly commonly identified as alleged ancestry of "White Americans". Part of it is probably accurate, given the history of the Trail of tears in which geographic relocation was no-doubt associated with more occassions of intermarriage (or just inter-group sex); but some of it has entered American culture is a somewhat folkloric way. I suppose if my something-grandmother "Frankie Kitchen" isn't really Cherokee, that will be yet another reason to list Category:Impostors in my bio (even though I've only occasionally mentioned this claim in dinner-table chats with acquaintances). As MONGO notes, there has for a long time been a lot of pressure and motivation to "pass" as white among people of non-European descent in the US, avoiding Jim Crow (or even outright slavery not all that far back), BIA oppressiveness, lynching, economic discrimination, and lots of consequences of racism. It's interesting that both that Tyner and his wife who are Churchill's great-great-...-whatever are listed as "race unknown" in the RMN records... but their child is listed as "white". Hardly a sure thing, but that looks like an awfully good suggestion of "passing". Hmmm... I wonder if all the bios of people who "pass" (or whose ancestors did) should be called "imposters" on that basis. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 08:34, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
There is much evidence to suggest that Churchill's claim to Native ancestry is a fabrication, including that there is absolutely no record of him ever acknowledging such ancestry prior to his application for job where Native blood would increase his hiring chances. Indeed, he was on the record stating that the same ancestors he now claims to be Native were white. The "Native American Impostors" category seems to have been handmade for him. Even if you find the geneology evidence too convoluted, the fact that he repeatedly and falsely claimed to be a member of the Keetowah tribe, a fact which is unquestionably verifiable, should warrant his inclusion in this category. Also, I notice the inclusion of the Native American Writers and Native American Activists categories. If making a definitive statement on his ancestry is POV, then those categories shouldn't be there either. TheKaplan 02:52, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that Churchill qualifies as an impostor, but you overstate the case and make a few errors of fact. He inherited the family myth that his distant ancestor Joshua Tyner was a Cherokee. He didn't invent that. He was claiming to be a Cherokee artist as early as 1975, before he went to Boulder. But by 1994 he had published a book criticizing white people who appropriate an Indian identity, and he knew that there was no documentary evidence that Joshua Tyner was anything but white. But this is all a little ticky-tacky. Even if Joshua Tyner was an Indian, that would not make Churchill a Cherokee in any meaningful way. It would just make him a white man with a distant Indian ancestor. I agree with you that Churchill's main imposture is falsely presenting himself as a member of the Keetowah tribe, and that this alone qualifies him for inclusion in the impostor category.Pokey5945 05:11, 15 March 2006 (UTC)