Colorado AIM Press Release
1 FEBRUARY 2005
THE AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT (AIM) OF COLORADO CONFIRMS ITS SUPPORT OF WARD CHURCHILL AS A MEMBER OF OUR LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
COLORADO AIM CONDEMNS RACIST ATTACKS AGAINST CHURCHILL
Dr. Tink Tinker (303) 229-7756 – Elder’s Council representative
Colorado AIM – 303-871-0463
The Elder’s Council and the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado confirm our support for Ward Churchill as a member of our chapter, and as a member of the Leadership Council of Colorado AIM. Colorado AIM further condemns the transparent, racist attacks against Churchill by those who seek to silence alternative voices. While Churchill’s particular statements about events of September 11, 2001 were his personal views, his broader critical analysis of U.S. domestic and foreign policy is consistent with Colorado AIM’s perspective.
Colorado AIM is one of the largest and most active AIM chapters in the United States. Our strength, power and authority springs from our spirituality, from the example of our ancestors, and from the members of our community who embrace our principles.
We neither recognize, nor do we accept, the dictates of any person or persons who pretend to speak for us. Any person or entity that purports to speak on behalf of Colorado AIM other than our Elder’s Council or the Leadership Council, is being dishonest. Each AIM chapter is independent and autonomous, and our authority emerges from the voice of the people in our community, and we support Ward Churchill.
Ward Churchill has been an important member and leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado since at least 1984. His analysis of U.S. law and policy has been an essential tool in educating both indigenous and non-indigenous people on the history and the current circumstances of native peoples in the Americas. Ward has been tireless in his defense of indigenous peoples’ aspirations for freedom and justice around the world, and we applaud him for his numerous contributions.
Colorado AIM is painfully familiar with racist attacks against our movement, and against individuals in our movement, of which this is simply the most recent. We do not have to agree with every statement, or with every position that members of our chapter take in order to rally to their support when they are subject to an unprincipled, anti-Indian lynch mobs.
Churchill is not under attack because of a couple of statements that he made about the events of September 11, 2001. He is under attack because he has exposed the pain and the suffering caused by U.S. domestic and foreign policy. He does so without apology, and from the perspective of an indigenous scholar. He is under attack by racists who would prefer to silence indigenous voices altogether, and who would erase the history of indigenous peoples from the memory of the Western Hemisphere.
Our view of Ward Churchill is not through the lens of a few sentences taken out of context for calculated purposes. Our view is of an indigenous man who has devoted decades of his life to the defense of indigenous peoples’ self-determination and freedom.
The fact is not lost on us that the attacks on Churchill began immediately after the acquittal of him and others in the Columbus Day trials in Denver. Colorado AIM is proud of the actions of Churchill and the other Columbus Day resisters. We will continue our efforts to remove the slave-trading, Indian killer Columbus as a national hero, and we will continue with our numerous other initiatives to promote indigenous peoples’ freedom.
We are especially mindful of Governor Bill Owens’ hypocritical statements condemning Churchill. By making such statements, Owens takes his place along side other racist governors such as John Evans, one of the main instigators of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. Just this past fall, Owens had the audacity to refer to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people as “blackmailers” and “extortionists” for their economic development plan in Colorado. Now, he is attacking one of the few tenured American Indian professors in the state, using such McCarthyist claims that Churchill is “un-American” and a “terrorist defender.” Owens should immediately apologize to Churchill, and should keep his uniformed and ignorant statements to himself.
We also call on the Board of Regents for the University of Colorado to respect their own rules on academic freedom, and to affirm Ward Churchill’s right to speak openly and freely as a scholar and a freethinker, and to continue his duties as one of the few indigenous academics in the University of Colorado system.