Churchill, Ward

Churchill, Ward (1947– ) – A Creek/Cherokee Métis (part Native American) and professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado. A prolific author about Native American issues, especially in relation to Euro-Americans, Churchill is a fierce critic of “white shamanism” as taught by “plastic medicine people” to “wannabe Indians” (a practice he also labels “spiritual hucksterism”). He sees the appropriation of Native American religious traditions and identities as a form of intellectual or spiritual theft parallel to that of the taking of the Black Hills and its gold in the late 19th century. Churchill’s books, especially Fantasies of the Master Race (1992) and Indians Are Us? (1994), have provided much of the terminology used by opponents of “appropriation” by neo-shamans. His criticism of such practices and groups should be read in the context of his wider critique of U.S. hegemony and continuing colonialism.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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