by Ward Churchill
Wielding Words Like Weapons is a collection of acclaimed American Indian Movement activist-intellectual Ward Churchill's essays on indigenism, selected from material written during the decade 1995-2005.
Beginning with a foreword by Seneca historian Barbara Alice Mann describing sustained efforts by police and intelligence agencies as well as university administrators and other academic adversaries to discredit or otherwise "neutralize" both the man and his work, the book includes material illustrating the range of formats Churchill has adopted in stating his case, from sharply framed book reviews and review essays, to equally pointed polemics and op-eds, and formal essays designed to reach both scholarly and popular audiences.
The items selected, several of them previously unpublished, also reflect the broad range of topics addressed in Churchill's scholarship, from the fallacies of archeological/anthropological orthodoxy like the Bering Strait migration hypothesis and the insistence of "cannibologists" that American Indians were traditionally man-eaters, to cinematic degradations of native people by Hollywood, the historical and ongoing genocide of North America's native peoples, questions of American Indian identity, and the systematic distortion of political and legal history by reactionary scholars as a means of denying the realities of U.S.-Indian relations.
Also included are both the initial "stream-of-consciousness" version of Churchill's famous--or notorious--"little Eichmanns" opinion piece analyzing the causes of the attacks on 9/11, as well as the counterpart essay in which his argument was fully developed and garnered honorable mention for the 2004 Gustavus Myers Award for best writing on human rights. Less typical of Churchill's oeuvre is an essay commemorating the passing of Cherokee anthropologist Robert K. Thomas, and another on that of Yankton Sioux legal scholar and theologian Vine Deloria Jr., to each of whom he acknowledges a deep intellectual debt. More unusual still is his moving and profoundly personal effort to come to grips with the life and death of his late wife, Leah Renae Kelly, thereby illuminating in very human terms the grim and lasting effects of Canada's residential schools upon the country's indigenous peoples.
"This is insurgent intellectual work--breaking new ground, forging new paths, engaging us in critical resistance." --bell hooks
"An important contribution that merits careful reflection, and an implicit call to action that should not be ignored." --Noam Chomsky
"Compellingly original, with the powerful eloquence and breadth of knowledge we have come to expect from Churchill's writing." --Howard Zinn