by D. M. Cobb
This volume collects 16 essays published between 1995 and 2005 by Ward Churchill, a controversial activist-intellectual and former faculty member in American Indian studies at the University of Colorado. Featured are original and extended versions of his most well-known pieces, here entitled “The Ghosts of 9-1-1” and “Some People Push Back,” but recognized foremost as “the little Eichmanns” essays. While the inclusion of four book reviews might be questioned, Churchill’s pieces on Cherokee anthropologist Robert K. Thomas, Standing Rock Sioux luminary Vine Deloria, Jr., and the tragic passing of his wife, Leah Renae Kelly, reward careful rumination. So, too, do his incisive evaluations of the Indian Claims Commission, U.S. violations of the very laws of war it drafted, colonialism, international law, and genocide. “In the Spirit of Gunga Din” provides readers with Churchill’s rebuttal to the grounds on which the integrity of his scholarship was called into question and that ultimately led to his dismissal from the University of Colorado in 2007. When confronted with polemicists around whom such fiery debate has raged, it is always best to read them in their own words. Such is the case with Ward Churchill.