Cherokee band denies Churchill's a member

May 18, 2005 at 1:34 PM

DENVER, May 18 (UPI) -- The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians denies a controversial University of Colorado professor is a member of the Oklahoma-based tribe.

CU officials are investigating Ward Churchill's claim of Indian heritage and other issues, the Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.

Chief George Wickliffe posted on the tribe's Web site:

"The United Keetoowah Band would like to make it clear that Mr. Churchill IS NOT a member of the Keetoowah Band and was only given an honorary 'associate membership' in the early 1990s because he could not prove any Cherokee ancestry."

The tribe's statement notes it stopped granting associate memberships shortly after Churchill.

Churchill's attorney said the report submitted Monday to CU officials contained "conclusive proof" of his Indian status, including his tribal membership card and a videotape of his induction ceremony.

Churchill sparked controversy earlier this year with an essay likening some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center to Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

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