Oklahoma Tribe, Embattled CU Prof Dispute Claims About Indian Ancestry
DENVER -- An Oklahoma Indian tribe says an embattled University of Colorado professor whose claim of Indian heritage is under investigation "could not prove any Cherokee ancestry."
In a statement on its Web site, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians said it gave Ward Churchill an "honorary associate membership" because he promised to write a tribal history.
Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies who could lose his job over allegations that he lied about his ancestry and plagiarized others' work, said Wednesday the tribe's statements are false.
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Churchill said the United Keetowahs' membership committee twice confirmed he has Cherokee ancestors before he was made an associate member, and that he was given a tribal roll number, R7627.
Churchill said tribal officials told him an associate membership was not honorary and that it required Cherokee ancestry. He said the tribe has a right to disenroll him or ask him to resign, but that it hasn't done so.
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