Surfing the net, I happened upon the “Ward Churchill is a Fraud” site. But what I found was lovely rather than angry. The academy’s narrow partisanship and emphasis upon factionalism chills, but this warms. The specifics were original, the generous sentiment not:
To know the response of Indian country to the 9/11 tragedies is to reflect on the humanitarianism shown by Eastern Native communities: from the Mohawk to the Oneida, the Pequot, Mohegan and many others who immediately put their people – ironworkers, ferry-boat crews and medical personnel – into the rescue and recovery operations, to the California Indian nations that expressed their solidarity with America and donated generously to the rescue efforts, to the Lakota families who brought their Sacred Pipe to pray at the site, leaving their quiet offerings early one dawn.
This is always the preferred way of human beings – to understand the kind of empathy required to belong to the human race is essential in all political and economic discourse.
This sense of the universal and acts of a generous spirit are not created by education, but a wise heart. However, appreciating our relation to others – separated by time and space but bonded by our common humanity – is the purpose of the disciplines that today have most betrayed that tradition. That study (as Newman noted) doesn’t give us a kind heart but does help us understand it. And our art – the art that lasts – celebrates the universal, the human. That is why they are very, very important. But also why they are strong – they will survive the petty betrayals of our time.