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[Commentary by Dr. John Anderson]

August 2003

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This web page features an article published in a Swedish journal of anthropology, by a critic of my research.

I encourage readers to examine this publication in some detail. It is an informative text for readers trying to understand causes for the dysfunctional relationship between the academic community and the Chumash Indians of California!

In 2002, Dr. Brian Haley published a scathing article criticizing my recent Chumash publications along with those of Theo Radic'who is an American intellectual living in Sweden.

This commentary appeared in ACTA Americana, a Swedish journal featuring research on Native American studies [Vol.10, No.1, 2002]. Haley's text is so caustic and uninformed that I can only describe it as a disservice not only to himself but also to the his many affiliated colleages.


It is an ancient axiom of debate that when you can't refute the argument of an opponent, attack the character or credentials of the speaker. Haley adopts this strategy as a kingpin of his article, dismissing both Theo Radic' and myself as only "laypersons" whose opinions should be dismissed by credentialed academics like himself.

Although I have a M.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in Educational Policies Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison [speciality in epistemology and ethics], Haley urges readers of this journal to dismiss me as "another layperson who lends a misleading air of scholarly authority to his self-published ethnohistory and mythology booklets by placing "Dr." in front of his name." (page 113) Hmmm?

Haley is even less generous to Theo Radic', who does not have a Ph.D although he is an admirable intellectual and the author of a number of excellent books, some of which touch on contemporary Chumash social issues. Radic's sin is that he published a previous article in the Acta Americana journal, which was highly critical of Haley and his colleagues. Radic's most grevious long-term offense, moreover, may have been that his earlier writings found fault with staff members from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Haley goes so far as to make the strange claim that Radic' never read the works of the scholars he criticizes. "Suffice it [sic] to say," Haley argues, "that Radic' has not actually read any of the works of the scholars he criticizes." (page 113) This is a silly claim, which adds nothing to the debate and only brings Haley's objectivity into question.

Probing Questions - Haley charges falsely that Radic demands "that no one ask probing questions" (114) concerning the history and ethnicity of contemporary Chumash groups. Anyone who has read Radic's recent books could not rationally make such a claim. Probling questions characterize this man's writings, and I have never found Radic' unwilling to examine the complexity of the issues facing those studying contemporary Chumash groups.

Yet towards the end of his article Dr. Haley dismisses Radic's commentary as nothing more than "gossip and propaganda " (120). Once again, the reader is faced with extreme conclusions dismissive of real debate.

No Credibility Haley charges: "To the best of my knowledge, Anderson has no credibility as a scholar among Chumash specialists" (121; footnote 2).

No-Peer Review - Haley reports falsely that my books have been published "witout peer review" (121; footnote 2). The scholars who positively reviewed my books, as well as the Chumash elders who wrote positive reviews, will be amazed to be dismissed as non-existent. See Fox Jumps for two examples of scholarly reviews of my books. See Allesio for my correspondence with a British scholar, concerning demonizing the Chumash on television. See Khus for positive commentary by the Chumash historian Mike Khus (M.A. in history, Stanford University). See Moon and Frogfor more examples of Chumash reviews of my writings.

The remarks by Rev. Scott McCarthy Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel mission in Carmel, California, provides an especially interesting read. In spite of the fact that many of my writings are critical of the Catholic church. Rev. McCarthy found my book called A Circle Within the Abyss of sufficient worth to write a positive critique. I have always been especially pleased with his commentary, as it shows the generosity of spirit which should be exemplary among persons of good will who may disagree, perhaps, on some important metaphysical or even social issues but are committed to cordiality and open-minded dialogue.


The readers of the Acta Americana journal would have surely benefitted from an editorial overview of the five year old discord between Dr. Haley and other Chumash scholars. Such a discussion would have routinely included serious disagreements with Haley, dating back to the publication of my two 1998 articles in Earth Island Journal and Shaman's Drum.

Two footnotes from my 1998 book entitled The Moon, Mars, and Chumash Traditionalism documented my early concerns with the publications of Haley and Wilcoxon.

Footnote 5 "Haley and Wilcoxon cite 3,000 people living in California who call themselves Chumash (Anthropology, 762). They argue, however, that the majority of these people lack authentic continuity with the ancient Chumash. "Chumash Traditionalists lack the kinds of biological and cultural linkages with the region's aboriginal past that they claim few are descendants of the aboriginal inhabitans they consider their ancestors" (766).

According to the authors, the people who do have legitimate claims to Chumash ancestory are 'nontraditionalists' (787). "They are descendants of the Catholic Indian communities in San Luis Obispo, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Tejon" (787)

I am troubled by Haley & Wilcoxon's argument that the residents of the Santa Ynez Reservation have the best claim to Chumash descendency. As I understand their statements on this topic, this small group of two hundred "Catholics" deserve more empowerment than the other 2,800 Chumash claimants! How convenient such a proposed narrowing of legitimate Chumash descendancy would be to benefit developers such as the aerospace industry who would not have to deal with the rest of the claimants." (page 34)


See See Defenders for further commentary on Haley's UCMexus article.


To this date,I have not been able to determine why Acta Americana, an influential Nordic journal of Native American studies, published Haley's inaccurate commentary without contacting me to determine if his charges were based on fact.

It seems self-evident that some effort should be made by an academic journal to dialogue with the accused before 'trashing' their reputation in print.

It is not all that difficult to find me, after all. I have over 200 internet pages with hundred of thousands of hits. Such pages are not hard to find, and a number of them have a mailing address and/or an email where I can be reached. The editors could have written or phoned any of the non-reservation Chumash councils to get my address and phone number. Or failing that, they could have contacted the University of Wisconsin, to determine whether I have a legitimate M.A. and Ph.D. and whether I served on the teaching faculty of the Department of Educational Policy Studies. They also could have read my web pages to locate academic reviews of my publications.

A rudimentary search for facts would have been a simple courtesy which would have helped them edit the most egregious of Haley's remarks from their publication. [John Anderson, August 22, 2003].

This web page represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views of the Chumash Indians, either individually or in a group.

Theo Radic
Academic Nihilism
Anderson's Chumash Commentary
Info on Chumash Councils
Apologizing to the Chumash Indians
Radic on Point Conception
Anderson's books
More info on Chumash
Radic's 2000 Acta Americana article
No Brave Champion [book]
British Coverage of Chumash