Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thoughts on Canadian Genocide and the "Apology".

O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest
who ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
(Julius Caesar, Act 3:1)

A Moment of Reflection ...

If only we in Canada had an ounce of Marc Antony's outrage when it
comes to murder in our midst.

All the "honorable men" who slew Caesar had the weight of law on their side, as do the officials of church and state in our country who legally killed generations of innocent children in the "Indian residential schools", and who now absolve themselves of their crime.

Can we dare to ask for pardon from the slaughtered children, for our meek gentleness with their butchers?

Can we ask them to forgive us, when we watch a recent CBC TV broadcast in which Irene Favel described seeing a newborn baby shoved live into a roaring furnace by a priest in Saskatchewan, and we do nothing?

Why should we be forgiven? Who are we to issue an "apology" for our crimes when we refuse to be held accountable for them? When names are not allowed to be named? When priests and nuns are allowed to get away with murder? And when "misconduct" in residential schools cannot even be referred to at the government's upcoming "Truth and Reconciliation" hearings?

Crimes without criminals. Words without substance. That is the Canadian way.

Looking Back, and Forward:
Written on Squamish Nation Territory, under Foreign Occupation - July 21, 2008

Over the past year, the impossible has happened: the government and churches of Canada have been forced for the first time to publicly acknowledge that massive numbers of children died in their Indian residential schools, and that many of these deaths were criminal in nature.

But the predictable has accompanied the impossible: the very same guilty parties have responded to this exposure by effectively absolving themselves of this crime with a verbal "apology" and a self-appointed "inquiry" that is structured to ensure that the crime will be officially whitewashed.

Nothing less can be expected in a place like Canada, where the institutions that ran the residential schools are still in power and call the shots, with the help of their aboriginal collaborators.

But rather than being a cause of despair, this predictable scramble by the guilty to hide their filth is yet another crumbling piece of masonry in the collapsing facade called colonial Canada, which has never resolved what it likes to call its "Indian Problem" - and never will.

Only in an insecure and guilt-haunted nation could the fact of missing aboriginal children generate the enormous turmoil and change that we've witnessed in Canada since April of 2007, when the Harper government was forced to address the missing residential school children in Parliament.

The media scramble that resulted, and has never abated, hovers around the issue of dead residential school kids like a voyeuristic John, watching but not daring to touch all those mass graves. And yet two years ago, the topic was strictly forbidden and censored in the monopolized corporate media in Canada. Today, the Establishment seems to be struggling to gradually acclimatize the populace to the fact of genocide in their midst.

This is all a repeat, but on a bigger scale, of what was tried a decade or more ago, when the first lawsuits by residential school survivors threatened to nail the Catholic, Anglican and United churches to the wall. By slowly leaking to the public some aspects of the residential school nightmare in small, digestible pieces, the media and the courts contained the potentially- explosive issue to yet another ho-hum abuse litigation, complete with "apologies" and "compensation" .

Back then, by reducing genocide to a matter of personal injury claims, Canada spared itself what it's now forced to face: its own history of deliberately exterminating aboriginal nations. But, then as now, the strategy of the guilty churches and state seems to be identical: namely, to minimize and contain the issue by pretending to address it whole not addressing it.

Just as the so-called "Aboriginal Healing Fund" contained the fallout of residential school lawsuits with hush money to survivors, so now does the misnamed "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (TRC) appear to inquire into missing children by studiously preventing any actual disclosure of their fate.

A simple reading of the TRC mandate reveals an alarming deception. While portraying itself as the definitive investigation into Indian residential schools, the TRC in fact is not an investigative body or a legal inquiry; it has no power to subpoena or compel involvement, does not allow the naming of the names of perpetrators, and will not allow any statement involving wrongdoing by a person or organization; nor does it extend immunity or protection to anyone offering evidence.

In short, the TRC is an explicit whitewash of any criminal behaviour in the residential schools. Imagine a "final report" on these schools that has not a single mention of misconduct in it!

Again, this is precisely what one expects when church lawyers and officials like the United Church's former Moderator Bill Phipps - a TRC convenor - establish an inquiry into themselves. And yet, this whole effort by the guilty is doomed to failure.

For one thing, the crime is too huge to contain. Since April 10, we have documented and released to the press thirty-three mass grave sites across Canada near former residential schools, where countless children are reputedly buried. In response, I have been inundated with stories from eyewitnesses who buried children, witnessed the incineration of others, and who saw killings and other crimes in the schools. And many of these stories have appeared in the media.

But what is especially encouraging and unusual about this disclosure is that it is being accompanied by a new wave of lawsuits against the churches responsible for these deaths, brought by relatives of children who were killed. For the first time, the churches and government of Canada are being named in criminal lawsuits for acts of murder.

It gets even better. In some cases, like on Squamish territory in what whites call Vancouver, these lawsuits will be launched not through Canadian courts of law, which have time and again disqualified claims involving murder, but in aboriginal courts of Justice, convened by traditional elders like Squamish Chief Kiapilano.

In other words, raising the spectre of murdered children is unleashing a revolutionary challenge to Canada and its courts, as survivors and other native people invoke their own sovereignty to win justice.

This fact raises the second problem of Canada's attempt to co-opt and contain its culpability for genocide: namely, that there is no consensus "at the top" of how to deal with the threat of indigenous sovereignty. The power of the Canadian establishment is too fractured and regionalized to devise a common response to the growing breakdown of native peoples' imprisonment in their own land.

Today, the Canadian state does not have a single, credible group of collaborating native elites to impose a uniform "Indian policy" across the nations, which means that any effort to simply shut down or contain the furor over missing residential school children will meet with failure. The growing native populaces, restless, off reserve and plagued by poverty and discontent, are too diverse to be so easily managed anymore.

This fact highlights the third roadblock to any easy resolution of the residential school crimes: the particularly vulnerable position of Canada in the world economy as an exporting and tourist nation, and the battering its "humanitarian" image and credit rating have taken as a result of the residential school scandal.

One of the main reasons behind the creation of the fraudulent "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" was the need to create a convincing public relations front to the world during the period leading up to the 2010 Olympics in British Columbia, a region that is the hotbed of independent native protest and non-treatied communities.

The Canadian elites - native and white - are terrified of the prospect of native road and railway blockades during the B.C. Olympics, disrupting as these will the "new relationship" between these elites in their efforts to secure new foreign export markets for Canadian resources, most of which are located on unceded native land. An upstart aboriginal bourgeoisie is acting as the chief arm of the Canadian state in securing these markets, especially with Asian countries, and restraining protests by their own people in the process.

Nevertheless, all of these factors add up to a single truth: Canada and its churches - and their aboriginal accomplices - will be unable to extricate themselves from their liability for their crimes, and therefore will remain extremely vulnerable to any public criticism or protest campaigns aimed at exposing the full extent of the residential school genocide.

The Implications for Us, and the Challenge

Until recently, the movement to bring Canada and its churches to justice for genocide has been localized and relatively unpopular, even among supposed "progressives and radicals". And yet its impact on events has been profound, and has forced Canada's back to the wall, simply by continuing to make public the hard evidence of death and torture in residential schools.

This work is finally paying off, as our efforts are stimulating a much broader reaction among even mainstream Canadians, and we are linking up with more disgruntled residential school survivors and aboriginal youth. There are now twenty six local groups across Canada working with our network, organizing protests, documenting evidence, and educating the world about the Canadian holocaust.

As the frustration of survivors continues to grow with their loss of any avenue for resolving their claims, as the bogus "TRC" exposes itself as Canada's version of the Warren Commission, and as the puppet native chiefs continue to become alienated from their own people, a huge crisis of leadership is emerging in the aboriginal world.

This crisis has created a unique opportunity for those committed to indigenous sovereignty and full justice for residential school survivors. What is lacking is the audacity, the networks, and the overall strategy to begin uprooting the causes of genocide and the colonial political-economic system that is ruining our lands and people.

Last April 15, ten indigenous elders launched their answer to the government's TRC: an independent "International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada". That Tribunal will begin its work this autumn, by convening local inquiries into deaths and other crimes in residential schools, in open opposition to the TRC.

As part of its work, this Tribunal will begin enforcing the Eviction Notices issued by Squamish hereditary Chief Kiapilano against the Catholic, Anglican and United churches on his territory, in "Vancouver". We will claim these buildings and lands as our Mohawk cousins are doing in their land reclamation battle in "Ontario". And within these liberated zones, we will be establishing popular courts of justice to try and convict those persons and organizations responsible for the residential school crimes.

Until September 15, I will be travelling in Europe and elsewhere to gain new international allies for this campaign and cause. Let us begin planning for this "hot autumn" by planning local Tribunals and direct actions of sovereignty and reclamation in all of our communities, against the churches, corporations and government responsible for the murder of our peoples.

May our hearts and courage rise to this challenge. Spread the fire.

I am your brother,

Kevin Annett Eagle Strong Voice
for the Tribunal and sovereignty campaign

260 Kennedy St.
Nanaimo, BC V9R 2H8
ph: 250-753-3345 or 1-888-265-1007

hiddenfromhistory@ yahoo.ca
www.hiddenfromhistory.org
Read and Hear the truth of Genocide in Canada, past and present, at this website: www.hiddenfromhistory.org

5 Comments:

Blogger Werner said...

Dear Larry,

Some weeks ago I got into a strange argument with some assholes in rural Saskatchewan near where I work. Actually I started on about the gun control business in western Canada. I said that the pro-gun lobby sometimes mentioned that in the country of Switzerland just about everyone has access to weapons and they have very little gun related crime. I pointed out that there wasn't much poverty in that country and that might be the explanation. Then I said if you go across Canada from east to west the general level of violence seems to go up. The prairies are the worst with (as usual) Regina as the national murder capital. I started to point out that attitudes here are generally childish and self-centred. The media here doesn't help of course. One of these jerks started babbling about the "Indian problem" and then my boss started butting in as he usually does when I say something that offends his phony "new age" sensibilities. The best you can say about these types is that they are confused. Anyway the racism out here is very institutionalized as you have pointed out many times. I don't know which is worse ... the open line show jerks or the aboriginal bureaucracy or just the average asshole in the street. This city doesn't do much to encourage the anarchist belief in the virtues of ordinary people. But I really appreciate your coverage on this issue. To paraphrase I think it would be great to hang the last social worker with the entrails of the last priest. I won't be doing this of course but it's a thought.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I wasn't aware of the sham of the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in South Africa, until I read at Marxist.com, about how it blunted nationalizing the economy.

On radio (NPR), they are trumpeting, the apology as bigger and more meaningful than it is.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

i go through situations like Werner's comment quite frequently. People don't have sense of history and don't place situations in context.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

To continue this ... I did get the upper hand on these guys a little later on. My boss was in the restaurant again and as usual making excuses for the dictatorship in China ... the usual shit about low prices, etc.. He started on about dental equipment being made in China and I countered that the World Health Organization stated that China now has one of the worst health care systems in the industrialized world. I told a story from the New York Times about a guy from Scotland who went to China and had to go to a "dentist" there. Apparently the clown didn't even remove the cavity before putting in a filling. Okay ... this doesn't have much to do with racism in western Canada but it speaks volumes about the attitudes coming across the spectrum from the neo-cons to the so-called "progressives" which makes life such a drag out here. At least I've got a week away from these characters, the first holiday in a long time. Thank heaven for small mercies and all that.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Enjoy your holiday, Werner!

2:39 PM  

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