How to Use this Blog

Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.
ALSO, if you buy any of the books at the links provided, the editor will earn a small amount of money or commission. (we thank you) (that is our disclaimer statement)

This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

2019: This blog was ranked #50 in top 100 blogs about adoption. Let's make it #1...

2019: WE NEED A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Commission in the US now for the Adoption Programs that stole generations of children... Goldwater Institute's work to dismantle ICWA is another glaring attempt at cultural genocide.


Search This Blog

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Genocide is as genocide does



A Tribe Called Red's principled refusal to perform at the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights drew more attention on CBC than the museum's opening itself.
They objected to the "museum's misrepresentation and downplay of the genocide that was experienced by indigenous people in Canada by refusing to name it genocide."
Buffy Sainte-Marie, prior to her concert, opined that genocide took place in the Indian residential schools: "Let's fess up and hope it doesn't happen again."
Did we commit genocide in forcing aboriginal children to attend residential schools? For me, as a genocide scholar, and for many IRS survivors, the answer is yes. The UN Genocide Convention of 1948 calls the forcible transfer of children from one group to another genocide -- not cultural genocide, nor "indigenocide," but actual genocide.
The term's creator, Raphael Lemkin, was clear forcible transfer was biological genocide: "There is little difference between direct killings and such techniques which, like a time bomb, destroy by delayed action." Genocide was never just about killing -- groups could be destroyed in many ways.
We know that tens of thousands of IRS survivors had their lives shattered by seven generations of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. We know at least 4,100 kids died as a consequence of the system, probably many more. We know forced transfer was intentional on the part of successive governments -- they wanted to destroy aboriginal peoples using the schools.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged this in 2008 when he said that "some sought, as it was infamously said, 'to kill the Indian in the child.' " We can see in the speeches and writings of John A. Macdonald, Hector Langevin and many others a desire to use the schools to forcibly cut kids off from their home communities, their languages, cultures and spirituality.
Phil Fontaine, Bernie Farber, Murray Sinclair and some two decades worth of academics have said genocide occurred in the IRS system.
The issue, however, is larger than simply refusing to recognize aboriginal genocide. Not only has the museum not recognized genocide in the IRS system, it has promoted memory and commemoration of five other genocides. We recognize genocide when it happens on other continents, but we assiduously avoid genocide when it happens in our own backyard. And that's a shame.
When Quebec created an Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, it observed, "Quebecers have always rejected intolerance and ethnic exclusion." When the federal government recognized the Ukrainian famine, or Holodomor, in 2008 it reflected on the worthiness of Ukrainians, and their "positive contribution to Canadian society." Holodomor recognition in Alberta was not just being about the truth of genocide, but also about the goodness of that province: "The people of Alberta value democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law, honour the values of compassion and honesty and cherish the multicultural vibrancy of the province." Saskatchewan stressed how Ukrainians "have contributed greatly to Saskatchewan's cultural, economic, political and educational life." In Manitoba, the Holodomor was recognized in part because "during World War II, a disproportionate number of Ukrainian Canadians registered in the Canadian Armed Forces to fight for the rights and liberties of Canadians."
The pattern? First, genocide occurred and has been denied in other contexts, and for this reason -- to uphold truth, we must commemorate and recognize. Some people -- Ernst Zundel admirers, or dupes of the Turkish denialist movement -- have a problem with the truth; most Canadians don't. Second, the worthiness of the victims and their descendents is important. The descendents have demonstrably enriched the fabric of our society.
We come to the third point: Recognition allows provinces or Canada to prove their goodness and tolerance. Here's where my problem lies -- by failing to recognize genocide, provincial legislatures, Ottawa and the CMHR are tacitly denying three things: that the IRS system's crimes and the intent behind them are genocide; that aboriginal people have made noteworthy contributions; and that Canada's governments have perpetrated a history of genocide in the colonization of the country, which holds serious ongoing legacies.
We need to recognize all genocides, but especially those close to home. This will take time, especially for a museum constrained by legal and financial challenges, with a lot of funding from governments that have little interest in historical introspection.
I hope A Tribe Called Red's refusal will be a teachable moment for the museum and Canadians. The CMHR purportedly has more fluid, changeable exhibits than set-piece museums of the past. I am trying to be cautiously optimistic about what the future will hold.

David MacDonald is a professor of political science at the University of Guelph. He is the author of Identity Politics in the Age of Genocide.

2 comments:

  1. My mother felt she did not belong to her tribe nor the world that she live in. Saint Joseph taught her to read and write. Hard work. Fear of doctors. She saw children who left for the hospital who never returned. Sexual abuse by staff. Punishment for speaking her language. Hunger, and separation of her siblings. My grandfather and grandmother suffered the lost of their children. Today my heart goes out for my grandfather. My grandfather was at war, to return to find his children were taken, while my grandmother work to feed her family. What the school had not taught is, love and trust and play. Two year before my mother crossed over, I got a hug. My mother described many cold events, rather than a loving family unit. In the end my mother shared her life experience with family and friends. Culture values are very important to learn. Laughing and playing are a part of living as well forgiven. Having a gift to be yourself, to take pride of who you are. To learn what is acceptable with in a family unit is a must to be whole. I thankful for my grandparents who taught me. Genocide is a indirect killing off a culture. The forms is having children, with other cultures. Today the government call it the melting pot. Drinking, drugs abuse, improper diet. are some good other examples. When a person self esteem is destroyed, and ego, escape maybe a slow death. Teaching and knowledge hopefully will save all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am deeply saddened to read this Anonymous. My heart is heavy for you.

      Delete

Please: Share your reaction, your thoughts, and your opinions. Be passionate, be unapologetic. Offensive remarks will not be published. We are getting more and more spam. Comments will be monitored.
Use the comment form at the bottom of this website which is private and sent direct to Trace.

NEW WEB ADDRESS

Because we don't want to lose information on this blog, we now have a domain name: American Indian Adoptees.com - click and save this link:

We are no longer on Facebook. We deleted our accounts.

Do this TODAY

Do this TODAY

Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.