You usually don’t need a digital crystal ball to see the future.
Sadly, you only need to look at the past.
You can see the present in it.
Elsipogtog: “Clashes” 400 Years in the Making: Corporate media coverage creates ignorance, which enables violence:
“NB protest turns violent,” a CBC headline solemnly proclaims. 1,280 news stories about anti-fracking protests in Rexton, New Brunswick, indexed by Google use the word “clashes.” Most stories are decorated with photos of burning police cars.
All this points to one thing: the way that Canada’s corporate media discusses Indigenous protests is fundamentally broken.
Let’s put it this way. If a hockey player gets in a fight or takes a boarding penalty, we can count on the intrepid investigative team at Hockey Night in Canada to find the footage, if it exists, of the “victimized” player instigating the conflict by making a nasty play when the ref wasn’t looking.
When it comes to Mi’kmaq traditional territory, the stakes are infinitely higher, but the effort reporters put in falls short of a typical Don Cherry segment. Most of the reporters currently flocking to rural New Brunswick can’t be bothered to crack one of hundreds of history books that might give them the background they need to understand the situation.
In fact, they’re not even interested in the months of peaceful protests which “turned violent” when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) brought in snipers dressed in camouflage and armoured riot police who attacked protesters with pepper spray, physical assaulting those who stood in the way of violations of treaty rights and the destruction of their land.
Some people don’t even like looking at the present. It makes them think about the past.
A map of missing or unsolved murders of First Nations women.
And some people look to an imaginary future so that they can pat themselves on the back about their imaginary present. To them, the past is nothing an apology can’t fix. To even bring up the past is rude. Especially, if it also happens to be the present. Doing so imperils the future they’ve concocted for themselves.
The future that takes care of itself and arrives like this:
NIGHTMARE OF HISTORY > NOBODY DOES ANYTHING OR IS EVER RUDE OR ACCEPTS ANY RESPONSIBILITY > IT’S ALL GOOD, YAY!
One such twit:
Why is Rex so sensitive about the past? We may never know.
Rex Murphy: A rude dismissal of Canada’s generosity: Oh look, a Canadian is offended by something. What a fucking shock. Rex Murphy (a well-known sanctimonious dingbat) thinks the natives are being rude.
At what can be called the harder edges of native activism, there is a disturbing turn toward ugly language, a kind of razor rhetoric that seeks to cut a straight line between the attitudes of a century or a century and a half ago and the extraordinarily different attitudes that prevail today.
From native protesters and spokespeople there is a vigorous resort to current radical jargon — referring to Canadians as colonialist, as settlers, as having a settler’s mentality. Though it is awkward to note, there is a play to race in this, a conscious effort to ground all issues in the allegedly unrepentant racism of the “settler community.” This is an effort to force-frame every dispute in the tendentious framework of the dubious “oppression studies” and “colonial theory” of latter-day universities.
Then there is also an even more deplorable effort to frame the interactions between Canadians and Canada’s aboriginal peoples as a genocide — an accusation both illiterate and insulting.
His piece can be fairly summarized as:
If Rex could dry those tears long enough to read something, he might want to look at the UN’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (PDF) which defines genocide as:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to
destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
• (a) Killing members of the group;
• (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
• (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part;
• (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
• (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
But that all sounds a little dry and bloodless to an illiterate like myself. Reading it, I’m not even sure if I’ve been insulted. Maybe this will help . . .
Unbelievable, but undeniable: Genocide in Canada:
That is not my definition — that is the definition by international law standards for which ALL nations are bound and Canada and the United States are no exceptions. Canada signed this Convention on November 28, 1949. The United States signed on December 11, 1948.
Thus, in order for an act to be considered genocide, it does not require that all components be present, nor does it require that the entire group be eliminated. However, in both Canada’s case and that of the United States, ALL components of genocide are present. Specifically here in Canada:
(1) killing members of the group
- the deliberate infecting of blankets with small pox and sending them to reserves;
- the enacting of scalping laws which encouraged settlers to kill and scalp Indians for a monetary reward;
- the deliberate infecting of Indigenous children with infectious diseases in residential schools which led to their deaths;
- the deliberate abuse, torture, starvation, and denial of medical care to Indigenous children forced to live at residential schools which resulted in as many as 40% dying in those schools;
- the killing of our people by police and military through starlight tours, tazering, severe beatings, and by unjustified shootings;
- the killing of our people resulted in severely reduced populations, and some Nations completely wiped out;
- in the U.S., some groups were exterminated by up to 98%;
(2) causing serious bodily harm or mental harm to the members of the group;
- think of the torture and abuse inflicted on Indigenous children in residential schools like sexual abuse, rape, sodomy, solitary confinement, denial of food and medical care, and severe beatings for speaking one’s language, etc;
- imagine the mental harm to Indigenous families and communities when their children were forcibly removed from them and left to die in residential schools;
- even when residential schools were starting to close, social workers in the 1960′s onward stole children and placed them out for adoption in non-Indigenous families;
- the torture and abuse of Indigenous peoples in order to force them to sign treaties and agreements;
- the loss of language, culture, traditions, practices, way of life, beliefs, world views, customs;
- the imposed divisions in families, communities and Nations through the Indian Act
(3) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- think of the deliberate and chronic underfunding of essential social services on reserve like housing, water, food, sewer and other programs fundamental to the well-being of a people like education and health;
- the theft of all the lands and resources of Indigenous peoples and their subsequent confinement to small reserves where the law prevented them from leaving and providing for their families and so were left to starve on the rations provided by Canada;
- or the relocations of Indigenous communities from resource rich areas to swamp lands where they could not provide for themselves;
- Indian Affairs who divided large nations into small communities, located them physically away from one another,
- the Indian Act led to the physical separation of Indigenous women and children from their communities through the Act’s assimilatory registration provisions;
(4) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- the forced sterilizations of Indigenous women and men, most notably in Alberta and British Columbia;
- the Indian Act’s discriminatory registration provisions which prevent the descendants of Indigenous women who married non-Indian men to be recognized as members of their community thus keeping their births from being recognized as part of the group;
- the discriminatory INAC policy which prevents the children of unwed mothers from registering their children as Indians and part of their communities (unstated and unknown paternity);
(5) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
- the long history of residential schools which had an express stated purpose – “to KILL the Indian in the child” and to ensure that there were no more Indians in Canada;
- the 60′s scoop which saw the mass removal of Indigenous children from their homes and adopted permanently into non-Indigenous homes;
- the prevention of children from being members in their communities due to the discriminatory Indian Act registration provisions;
- the current high rate of children removed from their families which out numbers residential schools and 60′s scoop combined.
Still, like the saying goes, one death is a tragedy but a million is statistic.
So let me give you one death.
Thousands of native children died in Canada’s residential schools:
The testimony supporting these claims was at times shocking. Elder Irene Favel told a 1998 town hall forum: “I went to residential school in Muscowequan from 1944 to 1949, and I had a rough life. I was mistreated in every way. There was a young girl, and she was pregnant from a priest there. And what they did, she had her baby, and they took the baby, and wrapped it up in a nice pink outfit, and they took it downstairs where I was cooking dinner with the nun. And they took the baby into the furnace room, and they threw that little baby in there and burned it alive. All you could hear was this little cry, like ‘Uuh!’ and that was it. You could smell that flesh cooking.”
I suppose I should be insulted by the fiery language used to describe these acts. After all, I’m no lawyer. I haven’t studied international law. I didn’t even go to university and take the colonial studies programs that Rex has such trouble with. But I’m not insulted when such things are called genocide. I don’t know what else to call them.
Torture? Murder? Atrocity?
This shit happened. It all happened. Things very much like it are still happening.
So why the fuck should any decent person care that Rex Murphy feels insulted by the language used to describe such barbarism? I’m more insulted by the acts themselves. Those insult my basic humanity.
And whoever gave Rex Murphy the idea that he’s qualified to speak about how Canadians feel. He doesn’t know me. I didn’t even vote for him. No one voted for him. He can talk about how he feels all he wants. I feel like he should get a job.
I feel like Canada’s ongoing genocide has to stop. Whatever it takes.
And when Rex talks about the “immense openness and goodwill of the Canadian citizenry” I have to laugh. I’ve never been that sentimental about myself. Like most people, Canadian or otherwise, I’m okay. At least, I occasionally try to be. I’m probably best taken in small doses. And I’m not to be trusted with a uniform and gun.
Shit, I’m not even sure that I’m Canadian anymore. I am sure that Rex and his ilk don’t speak for me. They never have. The only people I see acting on behalf of my interests here are the First Nations. Insofar as I’m proud to be Canadian, it’s only because of what they have done in spite of Canada.
Thankfully, I’m not the only who feels that way.
Dear Rex: Colonialism exists, and you’re it.:
When you write that Canadians are offended at the term ‘settler’ and ‘genocide,’ you don’t speak for all of us. I’m a Canadian citizen, my ancestors came to Canada from Europe a few centuries ago, and I understand myself as a settler. It’s not disrespectful for indigenous peoples to remind us of Canada’s legacy of genocide. It’s not rude for indigenous peoples to label as ‘colonial’ the connections between the industries of resource extraction, the RCMP, and the corporate media you write for. What’s insulting is your attempt to paint Canada as benevolent, open, and respectful of indigenous peoples, and your contempt for any understanding of present-day colonialism and oppression in Canada.
And super-thankfully, we don’t live in a era when you have to listen to what we white folks have to say about this movement.
Idle No More 101:
Please consider this a fairly exhaustive explanation of the Movement, what it is not and what it is. If for some reason you cannot read the next 1000 or so brilliant words, I can be summed up thusly: Idle No More is not new. Instead, it is the latest incarnation of the sustained Indigenous Resistance to the rape, pillage, and exploitation of this continent and its women that has existed since 1492. It is not the Occupy Movement, although there are some similarities. It is not only about Canada and it is not only about Native people. Finally, and probably most importantly, it (and we) are not going away anytime soon. So get used to it (and us).
The past is the present. We can’t allow it to be the future.