Thursday, April 12, 2007

Colonization and the Killing of History

Read this slowly. Let it sink in.
Roland Chrisjohn:
What if the Holocaust had never stopped?

What if no liberating armies invaded the territory stormed over by the draconian State? No compassionate throng broke down the doors to dungeons to free those imprisoned within? No collective outcry of humanity arose as stories of the State’s abuses were recounted? And no Court of World Opinion seized the State’s leaders and held them in judgment as their misdeeds were chronicled? What if none of this happened?

What if, instead, with the passage of time the World came to accept the State’s actions as the rightful and lawful policies of a sovereign nation having to deal with creatures that were less than fully human?

What if the Holocaust had never stopped, so that, for the State’s victims, there was no vindication, no validation, no justice, but instead the dawning realization that this was how things were going to be? What if those who resisted were crushed, so that others, tired of resisting, simply prayed that the ‘next’ adjustment to what remained of their ways of life would be the one that, somehow, they would be able to learn to live with? What if some learned to hate who they were, or to deny it out of fear, while others embraced the State’s image of them, emulating as far as possible the State’s principles and accepting its judgment about their own families, friends, and neighbors? And what if others could find no option other than to accept the slow, lingering death the State had mapped out for them, or even to speed themselves along to their State-desired end?

What if?

Then, you would have Canada’s treatment of the North American Aboriginal population in general, and the Indian Residential School Experience in particular.

Canada's aboriginals are survivors of genocide. They are still a colonized population. It isn't history. It isn't in the past. They are still living the effects today.

From Praxis Media's Hoping Against Hope: The Struggle Against Colonialism in Canada Listen to the first episode, read transcript here, read a review or purchase the series.


TomCat said...

Interesting post RJ. I considered Canada enlightened in its treatmanr of native Americans in comparison to the US.

Red Jenny said...

Sorry to disappoint, TC, but we have major issues with our aboriginal populations up here. Amnesty International has chastized us. We have people in our country who live under third world conditions - no clean water, extreme poverty, with skyrocketing levels of suicide, child abuse, and more. It's very sad.

Listen to the audio (from which i took the excerpt.

Another excellent resource is The Dominion, an independent Canadian magazine.

Dan said...

South Africa studied Canada's treatment of first nations, particularly the reservation system, when setting up apartheid.

When I first heard that, that was my awakening to the sense of what Canada had done (is still doing?) to its aboriginal population.

Psychols said...

Great post Jenny. The tragedy continues yet most Canadians refuse to acknowledge it. Instead we convince ourselves that it is somehow "their" fault that they have been locked into a cycle of poverty, suffering and second class treatment. As a nation, we should be ashamed.

Polly Jones said...

Canada was also used as an example for the genocide of the indigenous groups in Australia. I noticed on the link you provided, the word 'historicide' - the absence of truth about history. How is it that some truths manage to enter our collective conscious.

On a somewhat related note, I noticed today that on much of the news discussing the Imus case, reporters referred to his racism, but not his sexism. (Although one channel eventually had a women talk about The Take Back the Music campaign:

It seems strange though that we have a heightened awareness to some oppressions, but a blindness to others.

I know that growing up in Calgary, AB, racist jokes about native people was commonplace.

TomCat said...

Thanks for the enlightenment, Folks. While I claim some expertise on our side of the border, to our media in the US, Canada might as well not exist, so I come here and to Dawg's to learn.