I have stated over and over that I detest any form of racism, senseless violence, or oppressive behavior whether it stems from our past, or is still present in our every day life and so I am pleased that the Truth And Reconciliation Report is now finished and to see that Justice Sinclair named what happened at the residential schools as cultural genocide, because that is what it was. What is acknowledgment alone if there is no political will to take decisive, meaningful action and follow-up on those recommendations.
I like what the Truth And Reconciliation Report has done in the sense that it will remove the lie that has been allowed to masquerade as true Canadian history where the European colonisation of Canada is concerned. Whether or not Canadians decide to support the governments continued betrayal of treaties, land agreements and right to be seen and treated as independent nations will be seen in the days months and years to come, but what is another true consequence of the Truth And Reconciliation Report , being covered in social media and on every television network is that no Canadian will ever be able to say again the words, I did not know.
The sad truth as I see it though about the Truth And Reconciliation Report is that:
- It is just that, another report on past and present human rights violations committed by Europeans and their ancestors as they colonised the world and now fight desperately to deny the harm of, justify the purpose and the need to have committed and glorify the results of. Is this not the history Canadians teach in their schools? , or deny.
- With the exception of myself and a few other Canadians of non aboriginal descent like Paul Martin no one gives a damn and wishes the whole dirty, embarrassing affair swept right back under the rug, because to admit the truth means the European colonists were not heroes, but racists and murders and this country’s so-called proud history is a lie and everything that we have done since has made us accessories to their crimes against humanity.
- Most non aboriginal Canadians have been taught by the government of Canada to think that the founding fathers of this country did the savages they found living on this land a favor all those many years ago and that the First Nations people are an ungrateful people, prepossessed to be drunks, junkies, shiftless and lazy, who are afraid to do a hard days honest work, because this how the governments of Canada throughout Canada’s history has been able to shift the blame from itself whenever anyone complains about the hardships and suffering that European colonisation caused and their lack of will to change things for the better for these people.
- The Truth And Reconciliation Report will do little to erase this false, racist stereotype, because Canadians need to believe that it is true otherwise they would have to admit that they through their continuation of what their ancestors started so many years ago are indeed responsible for how so many aboriginal male children end up sleeping and dying on the street; how so many aboriginal female children end up whoring for a drink a fix, or a warm place to sleep at night but end up on the bottom of a cold river, or buried on some pig farmer’s land, or simply never seen again, or finally break the law, get arrested and sent to jail.
- Stephen Harper is not going to do anything with the recommendations; this was made clear as the Minister Of Aboriginal Affairs stayed seated as the recommendations were read out and everyone else got to their feet, clapped and cheered. Stephen Harper said today in the House of commons during question period, that he thought that what happened to the First Nations’ children in the Indian Residential Schools was best described as forced assimilation rather than what Justice Sinclair’s assertion that what happened to those First Nation children forced to attend Indian residential schools was cultural genocide proved to me that Stephen Harper, intends to diminish what happened to those forced to go those Indian Residential Schools.
Wherever the Europeans went in the world be it, India, Africa, North America, South America or Australia it cannot be denied that the aboriginal inhabitants were tortured, enslaved and forced to assimilate, making Canada just one player in a global attempt by Europeans to make the world over in their image. How can Canada even begin to change when Prime Minister Stephen Harper feels that by referring to the plight of the aboriginal people of Canada as forced assimilation rather than cultural genocide somehow absolves todays Canadians, of any guilt or responsibility for any problems those aboriginals are facing today.
Food for thought: I am troubled however with some things that I see in some first nation communities like Kahnawake that do not look like a move towards reconciliation to me. Kahnawake’s marry out stay out policy that prohibits Mohawks from living in Kahnawake with non-native spouses. I am troubled this is clearly a racist policy no matter how reasonable it sounds and is along the same reasoning that the European colonisers felt the need to do what they did that is now being called cultural genocide. There can be no reconciliation without both sides doing their part to achieve it and I do not think that racist policies such as Kahnawake’s marry out stay out policy will get non aboriginal Canadians on board. Racism can never be defeated by creating racist policies of your own and integration can never be achieved by creating segregation policies of your own.
Six million of my people were killed when they were forcibly taken from their homeland across the sea by Europeans to be slaves. Those that managed to survive the long ocean voyage:
- Lost their freedom and were sold like livestock to toil for the European masters until they died early, literally worked to death, or killed when they could no longer put in good days work for the master .
- Were raped, brutal beaten and stripped of all dignity, families were not recognised and babies were stripped from their mother’s arms and sold.
- Lost their culture, religion, language. My ancestors were not forced to go to residential schools, because any form of education was denied to them. If it was found out that one of my ancestors had learned to read or write they were punished severely and sometimes put to death.
I mention this because of all those that have suffered under European colonisation my ancestors and their descendants have never received a formal apology from the Canadian government, never been offered any reconciliation and for the most part have been told to grow up, leave the past in the past and stop playing the race card. I know how it feels to have ones whole history erased and have it replaced with a false one. I was removed from my way of life and my heritage was stolen and I can never go home. Roots was a great movie, but the dreadful reality for most Canadian and American descendants of Africa is that there is no going back the forced assimilation was complete and thorough. Despite all of it though I married for love and encouraged my children to do the same and my family now has white and black, French-speaking and English and we all love and respect each other. I believe that only through forgiveness and a willingness to drop all of the hate, mistrust, blame and guilt can we as Canadians move forward in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect.