Fool me once: Colonialism denial finds a happy home in Canadian media

Just one day after tens of thousands people took to the streets of Vancouver in support of reconciliation, the Nanaimo Daily News once again published a racist rant making it clear that for too many Canadians, reconciliation is really about soothing the discomfort of settlers who do not want to take responsibility for Canada’s annihilationist policies which continue to decimate Indigenous peoples. The article, by Bill McRitchie, once again exhorts us to “get over it”, because after all:

“…the world was a very different place in those eras [18th, 19th early 20th centuries]…

…The concept of human rights was virtually unknown…

…As our country matured and demographics changed through massive immigration and the evolution of our society, however, the playing field began to level.” – Bill McRitchie, Nanaimo Daily News, September 23, 2013

reactions

The reaction to this article was swift, and on point.

Ah yes. The old “bad things happened but they got better” trope I just finished discussing in my last article. But wait! There’s more!

“Unfortunately, the First Nations in Canada have tenaciously clung to their tribal system, refusing to evolve as equal Canadian citizens and perpetuating the perceived notion that they remain under the heel of non-aboriginals.

This notion has been effectively used to develop a strategy for making outrageous demands for land and taxpayer money.

I’m not a great believer in the sins of the father being visited upon the sons…” – Bill McRitchie, Nanaimo Daily News, September 23, 2013

Hugh Nicholson, the Nanaimo Daily News’  division manager issued an apology the last time the paper ran an article like this. I’d like to make a snarky comment about this clearly insincere apology reflecting the Residential School apology…oh wait, I think I just did.

The concept of human rights was virtually unknown; thus, the ruling class considered it their mandate and God-given right to subjugate the perceived lesser mortals who were considered unable to control their own destiny. Treaties were merely empty promises designed to overtly appease the indigenes while covertly exploiting them.

As our country matured and demographics changed through massive immigration and the evolution of our society, however, the playing field began to level.

Unfortunately, the First Nations in Canada have tenaciously clung to their tribal system, refusing to evolve as equal Canadian citizens and perpetuating the perceived notion that they remain under the heel of non-aboriginals.

This notion has been effectively used to develop a strategy for making outrageous demands for land and taxpayer money.

I’m not a great believer in the sins of the father being visited upon the sons. It is my opinion that no individual or groups of individuals should receive special treatment in Canada because of their ethnic, religious or historical backgrounds.

- See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/no-groups-in-canada-should-get-special-status-1.634561#sthash.PwcGGqVU.dpuf

The concept of human rights was virtually unknown; thus, the ruling class considered it their mandate and God-given right to subjugate the perceived lesser mortals who were considered unable to control their own destiny. Treaties were merely empty promises designed to overtly appease the indigenes while covertly exploiting them.

As our country matured and demographics changed through massive immigration and the evolution of our society, however, the playing field began to level.

Unfortunately, the First Nations in Canada have tenaciously clung to their tribal system, refusing to evolve as equal Canadian citizens and perpetuating the perceived notion that they remain under the heel of non-aboriginals.

This notion has been effectively used to develop a strategy for making outrageous demands for land and taxpayer money.

I’m not a great believer in the sins of the father being visited upon the sons. It is my opinion that no individual or groups of individuals should receive special treatment in Canada because of their ethnic, religious or historical backgrounds.

- See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/no-groups-in-canada-should-get-special-status-1.634561#sthash.PwcGGqVU.dpu

Things are not better, Hugh

I am addressing this article to Hugh Nicholson, the publisher of the Nanaimo Daily News, because he has direct power over the publication of articles like this, and Don Olsen’s racist rant earlier.

Hugh Nicholson is actively providing a venue for people like McRitchie and Olsen to basically engage in the popular Canadian equivalent of Holocaust denial. I make that comparison mindfully, because the most ‘successful’ Holocaust deniers do not claim that the Holocaust never happened at all…they minimise and distort the facts in order to claim it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was. They then claim that Jewish people use the Holocaust as an excuse to *insert racist accusation*.

However I do not want to conflate the issue and so I’d like to coin a new term if I may. I’m going to call the opinions of people like McRitchie and Olsen and Klassen, and Flanagan and oh so many others “Colonialism denial”. This denial often manifests itself as a recognition that colonialism happened, but that it is no longer a factor.

I have repeatedly addressed the claim that “bad things happened, but it’s better now”. I have linked to research on media narratives in Canadian newspapers which proves that narratives such as those published by Nicholson have hardly changed at all since 1869. James Daschuk also does a bang up job of showing how deliberate colonial policies of starvation ensured that TB gained a foothold on reserve, and continues to wreak havoc with Indigenous health under ‘modern’ policies. The recent reconciliation events in British Columbia are themselves a recognition that the policies of the not-distant past have had lasting and horrific effects on the social and physical health of Indigenous peoples.

empty promises designed to overtly appease the indigenes while covertly exploiting them – See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/no-groups-in-canada-should-get-special-status-1.634561#sthash.lSQg1tsS.dpuf

I have discussed the deliberate efforts of the Canadian government to destroy the ability of First Nations to farm successfully in the Prairies and provided a link to research on the topic. I have discussed the 60s scoop, and colonialism within the child welfare system that continues to this day. I have discussed how ‘modern’ treaty making differs only in words,  from those “empty promises designed to overtly appease the indigenes while covertly exploiting them” that McRitchie readily admits were the hallmark of the historic treaties. I have even shown how the 1969 White Paper, intended as an official piece of colonialism denial, has found a new home in the First Nations Property Ownership Act.

empty promises designed to overtly appease the indigenes while covertly exploiting them – See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/no-groups-in-canada-should-get-special-status-1.634561#sthash.lSQg1tsS.dpuf

ALL of these things are well documented with reams of peer-reviewed research available, with thousands of pages of official findings from commissions and inquests and so forth. The evidence is overwhelming: it is impossible to divorce the present from the past the way McRitchie et al. wish to do, and further, colonialism continues into the 21st century.

Sins of the fathers? Look to your own sins.

McRitchie attempts to separate himself from the ‘sins of the past’ by locating himself and all other Canadians in the 21st century; a century that is a scant 13 years old, by the way. Even if McRitchie were a 13 year old boy, he could not successfully ignore the events that have occurred in the lifetimes of those people still living today.

Canadians need to stop pretending that these evils happened only in the distant past. The unavoidable truth is that these evils happened in your own lifetimes, and what is worse, continue to happen. These are not merely the sins of your fathers or great-grandfathers, or great-great-great grandfathers. These are the sins of Canadians today in 2013 who engage in Colonialism denial, and who benefit from the continued  colonial practices of the Canadian state. Canadians have an obligation to learn about their own history so they can stop engaging in Colonialism denial through sheer ignorance. Failure to do so is a modern day sin no Canadian can blame on their fathers.

And to you, Hugh Nicholson. Shame on you. You published this latest piece of Colonialism denial just one day after Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike took to the streets in massive support of the need to make things better, truthfully, and together. If you have convinced yourself that your decision to publish this letter was an exercise in ‘journalistic balance’, save it. I refer you to your own words:

“The sentiments expressed were entirely his own and in no way reflect the views of the newspaper. The letter should not have run. We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.” - Hugh Nicholson, editorial clarification, March 2013

Your actions render this apology utterly meaningless. Your choice to publish this article does indeed reflect on this newspaper. Fool me once, shame on me.

Fool us twice? Shame on us if we don’t hold you to account for this.

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Categories: 60s scoop, Alienation, First Nations, Idle No More, Injustice, Representation of natives, Residential schools

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65 Responses to Fool me once: Colonialism denial finds a happy home in Canadian media


  1. Awesome article! Way to go!

  2. Brock says:

    Thanks Chelsea, I appreciate the writing. Given the editor’s previous apology re Don Olsen fiasco, the Nanaimo Daily News’ decision to publish yet another opinion piece is simply reckless (in addition to many other things of course).

  3. xaangusshu says:

    I like his last line: “I would tenaciously defend the right for those same individuals and groups to honour and display their heritage and to practise their religion, as long as it does not conflict with the democratic laws of our land or impose demands that once again tilt the relatively level playing field.” A) What level playing field? B) Has he read the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Constitution? Our democratic rights are enshrined in Canadian law and are an integral part of the founding of Canada so get over it!

  4. david schroeder says:

    what a travesty, thank you for shining light on this. this subject has to be the most compelling issue for this country. until the leaderships of our country take responsibility for this problem everything else does not matter. keep up the good work.

  5. Here is the text of the letter I have just sent to Nicholson and McDonald:

    I am writing to register my disgust with the Nanaimo News Daily for once again providing a platform for a racist and ignorant diatribe against First Nations people in this article: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/no-groups-in-canada-should-get-special-status-1.634561, in violation of section 6 of the B.C. Press Code of Practice. This article encourages discrimination on grounds of race, by dismissing outright well documented historic and contemporary violations of the human rights of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

    This editorial decision is particularly distasteful given it follows on the heels of a Reconciliation Walk that many report was attended by upwards of 70,000 native and non-native people.

    This is not the first time the Nanaimo News Daily has published racist material. The last egregious incident was in March of this year, when the decision to publish Don Olsen’s later was questioned vehemently by the community. I recall that an apology was issued by you, Mr. Nicholson, for the decision to allow that article the space it got. It is difficult to take that apology seriously after reading today’s article.

    People are indeed entitled to their opinions, but this does not mean that the Nanaimo Daily News must provide these opinions with an audience, especially when Truth and Reconciliation events have gone into high gear in British Columbia. This article is not providing a ‘balanced view’, it is engaging in the exact kind of denial the TRC is fighting to overcome.

    I sincerely hope that you are willing to meet with members of your local First Nations communities to discuss your editorial decision, and your responsibility as a media outlet. Please do not bother with another insincere apology. Your actions now are all that count.

    • Karen W says:

      thank you for bringing these racist articles to the forefront ! I’m aboriginal and I find these letters extremely racist, and they shouldn’t be published anywhere.

  6. Gail Taylor says:

    I really enjoyed your article and I am pleased that you have returned to your writing. I can appreciate the personal emotional turmoil this type of writing requires, but we really need you.

  7. Bonny L. Cameron says:

    Thank you Ms Vowel… for your hard hitting, insightful articulate article. Maybe we can’t do anything about the past but as long as the Indian Act exists Colonialism exists. And as long as this government feels the need to hold control of how Native self government will be structured and evolve Colonialism exists. As long us our govenment institutions (courts, family services, education, etc) are run on 100 year old models (and they are) Colonialism exists.
    We cannot change the past so we cannot be responsible for the past. We are responsible for everything that happens from this day forward…. I hope people will educate themselves about the issues of today. Then be proactive in making this the kind of Canada our children will be proud to live in. Mr Nicholson will hear from me also.
    Bonny L. Cameron

  8. Glen Douglas says:

    Migwech for your response to Nicholson. He’s a fool that should be grateful that you took the time to set him straight. Attacks on native people on Turtle Island has been continuous on many levels since contact till this very second. Nicholson and people like him can be blind and stupid all they want to. The truth is clearly evident and we will never let them forget it until they cease and desist their destructive actions to our people and our earth.

  9. CBELCOURT says:

    Sent letters to both editor & publisher. THanks for the links to each.

  10. Verna says:

    DEFENSE MECHANISMS THAT ALL HUMAN BEINGS HAVE: FLIGHT, FIGHT, FREEZE!!! I am so elated, happy, exuberant and very honoured to BELONG to the Indigenous Group namely, the First Nations of Canada!!! Why? Because we have been FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL, the latest example is the TRC Event in Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA.

    This phenomenal event included ALL HUMANKIND!!! where EDUCATION was presented in its full and relative PRESENTATION via films, plenary sessions, statements directly from the Residential School Survivors and not from a GLOSSARY PAMPHLETS FROM OUR NUMEROUS LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRATS!!!

    The Prejudiced People have chosen to FREEZE in time. What are the examples of being FROZEN IN TIME? The uneducated, arrogant, ignorant, self-righteous, self-fulfilled prophecies via their OPINIONS that they are still SPEWING IN THE NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL SECTIONS OF A MEDIOCRE NEWSPAPER who needs readership numbers to stay in business. The MEDIOCRE NEWSPAPER, “THE NANAIMO DAILY NEWS” is using the “By any means necessary” UNETHICAL STRATEGY to stay alive.

    I DEDICATE MY COMMENTS TO ALL HUMANKIND, may we find HARMONY, PEACE AND GOODWILL THROUGH THE ENDLESS WORK OF REALLY GOOD HUMAN BEINGS WITH GOOD HEARTS!!!

  11. Tracey Doherty says:

    Sending an email to Nicholson and MacDonald:

    The time to hear something new in the perspective of non-natives commenting on Aboriginal Canada in the mainstream media is long past due. The Nanaimo Daily News article was definitely NOT it.

    The good news is that there are well-informed writers like apihtawikosisan providing the necessary counterpoint with bright living energy. Now that is true journalistic responsibility.

  12. Bruce Weaver says:

    email sent as soon as I read your post and then the article.

  13. Pingback: Nanaimo Daily News letter called ‘racist’, stirs controversy online - BC | Globalnews.ca

  14. nebulaflash says:

    Please keep voicing the aboriginal situation on all its levels. You are helping to save the world from blind oppression to imperialism, even though many don’t want to know, your pain and your efforts are vital to the health of the planet.

  15. Dallis says:

    I can’t seem to find the original article now, as I want to file my own complaint

  16. Spinmaster01 says:

    Whatever happened to free speech? There are many Canadians that feel certain groups should not get special treatment. It’s time to put the past where it belongs and to move forward to a place where we are all treated equal. Enough IS enough !

    • Free speech does not guarantee you a platform from which to spout historically inaccurate, and downright racist bile. Sorry. We do get to hold these media outlets accountable. If they wish to print this kind of garbage, they are still free to do so. And we are free to speak out against it.

      There are many Canadians who are so ignorant, that they haven’t the faintest clue of what they speak. These people do not need special treatment by having their ignorant opinions given space. Enough IS enough!

  17. Kate says:

    I just filed a complaint with the BC Press Council. Thank you for drawing our attention to it, Chelsea. Please keep fighting the good fight, though I’m sure it makes you weary.

  18. I am ecstatic to see this action from you Chelsea and from all others! I was absolutely outraged, as a White settler canadian who stood with the Snuneymeux community against the last protest of racist diatribe. And after attending a week of TRC events. I truly hope ALL allies will immediately pull all advertising funding from this hate rhetoric platform

  19. Brock says:

    The text of my 10:00am email sent to Hugh and Mark:

    Unbelievable. Anger. Frustration.

    Those are the words that came to my mind upon reading the above mentioned opinion piece by Bill McRitchie that was published in the Nanaimo Daily News today, given the occurrence of two previous and important events in your life and mine as follows:

    1. On March 23, 2013, your newspaper the Nanaimo Daily News published an opinion piece by Don Olsen, which offended many First Nation people on the island (i.e. your own neighbours), and the rest of Canada, not to mention other non-First Nations people who were also offended and did not want to be painted with the same brush as Don Olsen and clearly said out loud that Vancouver Island is not an island full of Don Olsens. You subsequently published the following apology:

    “The sentiments expressed were entirely his own and in no way reflect the views of the newspaper. The letter should not have run. We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.” – Hugh Nicholson, editorial clarification, March 2013

    Your words –> “The letter should not have run. We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.”

    2. On September 22, 2013 (i.e. yesterday, not a few days/weeks/months ago Y.E.S.T.E.R.D.A.Y.), 70,000+ people joined together in Vancouver (i.e. across the strait) for a march in support of reconciliation, i.e. the very thing that your newspaper has sought to undo by publishing yet again another piece of vitriol.

    What is going on over there? Have you not understood the words and meaning of your own previous apology? Were you not aware of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the entire week of reconciliation events hosted in Vancouver? I assumed (wrongly?) that language and writing would be your area of expertise?

    I am very disappointed, hurt, and upset that opinion pieces such as Don Olsen’s and Bill McRitchie’s continue to find traction in your newspaper.

    If Bill wants to have an opinion which is founded on racist and ill(mis)informed beliefs, fine, we (as First Nations people, since we’re being generalist) know the mountain we have to climb with respect to Don Olsen, Bill McRitchie, and countless others like them, we live that every day.

    However, the point at which this becomes a problem is when you (and your newspaper) decides to publish such vitriol in the public domain.

    For some enlightened reading, I encourage you to read the following piece by my good friend Chelsea:

    http://apihtawikosisan.com/2013/09/23/fool-me-once-colonialism-denial-finds-a-happy-home-in-canadian-media/

    What do you do now? Publish another apology? For many like me, an apology is not enough, and as for your credibility, you and your newspaper have none with me.

    Brock Roe
    Victoria, BC

    • Colinda says:

      Chelsea, Thank you for your intelligent calling-to-task of the media. I didn’t see this article in Ontario. I would like to say I am surprised by it, but have been asked by supposedly educated, supposed friends why I haven’t gotten over it, why do I teach FNMI studies to high school students. You have given me a real-world task for tomorrow’s class. I look forward to my students’ responses.
      Miigwetch.

  20. Mark Borland says:

    “Free speech does not guarantee you a platform from which to spout historically inaccurate, and downright racist bile.”

    What exactly was historically inaccurate about what Bill said? Let alone racist? He explicitly points out that the indigenous peoples had to deal with tremendous hardships at the expense of British Colonialism. He is also right in saying that this has long since ceased to be the case. There’s nothing inaccurate or racist about it.

    He also correctly points out there in a truly free and equal society, no groups should have special status. This is absolutely correct. At point point do modern day Canadians have to stop paying for what their ancestors did many years ago? Is it really right that modern day indigenous people are reaping rewards (in many forms) for the sins committed against their ancestors, long since deceased? These questions are valid and worth debate.

    The fact that these questions spark so much retort from the aboriginal community is evidence of the fact that truly neutral and transparent debate about the issues are not welcomed.

    • “He is also right in saying that this has long since ceased to be the case. There’s nothing inaccurate or racist about it.”

      So you admit you did not read my article, at all. I provide a number of links to examples to rebut the lie “this has long ceased to be the case”. Are the 60s, when indigenous children were removed wholesale to be fostered in white homes in the too distant past? The last Residential School closed in 1996, a year after I graduated from highschool. Still too long ago? Over 20,000 indigenous children are in the Child Welfare system, more than were ever taken during the entire Residential School era. The Kimelman report of 1982 stated quite boldly that the Child Welfare system as it operated then (and continues to operate today) is a form of cultural genocide. Is 1982 too far in the distant past now as well? There are many more examples I have given, and written in great detail about. The information is out there. Your ignorance is inexcusable.

      Bury your head in the sand, remain as ignorant as you like…but do not expect to be taken seriously.

      • Mark Borland says:

        So you admit that the LAST residential school was closed in 1996. That is the most recent wrong done against the indigenous people in this nation. So, for the sake of argument, let’s see what has been done in response to this last wrong by the Government of Canada.

        In 1998, the Government made a Statement of Reconciliation. A full apology was issued here and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation was created – a 390 million dollar project to fund community based healing for those affected by the residential school system.

        In 2005, a 1.9 BILLION dollars were given to tens of thousands of living former residential school students in compensation for the wrongdoings done against them. Individuals could receive nearly $300,000 in individual moments of abuse. The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations at the time himself said the package covers “decades in time, innumerable events and countless injuries to First Nations individuals and communities.” It was called a fair and lasting resolution to the residential school legacy.

        Even our most recent Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, issued a former apology as recently at 2008 for the past governments policies of assimilation.

        The wrongs done against aboriginals, while completely inexcusable and don’t right horrific, have been dealt with by the people in power, and compensated those involved in the only way they can, and apologized for these time and time again.

        How many more years of grovelling do you need? How many more billion dollar packages are you going to squeeze out of the Canadian government’s pockets? The VAST majority of people in this country have had NOTHING to do with the abuse against the aboriginal people. Yet still, ALL these peoples have contributed in compensating the wrong done to them.

        It’s over. The residential schools are closed. Discrimination has ended. The people in power have learned from their predecessors mistakes. What more is to be done other than remembering what was done and learning from the past?

    • korie says:

      thank you, you have spoken for many! Editorial comment, TRANSLATION, “I too am an unrepentant racist who enjoys engaging in intellectual dishonesty to claim natives deserve my racist views.”

  21. It’s easy to say “get over it” when one has not had to get over the issue in question.

  22. Christo says:

    “Hugh Nicholson is actively providing a venue for people like McRitchie and Olsen to basically engage in the popular Canadian equivalent of Holocaust denial.”

    It should be noted that, while the number of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust is accepted public-knowledge, the number of native Canadian children who died in residential schools is impossible to find.

    • In addition, the federal government continues to withhold thousands of documents requested by the Truth and Reconciliation to help get a better sense of those numbers.

      • Christo says:

        Don’t want to go on a tangent here. But what is the official figure. How many Native children lose their lives in residential schools? I have been asking around and have had no luck in getting an answer.
        What does it say about the country my parents immigrated to, that this figure is impossible to find?

    • Jim says:

      Indeed, it is a travesty that no one knows the true count of deaths amongst indigenous groups in North America.

      However, let’s not pretend that First Nations people are the only ones whose deaths are neglected. Millions of Ukrainians, Chechens, Armenians, Cambodians, Russians, Koreans (etc) have been slaughtered at the hands of governments, and we hear nothing about them. Not a single hollywood film, no museums, book tours, etc.

      The fact that you know about Jewish sufferings says much about the power and influence of that community. If First Nations groups had similar control over the film industry, newspapers and television, it would be much easier for them to tell their story. It is a story that deserves to be told. Sadly, they are locked out of many of the ways to disseminate information, as shown by this rather inaccurate and hurtful article in the press.

  23. C. McCorrister says:

    The Media (controlled by the white dominent society) continues to mask the injustices done to our people throughout history. It will not change, or very little over the next 20 years or so; then as I understand, white society will become the minority in North America. Only then, will there be meaningful change (including true justice) and through time, they too, will face reality….

  24. Kim Weaver says:

    I just arrived home from a trip to find your excellent blog. It is interesting the offensive article is not to be found now and, there appears to be no apology from the Nanaino Daily for airing such nonsense.

  25. Cat says:

    Canadian history professor here officially adopting term “Colonialism Denial” for my own and my colleagues and the journalists and the Canadian government’s disinformation campaign. Also considering using phrase “Colonizers’ Anonymous” to help myself and my settler students see ourselves as deeply embedded in but not ultimately controlled by a big, old, sick system.

  26. Thinker says:

    You people call yourself Canadians? You viciously attack this man for what posting what? A article on his views on the First Nation entitlement issue. This is disgraceful, he even made mention at the end that he would support the culture. The culture isn’t about benefits, so stop calling him a racist you ignorant people.

    Do I agree with him? By now if your not fuming or thinking I am some bigot maybe you can think clearly, I do believe that First Nation groups are entitled to some sort of comprehensive payments/treatments because you cant ignore what happened BUT the way that you people go about bashing and slandering this man for being a, “racist”, makes me wonder what country I am in.

    TL;DR: First Nation culture has NOTHING to do with entitlement/benefits and calling him a racist because he dose not believe in the system is extremely ignorant thinking.

    Also to the author, seeing your responses to people calling them lazy, pathetic, dishonest. You are a terrible person and I hope karma gets you because the way you treat anyone that disagree’s with you on this article is downright disrespectful and rude regardless of your race.

    • I don’t call myself a Canadian. My people never consented to become Canadian, and were met with vicious force.

      His opinions are rooted in racism. Whether or not he considers himself to personally be a racist, is irrelevant. I have explained how his revisionist sense of history has been proven to be inaccurate by people much better versed in the history of colonialism in Canada. He can air his ignorance, as we can air our disgust that such ignorance remains so common.

      I have no intention of remaining polite with people, like yourself, who merely come here to rant and rave and not address any of the actual arguments presented in my articles. You are not entitled to space on my blog, and if you engage in dishonest, lazy, pathetic whining, I will gladly call you on it.

      You have not offered a single argument here. This demonstrates you have no intention of engaging the issues. Thus, you are not welcome to comment again.

    • korie says:

      many natives do not call themselves canadian…so should they be able to hold a canadian passport or be granted any social programs that are from the government of canada! kinda hypocritical, isn’t it? I once read an anthropology paper about the human slave trade within the mohawk tribes, spoils of war as it was described. the well written article was by a iraquois woman, a show about how the natives committed crimes against themselves and even cast themselves into classes. any response to this?

      • The sad hypocrisy of your position, is that the wealth of Canada is derived entirely from the natural resources and lands stolen from Indigenous peoples. Canada relies almost exclusively on the primary resource industry and always has. Without those resources, there would be no social services of which you speak. Of course, you want to claim those riches as if you created or earned them, rather than admitting to the genocide and theft, and continued aggression and colonial expansion against Indigenous peoples. All of which you personally benefit from as a ‘Canadian’.

        The largest welfare line in existence is peopled by Canadians, and it is entirely funded by the lands and resources of Indigenous peoples.

  27. john lavers says:

    deaths in residential schools are only one issue, but an important one. it is important to note that the government and the directors of these schools knew exactly what was happening. after the Bryce report (dr. Bryce was the medical superintentant for the schools) it was acknowledged that death rates were above fifty per cent in 1908. dunan Campbell scott, the then director of indian affairs wrote publicly that although the death rates were in excess of those in the villages, the result was justified , because the schools would bring a final solution(his actual words) to the indian problem, german fascists when looking for examples of the elimination of a minority population hit on Campbell’s remarks. south African architects of apartheid studied the Canadian reserves and residential schools as a model for apartheid.

    because of the public and government support to the system there were no significant chnges to the schools until the sixties, except there was widespread illegal medical experiments done on the children.

    if the figures are every released byt he Canadian government it is going to be appauling.

    my bigger concern is that there maybe the wish for reconcilliation but there has been no truth yet. Canadians should be gratefull that natives are in the main very forgiving. if this happened to white Europeans there would be war and violence without respite

    thanks for postingall this

  28. Melvin Buxton says:

    Edit: This commentator is apparently a racist troll. So sorry, you don’t get a platform here.

  29. Searcher for Truth says:

    i have read that it was illegal for a native to have over a Gr 8 education but cannot find any source for this. I did find a reference that a ‘few natives were allowed an education over Gr 8′ but without any further info. If this info is true when did it end?
    Can you or anyone else provide a link to the facts on this? I’d love it for the times when I’m surrounded by ignorant whites blaming natives for not ‘bettering themselves’.
    Thank you for helping me understand and educate myself and others.
    Great blog btw!

  30. RexRegicide says:

    Sins of the father. What tripe. They won’t suffer for the sins of their fathers, but they are quite willing to benefit from them.

  31. Duncan Nixon says:

    Thank you for your blog and most particularly your passion. I would refer anybody interested to go to urbandictionary.com and look up racist. I also would urge people to recognize the difference between “belief” and “opinion”. I suggest (while not subscribing to any religion) that the Pope’s recent “opinion” does not impact his “belief:

  32. Nedra McKay, BSW, MSW says:

    I don’t understand how a people(s) (majority Canadian society – primarily English & French) do NOT understand that their position of privilege comes from OUR lands & resources! Look around you – EVERYTHING the settler people have gained in the new world comes from resources and lands of others. Not only here but all over the world. How can a people intent on destroying everything they touch believe that they are entitled to it?! No matter my Aboriginal brother and sisters…A Mohawk woman once said it to the American Senate: ‘When the last fish has been eaten, when the last tree has bee cut down and the last waters poisoned…only then will they understand that they can’t eat money.’ ((I had to paraphrase – I couldn’t remember the exact quote) This unabashed greed that is so strong within them will come back to bite them in the final end. Until then, we teach our many children. We aren’t going anywhere – THIS IS OUR ANCESTRAL HOMELAND!
    I would also like to point out that the apprehension of Aboriginal children into the provincial Child welfare system is at 52% in BC.
    Further, we received the right to vote in federal elections in 1960.
    We received the right to go into bars, go to university, join the army, and individually own property in 1951 with an amendment to the Indian Act.

    Signed,
    Warrior Woman

  33. jimmy drake says:

    Edit: “waaaa you natives are so racist against us poor oppressed whites!”

  34. l84ad8 says:

    Thank you for this impassioned, well thought out blog and responses. Students really need this information as they are at a place to learn about the real truth and current situation of Indigenous/settler relations. At least it has the termites poking out of the wood they are gorging on.

  35. Bruce Weaver says:

    Today Dr. Mosby spoke at U of Guelph: “Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942-1952″
    He documented many of the abuses committed by Govt and scientists on children and adults in both residential schools and northern communities. He cited evidence that all the schools were supplying starvation rations or worse to the inmates. He concluded by emphasizing that , though these events occurred in the past, the damage is ongoing and lasting, because of both nutritional trauma and by the generational gaps in culture caused when so many children were lost to their communities fro as much as 10 years.
    He noted as well, that it was well known in native communities but it was only when a white, male, professor spoke out that the news made the mainstream press. He made a plea for other researchers in the room to be active in pointing out these colonial attitudes and doing further research. He says that there is much more in the archives to be brought to light and that we need to put pressure on the Govt. to expand the TRC’s mandate to do that research and report on it.

  36. Bruce Weaver says:

    If anyone has more information on ” vitamin biscuits” that were given to school kids in the Arctic settlements in the 1970′s, please contact me. Dr. Mosby is quite keen to dig into this.
    Thanks,
    Bruce

  37. Glen Douglas says:

    its all about land and resources. The Canadian govt. and corporations as well as the U.S.A and the same for South America will sell it, exploit it etc. to the highest bidder which at the moment is China and a few others. Oh and pollute it . The war and genocide against Native people and the earth continues to this day. The day it stopped you ask? Please the wars and battles to defend native people and the earth mother are on. We will stand strong and resist the sick ones who seek to destroy all.

  38. Bruce says:

    Ahhh kweyas kakiyaw oma kamasinaman apihtawikosisan iskwew. ! nista kinanaskomitin ohi kakiyaw kamasinakateki. Akameyimotan takam pikiskwestamaswiyah. Kasawemkosin miyayawin, ekwa anihi kakiyaw kitehiya kakiwapatakik. kaya wikatch ekwa pometan. kiyam, wetina pikoskwattotan.

  39. Bill says:

    So all I see is a bunch of people bitching, with no proposed solutions. I guess if everyone left and the land was all yours it would be a perfect world. Does anyone have a realistic workable solution, when even the First Nations Movements cant agree and fight amongst themselves. I am all for a fair workable change, but no one seems to have any clarity on how to do that. The problem is your own leaders are stealing from your populace, so how are you better than these colonialists???

    • You see what you want to see. There are plenty of resources on this site pointing to concrete suggestions and plans to move forward, and no false unanimity among all First Nations is needed to implement these strategies. Of course, you will not expend one iota of energy to educate yourself or even view these resources, because your massive sense of entitlement has you believing that unless someone else does all the work on your behalf, chewing up concepts and regurgitating them back for you like a mamma penguin, then you’ve been ‘proven right’ and you can just go on believing your own bullshit.

      Which is of course, an example of the privilege you have been afforded, as a Canadian. You don’t have to do anything at all to change things, because the things needing changing benefit you directly.

      • Christo says:

        “The problem is your own leaders are stealing from your populace, so how are you better than these colonialists???”

        For one, after so much injustice, the native rights movement in Canada has been overwhelmingly peaceful, conciliatory and trying to appeal to reason and a people’s sense of justice. Isn’t time we listen?

        Baseless allegations that all or most native leaders are corrupt is nothing new and a common tactic to deflect responsibility. It’s an idea that has unfortunately stuck in the public.

  40. parentassets says:

    WOW. All I can say is OMG. Having been present at the Reconciliation WAlk- my self, the experience was moving- being part of a ” new history” beginning perhaps for all people in Canada. It is sad that the things I heard thirty years ago,when I immigrated to Canada, are still being “Said”: They are “LAzy” ” depend” on Govt. and ” the silliest one: ” they do not have culture- just a drum and a rattle”.. The writer can come to my Grade four class and ” perhaps get a quick ” course” on how the Aboriginal people lived- used ” what we call science now” to catch fish- to use resources wisely,,,, I can go on and on. WE as canadians , have to ” unlearn” and learn about Our first people’shistory and ONLY then and let me REITERATE ONLY then we can ” REALLY MOVEFORWARD” WE CANNOT BE IDLE NO MORE- just watch it!

  41. In NATURE animals ADAPT or die out ! North American Example ? The once limitless flocks of Passenger Pigeons ….

    With humans the same rule applies …….. Example ? The Gaelic speaking Celts, once occupying about half of Europe, have vanished from Brittany, the Channel Islands, Wales, Ireland and Scotland …

  42. Things are beginning to change now we have ‘Fundamentalist GREENS’ with but three planks to their platform ….
    (1) Reduce the human overpopulation of Mother Earth by 99.9 %
    (2) Mandatory retirement for all at age 40
    (3) Mandatory euthanasia for all at age 50

    Canada would BOOM with YOUTH AT THE HELM of the ship of state…. Medical costs would be reduced with no old demented dunderheads in Government or Civic positions blocking progress at every turn …. Housing for all .. Minimum pollution … no over use of Natural Resources …..

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