A few key events in my life are listed below. When I first heard about Residential schools I said “Yah that was a problem”, I was thinking about my little sister who died in a residential school. So I was confused when it was raved about as an Indian problem. And that is when it began, as I looked into the situation of Indians in Canada I found their suffering is no different than anyone else’s. That is not to deny it, just to say, yes they suffer, no more or less than anyone else.
That is my basic thesis.
So it begs the question: What is the business case for the Canadian government to give this issue so much attention. Justice? For no one can be so nieve to believe they actually care about the Indians, yet the entire focus of the CBC and every second pathetic Trudeau apology seems to be about Indians. The tendency in governments is to act in the interests of the financial sector with a revolving door to an entrenched bureaucracy. What is their cut? How are they benefiting from a focus on suffering of Indians and thier empowerment?
~In 1960 my little sister died in a Canadian Residential School. I was six years old and she was 3.
~She had Downs Syndrome and was taken from our home.
~Children in Canada with Downs Syndrome are killed in the womb
~That is a real genocide, unlike the claimed genocide of Indians in Canada that never happened. In 1900 there were 100,000 Indians, today a million.
~My native language Plautdietsch and my culture was not taught in Canadian Schools.
~My peoples history while a part of Canadian history is not taught.
~Truth is no one is responsible to preserve my heritage or language certainly not the government for me or anyone else.
Beatings in School
~In Ottawa in Kindergarten I witnessed children being strapped; in later years I witnessed both physical and mental abuse by teachers.
~Every school in Canada had physical violence before 1960 “Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” Bronze age thinking affected us all.
~If you want to understand the genocide of the Huron understand the Mohawk killing of the Huron or the Inuit killing of the flight of the Athabaska and Woodland Indians.
~The only genocides of Indians were by other Indians.
Suffering of peoples everywhere is real. Their is no special patent on pain or exploitation. Much of the native narrative in Canada is based on exaggeration and misinformation. An apology is certainly in order but not the way the CBC reports it.
The Replacement of Canada’s Tribes
There is not one story of replacement of the tribal peoples of Canada. Moving from the East to West there are half a dozen major groups and half a dozen unique stories. The groupings tended to migrate, enslave each other, and their relative prosperity varied with the land they occupied. They came in contact with western societies from 1000’s to the present.
Geology of Canada
To understand Canada is to understand our geology; vast expanses of rock and muskeg. For millennia Canada was under a mile of ice, then rushing water, drought, meteor impacts and volcanic activity has shaped this country. Mostly not suitable for human habitation, with a usable land mass akin to the area of France and England combined. Ninety five percent of us (95%) live within 100 miles of the US border simply because north of the 50th parallel is mostly not suitable for human habitation without massive inputs of fossil fuels.
The First Immigrants
5,000 years ago most of Canada was uninhabited. In the last few hundred years the Mohawk and Inuit immigrated and the Metis were created. Their rights enshrined in the constitution though lacking in historical or aboriginal legitimacy. The Plains Cree an amalgam of those that moved north from the US for protection by the British Crown and Woodland Indians that moved south from the Canadian Taiga for trade, both fought with the Blackfoot that were in place. Immigration or migration is part of all peoples history, everywhere.
Physical, DNA and Oral tradition evidence suggests their were 3 first peoples.
With one exception Europeans never made treaties with nations, rather they made treaties with tribes. In the context of the development of the concept of the nation the “first nations” developed in Europe from 1750 to 1850. Many scholars have noted the role of printing in the development of the nation state. Lacking a written identity the tribal peoples of Canada had no concept of themselves as a nation, and were therefore not capable of the thought without the appropriation of the idea from Europeans.
Diseases of Trade
There is no scenario where tribal peoples of North America would not have been damaged from first contact with Smallpox and Influenza. When these diseases first encountered Asian, European and African peoples due to expanding trade they killed 40% of the Asian, European and African populations, how are tribal people in North America different? The history of disease is a common history that Indians, Asians, Africans and Europeans share.
The rights of Indians vs Settlers
Canada is a divided country, divided by an apartheid. The Indians with more powers and the settlers with less. In the eyes of the courts Indians have always been equal but with distinct and special rights for Indians that settlers simply do not have.
Canadians have paid out billions in land claims since 1970 to various bands. Most are poorly managed by tribal chiefs with no democratic accountability to their people. They are essentially payments to third world petty dictators who often exploit their people, and sell offresources cheap.
Some land claims are real, some are bogus. The claim of the Algonquin to the Ottawa valley is one of the bogus claims. That bit of history here.
Making tribal cultures illegal
Non Democratically elected Chiefs, the ritualized child torture of the Sun Dance, the debt bondage and murder of the Pot-latch, slavery as a way of life for a quarter of the population and cannibalism, yes the culture of the tribal people of Canada was made illegal. Thank goodness it was. The dismal state of many cultures in the 1400 and 1500’s were due to ignorance and cruelty. This is true of the tribes of Europe, Africa and North America. Thank goodness it is behind us for now and lets have no romanticism.
Canada’s shame of Slavery
Slavery amongst Canadian Indians was widespread and despite propaganda to the contrary was not a kind and gentle form of slavery. It was enforced with torture and was humiliating to those enslaved. The effect of inter generational trauma on the survivors and the effects of ritualize torture, the humiliation of forced servitude and confinement is well studied and requires no speculation. Perhaps this is on of the truths that needs reconciliation.
Murdered and Missing
The numbers do not add up, yes people get murdered and yes they go missing, and yes highways are dangerous places to hitch-hike in Canada’s north and the US south and everywhere in between. The numbers of Indian women killed every year are so small that the numbers do not statistically demonstrate that they are murdered in numbers that are any different for other Canadian women, which incidentally is at a rate much lower than Canadian men.
The institutional care for the huge numbers of abandoned tribal children was not something we volunteered for. It was a necessity due to the large numbers of abandoned children, partly due to tuberculosis which was widespread in Canada in the 30’s to the 60’s for all Canadians.
Residential schools were a treaty requirement insisted upon by tribal chiefs. This “forced” education brought their society from the stone age into the modern age and is one of the reasons we have so many well educated Indian Lawyers, Doctors and Marketing professionals today.
From 1850 to 1950 we had institutions for children with down syndrome, WW1 and WW2 war vets suffering from PTSD, Mental patients, Delinquent children, Abandoned children, and yes tribal children who were born into the stone age and were struggling to come into the radio age.
Culture is fluid, it changes. If you look at any culture from the 1400s it had been killed off by the culture of the 1600’s and that culture was killed off by the culture of the 1800’s, and so it is with the culture of the new millennium. Every culture, of every people, everywhere is improved by change, to call that change, from primitive to secular scientific genocide is to desecrate a word that describes a human atrocity and to play upon peoples emotions for your own gain.
When Indians cry out in despair, they are crying a universal cry for all humanity. They are not unique. All cultures have changed dramatically over the last 500 years.
When something is labelled cultural appropriation it is usually a power play by one culture attempting to shame another culture to achieve a level of control of the narrative.
It is no coincidence that the word appropriate means
1:As an adjective: suitable for an occasion, a person or place.
2: As a transitive verb: to make use of objects or elements of a culture in a way that differs from their original meaning. It includes dress, dance, tools, technology, language or whatever a person decides is their culture.
Appropriation of another culture, be it dress, language or technology is always appropriate. This is the essence of learning, progress, advancement and change for the better. It is a twisted logic, the worst form of selfishness to scream cultural appropriation especially for a culture that has gained so much from other cultures. Things like the wheel.
Who is Aboriginal?
Short answer, all of us. We all belong on this planet. We should all strive for freedom as opposed to building walls with labels. In a 1800s world with a a technology divide between Europe and Primitive peoples the term “aboriginal” had meaning.
In a world where technology is easily appropriated and accessible even by those who do not understand it, the term has lost its meaning. Is it right for one race to define itself first, or superior? I believe aboriginal is just another word for state sanctioned blatant racism. But then I think nationalism is just state sanctioned racism as well.
On Squaws, Eskimos, “discovered graves” and tainted blankets; the need to develop an identity of victim hood with special labels and a unique suffering is all about gaining power over another group or preparing a group for other uses. It starts with special labels and picks up ridiculous claims and the special end use is fascism. It is a well worn play book throughout history and one must wonder why the CBC plays along.
In 1870 Bakunin noted “Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretence, a fraud, a lie.” Perhaps that was the idea in mind when land settlements were seen as a way to improve the economic lot of an isolated rural people.
The residential schools were built at the insistence of tribal chiefs, made a treaty requirement by the same chiefs. That simple reality a desire for the education of their people is twisted into a narrative of oppression. That false narrative repeated until it is a narrative of hopelessness and anger. At that point the people not longer strive for freedom but revenge.
When practical organization is ignored and governments stop focusing on the freedom of its citizens and start trying to shape their citizens there will then be a need to rid itself of its old self, it does this with propagandising a false narrative. This sort of movement holds a following not because it advocates self-advancement, but because is responding to a carefully crafted narrative of victim hood, shame and self loathing.
The True Believer
Eric Hoffer laid out a roadmap to Fascism using this strategy, 10 steps to harness a negative energy implanted in a people:
1: Create an oppressed class.
2: Offer a false narrative of suffering, never inculcate freedom.
3: Reinforce the narrative of a wasted life, full of shortcomings.
4: Reinforce an Identity, it is the passion for anonymity
6: The anonymity is appealing to hide the newly implanted inferiority
7: The frustrated, oppressed will see themselves limited by their shortcomings and blame their failure on existing structures.
8: Those structures become the target as the newly oppressed strive for power to oppress others and to seek revenge
9: Reinforce the ideas of and insist on equality more than freedom.
10: The innermost desire becomes to end all freedom, the competition the lack of a safe place, now fascism is ripe.
This false narrative goes hand in hand with large corporations supported by and manipulating corrupt governments. Without controls on the size of enterprises there is no economic freedom to develop your own enterprise and there is no political freedom. Economic freedom created by small business is the only remedy for political tyranny. As long as economic equality is a sham political equality will be a sham and mass propaganda exercises like the truth and reconciliation commission will continue us on our path towards a fascist theocratic state.
Weird Sly Kip August 2022
Vandals knocking at my door, debris piled at my front step. Minor acts of terrorism. The police will do nothing. Another ineffective big city solution having lost its intended purpose.