Monday, May 17, 2021

Jorge Barrera - Canada aimed to 'destroy Indigenous people': The MMIWG inquiry's case for genocide

Continues today with over-apprehension of children, lack of police protection, report says

It was an "inescapable conclusion" that genocide was committed against Canada's Indigenous peoples, said Marion Buller, the chief commissioner for the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, during a Monday news conference.

That conclusion has been reverberating across the country since news first surfaced on Friday that the inquiry had determined that thousands of those women and girls were victims of a "Canadian genocide."

The final report said Canada, from its pre-colonial past to today, has aimed to "destroy Indigenous peoples."


Ahmed Fares said...

I've been on most of the reserves across four Canadian provinces, so I have some insight to what the problem is.

The first time I was on a reserve, my brother pointed to some nice houses. This is the chief's house, this is his sister's house, and so on. Really nice vehicles in front of them also. The rest of the reserve looked like a shanty town.

If the Canadian government tries to help the natives directly, they're accused of interfering in their affairs. If they give money to the band councils instead, the higher-ups take most of it.

It's not a solvable problem.

Marian Ruccius said...

I have not read the report, but this CBC piece seems to be settling on one aspect of the MMIW question -- past genocidal and quasi genocidal actions of the Canadian state. However, the real issue is what is being done today that is leading to the unacceptably high and formerly under-reported death rate and killing of Indigenous women in Canada.

I do NOT think that one can accuse the Canadian government of genocide, in any form, under its current or recent governments. However, many Indigenous people and peoples in Canada still live within a colonial structures. Getting out of these colonial and formerly genocidal arrangements is very difficult, not least because of the "regulatory gap" between federal constitutional "responsibility" for Indigenous people, and provincial control over natural resources, land, and most social and health services. Most provincial governments, and the Tory and Quebec nationalist provincial governments (i.e. the CAQ and PQ), do everything they can to undermine Indigenous title and rights. So that is the foundation of much of the injustices towards Indigenous people, who are also living with the legacy of cultural genocide and assimilatory policies. So, the killing of Indigenous women sits on top of this -- which accounts for the Indigenous portion of the killing (nothing sinister there -- as for other ethnic groups, the highest proportion of femicide occurs from family or other people who live close to the victims). What the MMIW also revealed, though, was the relatively higher level of stranger and "external" killing of Indigenous women by men from the broader population -- basically, on the one hand because of economic and social vulnerability, and the other because the perceived consequences of harming an Indigenous person have long been seen to be lower in parts of the (especially provincially-run portions of) Canadian justice system. So, we have a structure of true systemic racism in how killings of Indigenous women have been treated. This is horrifying, but not genocide, but it sits on top of a history of genocide. However, the Canadian state (and provincial states) can only act to reduce the present dangers and injustices. It clearly has a long way to go, especially in recognizing Aboriginal title and redressing the economic and social and environmental imbalances which disproportionately affect Indigenous people, and in rectifying inherent imbalances in the justice system, but the Government's actions could not now be fairly termed genocidal.

lastgreek said...

For starters, their ancestral burial grounds should not be expropriated by Canadian municipalities for golf courses.

Marian Ruccius said...

lastgreek: while there have been some recent disagreements at Oka, the Oka crisis is 30 years old. There are plenty of more recent examples to point to, such as the fisheries challenges faced by some Mi'kmaq communities.

Peter Pan said...

So they dropped the 'cultural' qualifier and went with genocide. I agree with Marian.

Marian Ruccius said...

Not exactly the same, but definitely related:

Ahmed Fares said...


Indian lands were stolen.

It's not as simple as that.

The labor theory of property (also called the labor theory of appropriation, labor theory of ownership, labor theory of entitlement, or principle of first appropriation) is a theory of natural law that holds that property originally comes about by the exertion of labor upon natural resources. The theory has been used to justify the homestead principle, which holds that one may gain whole permanent ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation.

In his Second Treatise on Government, the philosopher John Locke asked by what right an individual can claim to own one part of the world, when, according to the Bible, God gave the world to all humanity in common. He answered that although persons belong to God they own the fruits of their labor. When a person works, that labor enters into the object. Thus, the object becomes the property of that person.

However, Locke held that one may only appropriate property in this fashion if the Lockean proviso held true, that is, "... there is enough, and as good, left in common for others".

There's more at the link.

Labor theory of property

Just to be clear, I'm not saying I agree with the above given that I think land belongs to all people, but this is the justification the colonialists used when they came to the Americas.

As regards First Nations...

During the last ice age, when hunters and gatherers crossed the ancient Bering Land Bridge that connected Asia with North America, they carried something special with them in their genetic code: pieces of ancestral Australian DNA, a new study finds.

Over the generations, these people and their descendants trekked southward, making their way to South America. Even now, more than 15,000 years after these people crossed the Bering Land Bridge, their descendants — who still carry ancestral Australian genetic signatures — can be found in parts of the South American Pacific coast and in the Amazon, the researchers found.

"Much of this history has unfortunately been erased by the colonization process, but genetics is an ally to unravel unrecorded histories and populations," study senior researcher and professor Tábita Hünemeier and study co-lead researcher and doctoral student Marcos Araújo Castro e Silva, both of whom are in the Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, told Live Science in an email.

That would make the natives Second Nations people.

1st Americans had Indigenous Australian genes

Ahmed Fares said...

Further to my comment,

I found the article where I first read about this. It's much more comprehensive. Check out the maps.

First humans who crossed the Bering Strait some 15,000 years ago had indigenous Australian DNA that is now found in the bloodline of South America tribes, study finds

lastgreek said...

Thanks for the links.

lastgreek said...

Also, I should have said “systematic”

Peter Pan said...

Might explain why Aborigines were not even deemed worthy of a reservation system.

Tom Hickey said...

Ayn Rand builds on Locke's "theory" (just-so story) of property.

Tom Hickey said...

I tried to post a clickable link that was not accepted. Strange. That has not happened previously.

Marian Ruccius said...

I like Lars Syll's point that Rand was an insane racist:

Marian Ruccius said...

@ lastgreeek: I think we have to be a little less certain about that conclusion.

So, there were several instances of genocide, or attempted genocide, prior to the 19th century in areas now part of Canada. The destruction of the Beothuck, Champlain's unfulfilled plan to wipe every last one of the Mohawks (and he is probably the best and most open-minded of the settler gang), his collaboration with the Huron in entirely wiping out or enslaving an entire people (if my memory serves, it was the group the French called the Souris people), Cornwallis's attempt to exterminate the Mik'maq, and so-on.

And while the reserve system was not itself genocidal, it was explicitly imposed under the assumption that Indigenous people were "inevitably" due to die off and be replaced by Europeans. And of course, Canada's western treaties were negotiated in the contest of the explicit US plan of the 1900s to kill off all the Buffalo as a way of exterminating Indigenous populations. The residential schools were employed almost as a "mopping up" exercise, but the Indigenous peoples proved themselves more resilient than that. So saying that we never had actual genocide is rather dicey, I think. Canada came darn close, and there was a 30 to 40 percent death rate among children at many residential schools up until the 1920s. So when we say Canada was not genocidal, that may be strictly true, but its conduct was close to being so (quite apart from the cultural genocide actions).

Marian Ruccius said...

Marian Ruccius said...

Why So Many Children Died

Marian Ruccius said...

A discussion of the residential school graves and abuses by Murray Sinclair, the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC): really an important read for those who want to know a little Canadian history:

Marian Ruccius said...

Moving beyond belief

Ahmed Fares said...

We have to be careful of presentism. It wasn't like the rest of Canadians were living well.

But what is hardest to adjust to is the food. For the women of the family, each meal means hours of kitchen drudgery, and the family finds the end results bland and unsatisfying. To help understand the Campuses struggle, here are some things you should know about food in the '40s:

In 1941, only 21 per cent of Canadians have a refrigerator. A quarter of the population has an icebox; a small cupboard where foods were kept cold by a big block of ice, stored in a separate compartment. Just under half of Canadians have no refrigeration at all. What's more, only 40 per cent of Canadians have an electric or gas stove; everyone else uses wood, coal, or oil. More than a third of Canadians still don't have running water.

With meat being rationed and the choicest cuts being sent overseas to soldiers, organ meat becomes a key part of Canadian diets. Tripe (stomach), kidneys, tongues and livers all provided protein on the home front.

Canada isn't just feeding itself, but much of Britain, too. Britain gets an impressive 77 per cent of its wheat and flour from Canada. They also tap us for 39 per cent of their bacon and 15 per cent of their eggs. The US and Canada are also sending Britain nearly all of their frozen meat.

With all of that food going to the war effort, there isn't much left to go around at home. Canada is put on a coupon system which rations out meat, sugar, tea, coffee, butter and preserves. Rationing means that a portion of meat that might serve two people today would be stretched to feed a family of five. The government mandates meatless days at restaurants and limits what canned goods can be sold in stores.

Another way of dealing with rationing is to grow your own food. Canadians start growing Victory Gardens — small, urban vegetable patches — to help provide nutrition for their communities. By war's end, there are over 200,000 of these across the country.

source: Frugal kitchens, ice boxes and other reasons the '40s was a tough decade for foodies

Ahmed Fares said...

Also, evil does not exist.

“Evil does not exist; once you have crossed the threshold, all is good. Once in another world, you must hold your tongue.” —Franz Kafka

Ahmed Fares said...

Justin Trudeau demands Vatican APOLOGY after 215 children's bodies were found buried at former Catholic 'Indian School' where kids were 'assimilated' into society

Justin Trudeau has demanded an apology from the Catholic church after 215 children's bodies were found at a school for indigenous children it ran.

The Canadian prime minister suggested Friday that Pope Francis himself should say sorry following last month's discovery of the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia in Canada.

Trudeau said: 'As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the position that the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years.

'When I went to the Vatican a number of years ago I directly asked His Holiness, Pope Francis, to move forward on apologizing, on asking for forgiveness, on restitution, on making these records available, and we´re still seeing resistance from the church, possibly from the church in Canada.