The national day for truth and reconciliation was Thursday in honour of what the indigenous people of Canada have had to put up with from other Canadians. From news reports I saw there was a lot of throwing around of the word genocide, a word I’ve only come around to agreeing with in the last few months.
First of all, it isn’t Hitler’s genocide. In a handful of years, he had killed so many Jews and others in his death camps that they were almost completely decimated in Europe. Hitler’s genocide was a fast genocide. And it involves killing, lots and lots of killing. If you are Jewish you were killed rather quickly.
But no one is comparing the plight of indigenous people today with the plight of the Jews in the time of Hitler. The only thing they share is the word genocide. Genocide means the extermination of a whole people. To see why the word genocide is correctly used, let’s look at the things indigenous people of Canada have suffered through.
It is common knowledge in North America that indigenous people were given smallpox contaminated blankets to help decimate their population. While it was only documented to have happened once (around present day Pittsburgh), the idea was in the air and may have happened many times.
Unwarranted sterilization has been used against indigenous women. Obviously if this had happened everywhere there would be no indigenous people left in Canada.
Then there are the residential schools. Where indigenous children were taken from their families and forced to live in the residential schools, far from home. They were treated brutally at these schools and some say that many were beaten to death. All under the umbrella of making the indigenous more Canadian and losing their culture. Certainly many died there as shown by the number of unmarked grave sites at some of the schools. The total of unmarked grave sites now is 1300 but there will be many more as the vast majority of the sites have yet to be inspected.
About half of the kids in foster care in Canada are indigenous. This, when they make up less than 10% of the child population. All this while foster care is alleged to be in shambles and really is a broken system. With no back up, a lot of these children end up offending and getting a criminal record.
It is said that foster care is the new residential school. It directly takes children away from their families. And usually it ends up isolating the indigenous from their original culture. It works as cultural genocide.
Then there are the Beothuk indigenous of Newfoundland. They are gone without a trace. That nation of indigenous people is already completely gone.
Anyhow, I think all these points end up showing a genocide by a thousand cuts. Or a slower genocide. The first three points show genocidal tendencies of indigenous policy in Canada and North America, The second last one was only cultural genocide. If we keep up these horrible policies, In a thousand years there will be no indigenous people left in Canada. That is how it is genocide. It must stop.