From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Torture and Canada's Colonial Legacy

Far too many Canadians are blind to our colonial past, many willfully so, but nothing demonstrates our colonial legacy as the residential school system does.

Case in point: they were taken away from their parents at age five or six for 10 months a year. They were forced to eat vomit, subjected to sexual and physical abuse and put in an electric chair.
“The little ones first,” recalls Edmund Metatawabin to the Wawatay News in July. “And I was, I think, about number seven or eight, meaning I was one of the smaller ones.”
The children sat on a wooden seat with their arms strapped to a metal chair. A Brother held a wooden box with a crank ready to send the electric charge.
“Your feet is flying around in front of you, and that was funny for the missionaries,” Metatawabin says. “So all you hear is that jolt of electricity and your reaction, and laughter (of the Catholic school administrators) at the same time. We all took turns sitting on it.”

 Think about that folks, we snatched kids from their families and tortured them in the name of assimilation, stripping them of their language and culture.

It will take much more that a mealy mouthed apology from the PM to address the great harm we have wreaked on the indigenous peoples whose land we stole and profit from to this day.

When we look at the issues facing First Nations today we must always view them through the lens of our colonial past and present. These issues just didn't spring up in isolation, they are a direct result of our actions as such we have a huge debt to repay.

Sadly we have a government that believes the opposite, doubling down on the amount of pain we can inflict. Even sadder I see little hope that any subsequent government will do anything meaningful to provide redress, at least until we as a nation face up to our colonial legacy.


  1. "Whom the gods would destroy, they would first make mad." .... And, then, of course, there was the sadism of religious freaks with total power over young bodies and minds.

    But we're still doing it today. The goal is to starve them off the reserves. They're under siege. They're like little castles under siege, trying to hold out while supplies dwindle.

    "Canada" is trying to force them to surrender their separate status and sign-over to the capitalist system, the rights to all the lands and resources that they have a claim to.

    We can't, in this day and age, directly attack them or starve them. So we bureaucratize the process. Drag it out under a veneer of "failed policy" and sit patiently for the long-game to play out.

  2. Yep, that is exactly what is happening thwap Just look at what they did to the food mail program. Much easier to rape the land when it's unoccupied