Last thoughts (for now) on Indian Affairs at its worst
Say What? No. 1
I blogged yesterday about genocide and its potential link to the history of residential schools in Canada. With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set to begin hearings, I just wanted readers to understand it's not so unthinkable to link our own history ("to kill the Indian in the child") with the ignomy of genocide. However, punishment isn't the purpose of the commission and it doesn't look as if it's going to go in that direction, although there will be sworn testimony in these hearings to break the heart of a nation. As it should be. Broken hearts have been the special burden of aboriginal families for too long.
But last night I got home from Parliament Hill in time to catch the last few minutes of Stolen Children, the excellent documentary series on residential schools that's been running all week on CBC News. (Here's the link for the schedule.) The segment quoted a high-ranking Indian Affairs bureaucrat early in the last century talking about "the final solution" to what he and his contemporaries considered to be "the Indian problem." Their goal was assimilation until there wasn't an Indian left outside the context of mainstream Canadian society but this particular part dealt with a death rate of children in residential schools that was much higher than on reserves.
I turned cold to hear those words, the final solution, in a Canadian context - and filled with shame.
The final solution.
I don't know, maybe I was all wet yesterday to suggest it's for the best the commission's parameters appear to be narrow.
Say What? No. 2
The Assembly of First Nations has worked with Health Canada to set up a helpline for people requiring counselling over residential schools. I suppose the AFN knows what it's doing. Me, I'd want to stay as far away as possible from any agency, including Health Canada, that's any part of a government that caused the problem in the first place, however long ago.