Cultural genocide and how words really do not matter

I used to think that Ken Coates had a reasonable grasp on Aboriginal issues until the last number of years.  Today he writes in the G and M about the cultural genocide comments that Chief Justice McLachlin made about Canada’s cultural genocide against Aboriginal peoples. In this article he speaks of how “words matter” and yet he pens this passage “A shared understanding of what happened in the past – and a recognition of the lingering, multigenerational effects of colonialism, paternalism and racism – is only a starting point for real reconciliation and partnership.” Here we see the words “past” and “lingering” used implying that colonialism is over and that its effects are a mere hangover from overindulgence. Colonialism is not in the “past” with “lingering effects”. Colonialism continues to happen now with devastating effects across a host of vectors. These effects are not “lingering” but unjustly pervasive and active. One only has to look at the fraction of the 300$ million that has been spent to improve Aboriginal housing while some people on reserves continue to live in mouldy houses. One only has to look at how Aboriginal peoples are being surveilled and treated as terrorists for fighting for their land in the oil patch and in places like Elsipotog. One only has to look at the continuing over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in the criminal justice system. One only has to look at the inaction on the missing Aboriginal women. One only has to look at how successive gov’ts have used the courts to delay settlements of land claims thereby driving First Nations into debt to the very gov’ts who oppose them in the courts. It goes on and on. If words really mattered to Mr. Coates he would not have been so careless with his own. See the article at the link below:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/mclachlin-said-what-many-have-long-known/article24704812/

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About flexosaurus

I am an anthropologist and Associate Professor who loves to play guitar and comment on social injustice in whatever form it may take
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