So Canada is apparently tongue-tied about the Missing Women’s Inquiry Report  admitting that it was “genocide” (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mmiwg-inquiry-deliver-final-report-justice-reforms-1.5158223).  All kinds of experts are stepping forth to say this is not genocide,  Their main argument is that it was not “intentional”, and Canada is the land of well-intentioned people. 

Well, in my experience the old legal axiom always holds true: “Silence is approbation”.  All kinds of respectable Canadians commit genocide everyday, mainly by turning a blind eye and being silent. And that is deliberate hypocrisy.

When I was a a little boy growing up in Duddy Kravitz’s Montreal, my “Indian” friend” Donald taught me on a summer day to roller skate in the hollyhock lanes of “Little Italy.”  Donald was good at roller-skating – he knew all the “tricks” and taught me to jump and even back-flip – though I landed on my arse and he picked me up.

Donald was a cousin to my then best friend Randy, He often came to visit that summer about 1960 or 1961 when all the parents were busy talking about building bomb shelters  “if things got out-of-hand in Cuba.”   Randy, Donald and I even built one in the fields of Villeray, though a good rain would have collapsed it!

Donald came from the Kahnesetake “Reserve”, or as we knew it then, “Koknewaga Reservation.”  I quite remember going out across the bridge to go play in the Third World across the bridge.  And I especially remember his family’s kindness to me.  I remember baseball, canoeing and looking for frogs and turtles in the marshes along the St. Lawrence and his father’s stories about working on high bridges.

One following summer I never saw Donald again. Randy told me he had lost both his legs in a boating accident, and there were problems in the home, so we could not go there.  In the dark murmurring that followed, I remember over-hearing my mother, who was a head-nurse at L’Hopital Jean-Talon, say to my father: “If Donald had been a white kid, they would have saved his legs.”

That was my reality check.  The rules are not applied equally in Canada.  The rules have been deliberately iniquitous, discriminating against certain segments of society, in particular “native Indians , never from India -always from an unceded Turtle Island actively being destroyed and developed by “the right people.” – And there are people “in the way.”  As in all wars children were molested, taken, ill-treated and women raped.  Of course none of this was intentional… it “just happened” and nobody knew about it.  Well, – for the record- I was first aware when I was 10…. So please cut the crap.

That memory has stuck with me for 60 years.  The unfairness of it all surges over me every time I feel the freedom of roller skates.   Since then I have taught “native rights” at UBC, and done work in native communities. There has never been any doubt in my mind, that our treatment of native peoples and cultures, and their relationship to the land has been so-far at odds with our callous disregard for their rights, that it constitutes a tacit intent to eliminate their reality from our “reality.”  I’d have to be stoned not to see it, every day.

You bet there is “GENOCIDE” in Canada.  I am glad that after 60 years women had the courage to say it publicly, if only for the memory of my childhood friend. And I hope this shakes the foundations of this silence!

 

And a shame on all men who were, and continue to be silent.

 

Loys Maingon