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 Human history is full of dark passages, some of which are exposed to the public but many are kept hidden. The genocide inflicted upon millions of indigenous people in Canada is a disgraceful page in the book of history.

Numerous resources and means were adopted to justify a systematic genocide against aboriginal people. This northern American country, well known as a democracy, is rarely looked upon from a critical perspective. When going through the true history of this country, however, many points will draw attention to the inhuman manner in which outlanders conducted their dealings with the native residents.

 Prior to the European invasion of Canada, aboriginal people lived throughout that region. The native population at the time was estimated at around two million people. This number was reduced by 85% when the “civilized” world came to the North American continent. By 1910 in British Columbia, the native population decreased by 20,000; ninety-eight percent of the west coast natives had been killed by then. The remaining population was forced to adopt a European way of life and saw their cultures and roots being destroyed.


Frequent deaths of First Nation children at Canada's residential schools

According to comprehensive researches conducted by independent groups over the course of several years, particularly one titled “The International Tribunal into Crimes of Churches and State & the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared” Canada's history is full of purposeful genocide and massacre, which has been wiped clean from public record and consciousness until recent years. This research reveals that “every level of government in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, every mainstream church, large corporations and local police, doctors and judges were all involved in this purposeful” Canadian Holocaust; invasion, brutalities, abuses, killings and massacres against native residents of this land all constitute a dark chapter in the history of mankind.

 The research reveals that contagious diseases, many intentionally introduced by Europeans, caused a near annihilation of most of the indigenous people, so that, by the 19th century, only 10 percent of them remained. Later, the Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes in this province, commonly known as the Gradual Civilization Act, was passed in the Legislature of Upper Canada to eradicate indigenous people through enfranchisement; any grown native man would be “eligible” to become a “regular British subject” by demonstrating that he could read or write English or French and manage his own affairs in a sober and orderly manner. He would be required to change his name to one approved by the government. In addition to the humiliation of forced cultural assimilation, native men who went through this “civilization” process (and by extension their wives and children as well) would forego any claim to a share in the land or money that belongs to their tribe, in exchange for a small parcel of land or its equivalent price. A similar measure of forced cultural assimilation was carried out by the Roman Catholic Mission; it was established to replace those Indian chiefs who practiced traditional native spiritual beliefs, with Catholic-controlled leaders. This model was later used for Indian residential schools. The policy of these schools was to forcefully remove native children from the cultural influence of their families in order to achieve their assimilation into the dominant Canadian culture.

  As recent as the 20th century, a federal law passed in Canada, making it mandatory for every indigenous child to be incarcerated in Indian boarding schools, now called residential schools. The death rate within these Indian residential schools exceeded 50 percent and the victims and their corpses vanished. Those innocent children, forced to reside in residential schools, were killed by beatings and torture. The Department of Indian Affairs, in collusion with Catholic and Protestant churches, applied a master plan through which employees of the church and the government intentionally exposed aboriginal children in residential schools to tuberculosis and other diseases. Yet, another inhumane act passed to massacre indigenous Canadians was the Sexual Sterilization Act, which mandated the involuntary sterilization of aboriginals in Canada.

 The Indian Act  is a law that has put all aboriginal people under the control of the Canadian federal government. This Act was enforced in 1876, just nine years after the establishment of the European-based government on aboriginal lands, and gives that government control over almost every element of native life: Indian status, land, resources, wills, education, band administration and so on. While this Act has undergone many amendments, its earlier versions were clearly directed at assimilating First Nations. For example, any aboriginal who sought to earn a university degree would lose their Indian status; aboriginal women who married non-aboriginal men would receive the same treatment. The Canadian Government also prohibited traditional practices of Aboriginal people.

 “Early laws forbade treaty Indians from leaving allocated reservations. Starvation and disease were rampant. Indians were denied the right to vote. Religious and social traditions, like the Potlatch and the Sun Dances, were outlawed. Children were taken from their parents and sent away to residential schools where they were forbidden to speak their native languages, forced to wear white man’s clothing, forced to observe Christian religious practices, and not infrequently subjected to sexual abuse,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin .

 The Indian act enabled the Canadian government to establish some schools under the name of residential schools to make aboriginal children forget their mother language and culture. Many of the students were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse and, from 1879 to 1996, an estimated 50,000 of them were murdered in this forced assimilation process. The blame for these killings rests equally with the Church and the government; the government provided the legitimacy of law, while the abuses were carried out under the Church’s supervision of these schools . These residential schools actually constituted the death camps of the Canadian Holocaust. A 2013 report brought to light forensic evidence proving that 50,000 innocent children were buried at the oldest Indian residential school in Canada .

  Students at residential schools were totally deprived of a normal family life as they passed 10 months each year in these schools, away from their parents. Some schools operated year round; thus, forcing children to stay there a full year. The only means of communication, between the children and their parents, was through letters that had to be written in English--a language their parents didn’t understand. The parents of these children were not even notified about the death of their dear child .

 In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally apologized to Canada's Aboriginal Peoples for the government’s policy on the subject of wiping out the North American native culture . This apology, however, was extended while the crimes of murdering native people and discrimination toward them is still rampant in Canada.

 “The most glaring blemish on the Canadian historic record relates to our treatment of the First Nations that lived here at the time of colonization,” said Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

 Residential schools were based on racist views that held aboriginal children incapable of passing even the elementary levels of education. As a result, most of the students under this system never managed to go beyond elementary school. Corporal punishment was widespread and this way of discipline was often turned into physical abuse. Even though corporal punishment is employed much less frequently in Canada today, surprisingly it is still legally permissible in schools.

  “...the Canadian federal government passed legislation in 1920, making it mandatory for all native children in British Columbia - the west coast of which was the least Christianized area among aboriginals in Canada - to attend residential schools, despite the fact that the same government had already acknowledged that the death rate due to communicable diseases was much higher in these schools and that, while there, the native children's "constitution is so weakened that they have no vitality to withstand disease". (A. W. Neill, West Coast Indian Agent, to Secretary of Indian Affairs, April 25, 1910)

 That means that the Canadian government officially forced the attendance of the aboriginal peoples in residential schools exactly at a period when there were reports showing that the number of children dying in those schools were at its highest. The death rate in residential schools stood at 40% by then, according to Indian Affairs officers like Dr. Peter Bryce. Although other facts exist that point to the genocidal intent of the European occupiers toward the North American native people, this statistic alone is enough to support that a genocide has actually taken place in this region.

 Another European genocidal intent against the native people manifested in the involuntary sexual sterilization of native men, women and even children. This inhumane act was legalized in provincial laws ratified in Alberta in 1928 and British Columbia in 1933. Sexual sterilization was performed in residential schools and Indian hospitals: the doctors who performed it received $300 for each aboriginal person they managed to sterilize .

 According to Christy White, a former employee of the R.W. Large Hospital, where a large number sterilizations were performed, all records showing the federal payments destined for the sterilizations at the hospital were destroyed in early 1995, shortly after the “official” Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into west coast Indian residential schools was opened.

 Even as these lines are being written, aboriginal women and girls have a four times greater chance to get murdered or go missing, compared to non-native Canadian women, although aboriginal women constitute just 4.3% of Canada’s female population. Currently, there are 1,200 documented cases of women who have gone missing or were found killed in Canada; if we add the undocumented cases of murder and abduction this number will stand at 4,000 people . Canadian activists have collected 4,232 names of killed or missing native women . The Canadian justice system has responded inadequately to this issue; this system is pursuing an active victim blaming attitude, which has contributed to a culture enabling Canadian men to kill and rape native women with impunity.

 Aboriginal people were used as slaves in the past and are being used as slaves in the present time. Aboriginal men are trafficked internally for forced labor while native girls and women are subjugated to commercial sexual exploitation  with no judicial prosecution against these crimes. A 2009 report by the University of Ottawa has discussed in details about the particular ways aboriginal women are abused in sex trades under heavy exploitative circumstances . There are many personal accounts of survivors of this horrible trade that is quite shocking . Besides, another report in 2014 by Native Women’s Association of Canada has also provided a more comprehensive picture of sexual exploitation and trafficking of aboriginal women and girls in Canada .

 There are many issues to consider when we examine colonial violence and the socio-political heritage it has left for the Canadian government. When colonial powers set foot on the North American continent, they started to occupy land that belonged to the aboriginal people and that was how Canada was formed as a country. In order to establish a country, the British and French colonialists started to disconnect native people from their territories; they attacked aboriginal women because they were at the heart of this connection. That is how killing aboriginal women in Canada got started, and continues to this day. That tradition is woven into the fabric of Canadian society .

  Although there has been an official call for a national inquiry into this horrible crime against Canada’s minorities, but judging by past unimplemented recommendations, this action seems to be another empty promise to take a step for amending the relation between the state and the native population. The Canadian government itself should be held accountable for being the driving force behind this colonial violence against women. Canada’s failure to uphold the rights of its minorities has led to international scrutiny that confirms this as fact .

 Undermining minority rights in Canada is not limited to the killing and abduction of native women and girls, but the entire Canadian socio-political system is wrought with racism against these people; industry, education, healthcare, child welfare, social services and the prison system are all full of examples of their racist approaches. Canada’s prison population has currently reached unprecedented levels  as the prison industrial complex is forming in Canada with the help of American companies. In the neo-liberal ideology now dominating the western world, minorities have always been viewed as cheap laborers whether outside prison or incarcerated due to minor charges.

 The standard of living of Canadian Indians is currently sixty-fourth in the world, a standing that places them before Mexico and Thailand. Today, Canada’s native people suffer from high rates of poverty, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and limited access to health care. Aboriginal people living in urban areas are more than twice as likely to live in poverty compared to non-native people. The unemployment rate among aboriginal people is more than double of that seen in the white population. High school graduation rate among Canada’s aboriginal people is 50%, while this rate stands at 70% for white Canadians. This gap widens when we talk about the number of people who attend university; 15.4% of Canada’s non-native population compared to only 4.4% of native people, considering the fact that the native population comprises only 4.3% of Canada’s population.

 Canada is among the richest nations on the planet, and this status is in part achieved through the theft of native lands and resources. Canada’s native people are three times more likely to be victims of violent crime [23]. Although they currently make up only 4.3 percent of Canada’s population, Native Canadians comprise 18% of the inmates in federal prisons and 50% of prisoners in Prairie Provinces. New statistics point to a rising incarceration rate among native people; in January 2016, a quarter of federal inmates were native persons [24]. This is the result of a racist criminal justice system which has an attitude of incarcerating native people at two times the rate of non-native people for the same offences . The crime rate in Canada is seeing a downturn but the number of aboriginal inmates has gone up .

  The new Canadian prime minister had as a key part of his political campaign the support for the First Nation, promised an investigation into the genocide of aborigines in the country, if elected. The new Canadian government has merely displayed gestures of good will towards the Aborigines with no concrete action taken as of yet, say some analysts.  A shocking number of indigenous women go missing and become victims of homicide each year. The new Canadian PM has also ordered a probe, however, indigenous families believe investigations are inadequate. The Canadian Minister of Indigenous affairs has also accused police of failing to investigate thousands of murders of aboriginal women, whose deaths were wrongly classified as suicide, accidental, or by natural cause according to their families. Another fact that points to Canada’s hatred towards its native population is the more recent school shooting in Canada’s Laloche aboriginal school, where the shooter was a white Canadian [30]. This piece of news is among many other similar cases, despite the fact that school shootings are generally rare in Canada. But when it happens, it happens at an aboriginal school.






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