07 June 2021

Culpability for genocide, necessary changes, and reparations

To the Honourable Raj Saini,

I am distressed at the ongoing public talk of a national day of mourning for the recently found indigenous kids whose mass grave is adjacent to a residential school near Kamloops. Those are not our deaths to mourn; those children were there to die as a matter of long-held and determined policy, one recognized for its genocidal intent as it was made and as it was enacted.  Calls for an official public show of settler grief are entirely too much like a murderer demanding to give the eulogy at their victim's funeral.

The appropriate response is not some show of distress; it is to end, by whatever sufficient and immediate means comes to hand, the long-standing genocidal policies which the government of Canada continues to maintain.

That would mean, as a beginning, several obvious immediate things:

That the government of Canada acknowledge its long term culpable guilt for having engaged in genocide in the matter of the residential schools in the process of dropping its appeal at the Human Rights Tribunal. (Not sole guilt; there is plenty enough guilt to go around, and some approximation of justice or at least cost needs must be visited upon the entirety of the guilty.)

That the government of Canada comprehensively dissolve and abolish the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, with the entirety of those now employed by that ministry leaving public service, never to return while their lives last.  It is clearly not possible for this department to depart from its genocidal origins, and structural reform having been found obviously and demonstrably impossible, it must be abolished.

That the government of Canada immediately make it materially established that no settler interest possesses any unilateral rights to any portion of indigenous land, any more than some other level of government could properly unilaterally occupy Queen's Park or the National Assembly.  Whatever is required of Her Canadian Majesty's treasury and armoury to promptly establish this must be expended.  (This would include an expeditious change to whatever legislation as would be required to have the courts place indigenous concerns, environmental concerns, and questions of distributed harm universally and absolutely ahead of any questions of notional economic benefit in the form of specific profits.  It's easy to profit if you're permitted to loot, yet the general cost, borne by all of us, greatly exceeds any profit so obtained.  Environmental looting is a practice we should all do well to end.)

That the government of Canada, while negotiations to establish the amounts and schedules of necessary reparations to the surviving indigenous peoples are ongoing, provide per-annum funds in the amount of one percent of the Canadian GDP to the indigenous peoples of Canada.  While it is clearly beyond the powers of the Government of Canada to provide for the living conditions of indigenous peoples however the law might oblige them, it seems plausible that many of these difficulties can be addressed directly by those indigenous peoples should such funds become available.  (Nor does it seem to me that a one percent land-rent is especially much, considering.)

This coming century shall be a grim time, no matter what we do to begin to redress our folly now.  It is still better to stop doing what we ought not to have done than to continue.

I hope and expect you will find it in yourself to be a voice toward doing what is needful.


Graydon Saunders

[address redacted]


Display Name said...

1% might not be enough.

Graydon said...

+Display Name
Indeed it might not.

Enough is a political question, and not mine to settle. In the meantime, it seems unlikely that 1% would be too much.