Genocide? Misses the mark

The government released its final report on “The National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls [MMIW] on June 3, 2019.

According to Edmonton Sun columnist, Lorne Gunter, they have made it much harder to reconcile Indigenous and non- Indigenous Canadians by insisting on using the politically charged term “genocide” not once but numerous times in its final report.

I totally agree with him.

There was no attempt to deliberately exterminate Indigenous women.

To me, genocide is when one group of people set out to completely exterminate another group of people like Hitler was doing with the Jews.

In many ways, this report is a whitewash.

It does not really reflect what went on.

Because of how our previous governments have treated and managed these people ever since Canada became a nation, they have been treated as second class citizens by our society.

For this reason, the Indigenous people have never received the respect they were entitled to by the rest of our society.

There seems to be an attitude that they are expendable.

By repeatedly using the term genocide in the report, it leaves you with the impression that the harm was all caused by the rest of our society when nothing could be farther from the truth.

According to the information I have, Indigenous men were the cause of 70 to 80 per cent of the murdered and missing Indigenous women.

I have not actually read the report, but I watched many reports about the various hearings that were held across the country.

Not once did they report that Indigenous men were responsible for many of these deaths.

That would not have fit with the narrative that this government wanted to communicate to the rest of us.

You can be sure that the report from these hearings was intended to make the Liberals look like the great saviours of the Indigenous people in this country.

While this issue is a national tragedy calling the issue of the MMIW genocide will not solve the problem especially since the report does not acknowledge that their own people were directly responsible for much the violence suffered by these women.

As well the RCMP were complicit in not treating these women the same as other women in Canada.

The Harper government had many requests to authorize an inquiry into the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women.

Stephen Harper refused to do it because he knew that it would not achieve what it was supposed to achieve.

The government already knows what the real problem is, but successive governments have been unable to solve the problem.

In spite of the 200 or so recommendations in this report, it will not really remedy the basic issue.

When the Europeans discovered North America, they just moved in and occupied the land.

There was no formal negotiation or agreement with the native people at that time as a right to control or govern the territory.

However, there were native people living all over the continent, and they could not be ignored, so after Canada became a formal country, something had to be done.

So what was done under the auspices of the British Crown was to negotiate treaties with the Indigenous people and they were allotted parcels of land called reservations for them to live.

This hopefully would put them out of sight and out of mind.

The reservations were a communal system where everyone owns everything, and no one owns anything except their own personal chattels.

This made them second class citizens on their own land and until there is a major change wherein they have the same property and participation rights as everyone else in Canada, many of them will continue to live in poverty and will still be vulnerable to the exploitation that has gone on for generations.

 

by Herman Schwenk

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