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Grief and rage: let this be a spur to education and action

Posted by Rebecca Kneen on

The affirmation of long-known history this week has been hard to hear for everyone, but we have to hear it. And not only hear it, but act.

Lowering flags is not enough. Apologies are not enough. The Canadian flag is a symbol of stolen lands and forced assimilation. It is the symbol of a government that has had a program of genocide (when over 50% of the unwilling residents of a government institution were killed and hidden, that's genocide). Lowering that symbol still claims sovereignty over stolen lands.

What's needed now is the removal of the flag, and the cessation of claims of crown ownership. What's needed is actual enactment of the guidelines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Clean water for everyone, decent education, a stop to the criminalization of those on the front lines of land defence, decriminalization of indigenous peoples in general, and giving land back.

Let your horror, grief and rage over the deaths of children in residential schools be a spur to action. There's lots everyone can do. Talk to your politicians, your neighbours. Make sure everyone knows this horror and feels it in their bones, so that it never happens again. We cannot let the abuse continue.

Essential Reading (aka. the very incomplete Decolonization Reading List)

The meta-list: where we gathered our list, check out even more resources
Truth & Reconciliation Commission Report into Residential Schools (multiple documents); on the same site, see historical documents including the original Indian Act and a turn of the century report into abuses at residential schools.

Reclaiming Power and Place The Final Report of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Art Manuel - Unsettling Canada A National Wake-up Call
Art Manuel - The Reconciliation Manifesto Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy
Art Manuel, Taiake Alfred - Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization
Chelsea Vowel - Indigenous Writes A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada
Gord Hill - The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book
Dee Brown - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee An Indian History of the American West
Gary Geddes - Medicine Unbundled A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care
Lee Maracle - My Conversations with Canadians
James Daschuk - Clearing the Plains Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life
Howard Adams – A Tortured People: The Politics of Colonization
Jodi Byrd – Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism
Glen Coulthard – Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition
Iyko Day – Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism
Sarah Deer – The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America
Vine Deloria Jr. – Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
Frantz Fanon – Wretched of the Earth
Mishuana Goeman – Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping our Nations
Sandy Grande – Red Pedagogy
Lee Maracle – I am Woman
George Manuel – The Fourth World: An Indian Reality
Albert Memmi – The Colonizer and the Colonized
Pamela Palmater – Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens
Jemima Pierre – Reconciliation is not Decolonization
Unsettling Canada 150
From The Ashes    by Jesse Thistle     Metis/Cree  autobiography Remarkable recovery from drug addiction and living on the street, to professor at York University!
Indian Horse   by Richard Wagamese    novel about residential school experience
Five Little Indians   by Michelle Good  residential school - following lives of five kids   2021 Governor General winner!

 

Essays:

Harsha Walia – Decolonizing Together: Moving Beyond a Politics of Solidarity Toward a Practice of Decolonization
Pamela Palmater, Canada 150 is a celebration of Indigenous Genocide https://nowtoronto.com/news/canada-s-150th-a-celebration-of-indigenous-genocide/
Russell Diabo, Don’t be fooled by JT’s Charm Offensive, http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/2017-03-23t000000/dont-be-fooled-trudeaus-first-nations-charm-offensive-liberals-real
Christi Belcourt, Open Letter re: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry – http://christibelcourt.com/open-letter-to-chief-commissioner-marion-buller-national-inquiry-on-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls/
Arthur Manuel, Until Canada gives our land back, there can be no reconciliation, http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/views-expressed/2017/01/until-canada-gives-indigenous-people-their-land-back-there-ca
Cindy Blackstock, One Year Later Liberals Still Discriminate Against First Nations Children, http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/blackstock-one-year-later-liberals-still-discriminate-against-first-nations-children
Kanahus Manuel, Indigenous Perspectives of Canada 150, http://aptnnews.ca/2017/05/17/indigenous-perspectives-of-canada-150-infocus/

Action Options

Donate: (again, a very partial and biased list)

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