“‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian’ has been changed to ‘The only good Indian is a Non-Indian.’”
That’s how Pierre Loiselle of the non-profit group Praxis Media sums up the shift in policy regarding Canada’s “Indian problem.”
Praxis Media, in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group, has developed an audio documentary entitled Hoping Against Hope? The Struggle Against Colonialism in Canada. It will be officially launched January 27 at Dalhousie University.
Hoping Against Hope intends “to ring the alarm about the fact that Canadians are complicit in such crimes as linguicide, historicide and genocide of indigenous peoples as a result of our government’s Indian policy,” according to Dave Ron, the director of NSPIRG.
Ron cites the ongoing stand-off at Six Nations in Caledonia, Ontario, as testimony that “Canadians are still unprepared to face the effects 500 years of cultural and historical genocide have had on First Nations.”
Loiselle feels that the Canadian government has replaced overt warfare with assimilation in order to rid the land of aboriginals. He finds it ironic that “people in Canada these days are, rightfully, increasingly concerned with the injustice and occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, but are, by-and-large, clueless about the occupation and colonial boot we have on the necks of indigenous nations here at home.”
The documentary features controversial University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill. Churchill will be in Halifax this Saturday to speak at the launch, on the topic of “Affirmation as Denial: The Case of the ‘Postcolonial’ Colonial.”
The author of Indians Are Us and A Little Matter of Genocide, Churchill gained fame in 2005 over his essay, Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, in which he argued that US foreign policy provoked the 9/11 attacks. The real ire was raised when Churchill questioned the innocence of some of the victims, stating, “They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire, the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of US policy has always been enslaved and they did so both willingly and knowingly.”
Churchill also has a controversial connection to Halifax: in 2005, critics uncovered allegations from 1997 that an essay credited to his research organization, the Institute for Natural Progress, plagiarized the work of Dalhousie University professor Fay Cohen. Dalhousie concluded that Cohen’s work had been plagiarized, but Cohen waited eight years before passing those findings on to Churchill’s employer, the University of Colorado.
This appearance will mark Churchill’s first visit to Halifax since Dalhousie’s findings were passed on to Colorado University’s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct.
Hoping Against Hope? The Struggle Against Colonialism in Canada launch. Saturday, January 27th, 6:30pm at Dalhousie’s Ondaatje Auditorium, 6135 University Ave, free.
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