Friday, May 31, 2019


The National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women will report that the thousands of indigenous women murdered and vanished in recent decades is a "Canadian genocide."

The report, obtained by CBC News and verified by sources, concludes that a genocide driven by the disproportionate level of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls occurred in Canada through "state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies." 
"We do know that thousands of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) have been lost to the Canadian genocide to date," said the report, titled Reclaiming Power and Place. 
"The fact that First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis peoples are still here and that the population is growing should not discount the charge of genocide." 
The report states that "due to the gravity of this issue," the inquiry is preparing a "supplementary report on the Canadian genocide of Indigenous peoples according to the legal definition of genocide," which will be posted at a later date on the inquiry website.

To some, perhaps most, genocide is a deliberate policy of a group or government seeking to exterminate a race of people. We think of the Holocaust or the mass slaughter of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda. Does this tragedy rise to that definition? Not really but the Inquiry uses a different definition of the term.
"Genocide is the sum of the social practices, assumptions, and actions detailed within this report," the report says. "The national inquiry's findings support characterizing these acts, including violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, as genocide."
That we have failed indigenous women is inarguable. That there was an effort to exterminate them, that's a reach. I hope we don't get fixated on arguing that point.


Anonymous said...

That we have failed indigenous women AND MEN is inarguable. That there was an effort to exterminate them, that's a reach.
I hope we don't get fixated on arguing that point.

Why we have failed, when and how, and the disparity between 4,000 and 479, is a somewhat different kettle of fish.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, I wish I could believe that we had leadership with the vision to solve this. I don't. I guess we'll have to wait to read the report's findings and recommendations.

Troy said...

It's an interesting application of the term Genocide. This is very new literature though. A term for what is being described hasn't even been invented yet (genocide is a relatively recent term, too), so using an existing term like Genocide is probably necessary until a new term describing what has happened and what is happening is eventually created when the mountains of research being currently conducted are eventually published.

It's post-genocide or latter stage genocide. Much in the same way energy doesn't really disappear, it just changes form, the energy that fueled the Genocide of residential schools is still "hanging around" Canada. Indigenous women are either victims who are worthy of "saving", and pushed through the social welfare system, and then once women "fall" out of the social welfare system (which is inevitable), fall into the prison system (Red Women Rising, 2019). Well, unless they're victims of murder or simply disappear, in which case they become statistics in the eyes of Canadian institutions. Institutions don't have to do anything about those.

Consider what happened to the United States after the conclusion of the Civil War. Briefly, freed men gained political power, and had some semblance of self-determination. However, there was push-back from the Southern states in regards to limiting black men's power, and then the USA moved into the Jim Crow era. Jim Crow was repealed, and now the USA has moved into the Prison State era in an effort to restrict black people's power.

Perhaps there's some sense of Canada moving in a similar direction, especially if the Conservatives are re-elected. The Commissions final report should have a major impact on court rulings and government agencies policies in an effort to pre-empt Andrew Scheer/Tom Flanagan policies.

Anonymous said...

In order to move on we need a leadership on both sides; Indigenous and, lets say, Colonist's.
Unfortunately, the truth is rather unpleasant and thus unpopular in both camps.
To say it bluntly: Indigenous people were colonized, dispossessed and then forcibly integrated into a much robust, and advanced by millennia, white civilization.

Northern PoV said...

Like others commenting here I am skeptical of " but the Inquiry uses a different definition of the term."

Compromising our language this way is like a engaging in a bidding war on victimhood and is very counterproductive.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think once the report is released we can just take it on its face and not get derailed by squabbles over the use of this word. A lot of us have a sense of what has happened but very few have solutions. There's a rich history of reports simply shelved to gather dust.

John B. said...

Out of respect for the dust on the old reports and the 2SLGBTQQIA we won’t comment until all the governments have had their ceremonies and the final paycheques have been cashed.