FW: [PEN-L:9684] "The Circle Game" Part I

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Aug 31 17:35:15 MDT 1999

James Craven
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
blkfoot5 at earthlink.net
*My Employer Has No Association With My Private/Protected

-----Original Message-----
From: Craven, Jim [mailto:jcraven at clark.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 11:17 AM
To: 'pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu'; 'marxism at lists.panix.com';
'warriornet at lists.speakeasy.org'
Subject: [PEN-L:9684] "The Circle Game" Part I

Part I

The following are exercepts from a Speech by Dr. Roland Chrisjohn,
member of the Iroquois Confederacy (Oneida), Healer ("Psychologist")
delivered in Edmonton, Alberta (date unknown)

..."Residential schools were one of many attempts at the genocide of
the Aboriginal Peoples inhabiting the area now commonly called
Canada. Initially, the goal of obliterating these peoples was
connected with stealing what they owned (the land, the sky, the
waters, and their lives, and all that these encompassed); and
although this connection persists, present-day acts and policies of
genocide are also connected with the hypocritical, legal and
self-delusion need on the part of the perpetrators to conceal what
they did and what they continue to do. A variety of rationalizations
(social, legal, religious, political and economic) arose to engage
(in one way or another) all segments of Euruocanadian society in the
task of genocide. For example, some were told (and told themselves)
that their actions arose out of a Missionary Imperative to bring the
benefits of the One True Belief to savage pagans; others considered
themselves justified in the land theft by declaring that the
Aboriginal Peoples were not putting the land to 'proper' use; and so
on. The creation of the Indian Residential Schools followed a
time-tested method of obliterating indigenous cultures, and the
psycosocial consequences these schools would have on Aboriginal
Peoples were well understood at the time of their formation.
Present-day symptomology found in Aboriginal Peoples and societies
does not constitute a distinct psychological condition, but is the
well-known and long-studied response of human beings living under
conditions of severe and prolonged oppression. Although there is no
doubt that individuals who attended Residential Schools suffered, and
continue to suffer, from the effects of their experiences, the tactic
of pathologizing these individuals, studying their condition, and
offering 'therapy' to them and their communities must be seen as
another rhetorical maneuver designed to obscure (to the world at
large, to Aboriginal Peoples, and to the Canadians themselves) the
moral and financial accountability of Eurocanadian society in a
continuing record of Crimes Against Humanity.

I'm not denying that people in the Residential Schools--some of
them-- are having troubles today. But I don't want to talk about the
pathology, the alcohol and drug abuse, and the suicide of people who went
to Residential School when that takes us away from talking about the
real issues, and that is,  what are the political, the economic and
the legal ramifications of what occurred to First Nations People in
these schools. We keep talking about how sick we are but we never
ask: how sick were these people who created these things? Why is the
sickness on our side? Why is it we have to prove how sick we are in
order to get something done about these kinds of things?

I was in a room, early on in the Royal Commission work [Royal
Commission on Aboriginal Peoples], and everybody was telling me oh,
well,  all this great work you are going to do, that is going to talk about
healing and the therapy that is necessary with Residential Schools.
And I'm looking around, there's a former Supreme court Justice,
there's a lawyer, there's another judge over here, there's another
person with legal training who has written law books or whatever,
they're sitting around telling me all of this and I said "it sounds
like I'm in a room with damn psychologists." In a room full of judges
and lawyers does nobody recognize that crimes have been committed
here? And why aren't we talking about crimes? No, no that's not even
a fit topic for conversation. What we have to talk about is how sick
the damn Indians are; and well we are going to take care of them.

Right. Let's see how that game works; how the "Therapeutic State"
works here. Well the Indians are sick, so do we  do? We're going to
take some money, we're going to give to  largely, white, anglo-saxon
protestant Eurocanadian therapists, and they're going to visit with
these people for 20 fifty-minute hours, after which time they're
going to be cured. So isn't interesting that we're going to transfer
white people's money from one pocket to another pocket and we're
going to call  this 'money spent on Indian People.'

The same game is being played in the education system. Where what we
do, is if weve got a child with some difficulty with education, we
send them to a psychologist, and in the Province of Alberta, that
psychological assessment costs $4,500. That's $4,500 that goes from
the Federal Government to the pocket of a white, anglo-saxon,
protestant psycholgist who writes a report and says 'kid is not
learning very much.' Oh, well thank you for clearing that up. That's
$4,500 that is counted as 'money spent on Indian Education', but it's
money that we merely get to authorize the transfer of from the
Federal government to the private pockets.

Now does anybody point out, does anybody wonder that the fact that
the assessments are not validated, the statistical properties are not
established for First Nations children, means that such an assessment
is an ethical violation of Canadian and American psychological
testing standards? Oh, no, nobody bothers to bring that up; there's
money to made here.

Notice what happens, when, uh--Dr. Hanson  was saying about blame the
victim-- look at how the system reacts to a child who is having
difficulty in school: there's got to be something wrong with the
child. We can't ask the question: Is it possible that maybe there is
something wrong with the curriculum?; Is it possible that there's
something wrong with  the way that  the structure of learning is set
up so that  some idiot stands up in front of a large group of people
and talks, so somebody hears a loudspeaker, and everybody else is a
tape recorder, and this is how education is supposed to behave? This
is how it is supposed to take place?

We're not allowed to inquire into the dynamics of the educational
system. What we have to do is  accept that there's something wrong
with us. We're the problem. The Residential School does exactly the same
thing: the treatment of alcoholism as a disease that First Nations
People have as a genetic thing or learned behavior that we don't seem
to be able to get around. Time and time again, the same process is
taking place, and that process is, let's not ask about the systemic
kinds of things, let's not ask about larger factors, let's not ask
about other responsibilities that may  be entailed, let's find
what's wrong with the specific case, what's wrong with the Indians in
this particular instance."

transcribed by Jim Craven (end part 1)

 James Craven
 Dept. of Economics,Clark College
 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd. Vancouver, WA. 98663
 jcraven at clark.edu; Tel: (360) 992-2283 Fax: 992-2863
"The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards Indians; their land
property shall never be taken from them without their consent."
(Northwest Ordinance, 1787, Ratified by Congress 1789)

"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of
and could not have existed had not labor first existed. Labor is the
superior of
capital and deserves much the higher consideration." (Abraham Lincoln)

*My Employer  has no association with My Private and Protected Opinion*

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