pt 2 The Circle Game
jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Aug 31 17:36:52 MDT 1999
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
Part 2 of Excerpts from a Speech by Dr. Roland Chrisjohn on "The
Circle Game" given in Edmonton, Alberta (date unknown)
"...we must misunderstand Indian Residential School to the extent to
which we think that the pathology in the system lies within the
survivors of the individual survivors of the Residential
School experience. The pathology that you are looking for is not in
the pathology of the people who went through the experience, the
pathology is in the system of order that gave rise to that
Residential School, that saw it in operation, that put it in
operation, that thought it was a good thing, that patted itself on
the back occasionally saying: 'aren't we doing well by our brown
cousins?; we're bringing them freedom and we're bringing them into this
particular world; aren't we generous?; and all they are paying for it
is all of their land, all of their trees, all of their minerals, all
of their water, their freedom, their language, their religions, every
aspect of their form of life, that's all their paying.'
Now the fact that they didn't make that bargain, that they didn't ask
for that, means that well they are kind of stupid you know; they
don't recognize just how superior our way is. So even though they are
kicking and screaming, we're going to do for them. There's the
patriarchy, there's the patronizing aspect of it. The "Therapeutic
State" will constantly congratulate itself that it's doing good as it
is doing the most horrendous thing.
...the extent to which we ourselves as First Nations People have continued
task, by not examining those kinds of questions, by accepting that
the problem is our own individualized pathology, by running all kinds
of workshops where we'll say 'we'll let's get together and we'll hug
a lot and this will overcome what happend to us in the Residential
Oh, I'm sorry, it is a political problem, it is a legal problem, for
the churches and for the Government of Canada, it's also a financial
problem, because they've got mighty big bills to pay if the Canadian
public begins to realize what what done to human beings in their
name. This is one of the reasons you won't find the United Nations'
Genocide Charter inside history books, textbooks and in Canadian
schools because the Canadians don't want to tell their people what
they've been doing in their name. They don't want to see, starkly, in
Article Two and Article Three, what their responsibilities were as
human beings, and how, the acquiesence to the Residential School,
even if they never even heard of an Indian or ever saw an Indian, how
they were implicated in the crime as well--by their governments, by
They don't want to hear about that, so we don't put this in the
textbooks. We don't put in the textbooks what Canadian
responsibilities are in terms of language, religion, education, our
educational rights as human beings on this planet. Where they say
'oh, well, we don't have enough money for that. You want to have your
own Indian university or you want to have your own Aboriginal research
center, we'll, there's just not enough money.' Well, that's a
violation of the Common Law of Nations that Canada is signatory to.
Their avoiding their responsibilities and they're covering-up by
putting over it all the veneer of the "Therapeutic State."
And God help us; a lot of us are involved in that "Therapeutic
State." We sit down and we do not go into the grounds of what's going
on, why is this happening, what are the historical backgrounds for
this. One of the wisest things Dr. Szasz has ever said is: 'the
libraries are open, go and read, you want to find out about this
There's nothing here in "The Circle Game" that's esoteric; we didn't
have to burrow into the national archives late at night and come out
with secret scraps of paper. Everything we've got is public, and open
and available. But we've got blinders on, and the blinders are 'oh
well Indian people are suffering and we've got to deal with that.'
I'll tell you. Give us back all the land, gives back the payment for
everything stolen, meet your obligations under the Treaties and I
will see how many of us are still sick. Even if we are sick, we have
the right as sovereign people to decide what we are going to do about
it--not accept Health and Welfare Canada's pronouncement that 'it's
twenty sessions with a psychologist and you're out the door, that's
it, you're cured.'
These are part of our sovereign responsibilities. We do not need
research; we need to think clearly about these issues. I come to a
conference like this and I hear people saying 'there aren't any
practical suggestions. Well, I'm sorry, when Dr. Szasz says that 'you're
not fighting facts, you're fighting ideologies', that's what we have
to understand. The philosophy that stands behind what was done to us
in the Residential School is the philosophy that stands behind the
health and welfare cuts, stands behind the dismantling of the
educational system in the Province of Alberta and so on and so on.
We have to understand that ideology. We're not doing any of that as
we sit around hugging each other saying 'oh, you had a bad time and I
had a bad time too.'
We should be madder than hell about this; and we should be doing what
Dr. Szasz has been doing: educating people about the history, the
background, the ideology, the commonality of experience that is
involved in this.
There's a part in "Schindler's List" which is the most horrible part
of "Schindler's List" of a most horrifying movie, that's a moment that
all of us have to say to ourselves 'this is to be avoided entirely.'
It's that moment when he has to stand there and say to himself and
say to the people around him, 'I could have done more.' If we go to
our graves and we say to ourselves 'I could have done more', I call
myself a healer, I call myself a therapist, and I could have done more,
then we're gonna relive that horrible moment in "Schindler's List"
over and over again, and we're gonna be doing it while we smile and
while we pretend that we're being generous and honest and open with
the people who have come to us for help.
That, will be another crime against our own humanity. thank you.
transcribed by Jim 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
capital and deserves much the higher consideration." (Abraham Lincoln)
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