Residential schools

Craven, Jim jcraven at
Mon Aug 21 17:30:04 MDT 2000


There will be a Tribunal of the Blackfoot Nation upcoming dealing with
genocide (the word never used by anyone but Roland), residential school
atrocities and how and with what ugly consequences the ugly "past" is alive
and well in the present. Some other issues and struggles have delayed this
Tribunal but Blackfoot, as a sovereign nation by any criteria that might
make Canada or the U.S. "sovereign nations", have every right to conduct our
own Tribunals under aboriginal law and employing such precedents (e.g.
Nuremberg etc) and international conventions as Blackfoot see fit and

The Tribunal will be conducted as a sacred event with no grandstanding,
self-promotions, networking or anything else detracting from its sacred
mission. Respected Elders of the Siksika, Akainai, Northern Peigan and
Southern Peigan Tribes will sit as Judges and all concerned parties will be
invited to make their submissions.

The churches, so concerned about going bankrupt (they went morally bankrupt
long long ago), want "reconciliation" without prior healing; they want phony
healing without justice; and they want phony and convenient "justice"
without truth. They are all of a sudden so interested in "Truth and
Reconciliation Commissions" where there are no monetary damages, no
penalties for perjury etc.

In Aboriginal Law, there are five sacred mandates each a prior condition for
the next: without TRUTH, there can be no JUSTICE; without TRUTH and JUSTICE,
there can be no HEALING; without TRUTH, JUSTICE and HEALING there can be no
climate conducive to the further search for TRUTH; from TRUTH TO TRUTH in a
sacred (non-linear and non-reductionistic) Hoop.

Although Blackfoot are involved in civil litigation as many are poor and
have ongoing costs associated with the terrors of the Residential Schools,
Blackfoot no more seek "Truth and Justice" in Canadian or American Courts
than a Jew would seek Truth and Justice in a nazi court; and we do not even
recognize any Canadian authority over Blackfoot as hundreds are
demonstrating by refusing to accept or carry the new Canadian "Status

This battle is part of a much larger war and its has just begun. Notice the
framing of the question: Should the Churches go Bankrupt? How about should
poor Ted Bundy lose his carefree lifestyle? Or, like someone who goes out
and gets doped up and causes multiple deaths and then says well I just can't
give up my Mazzerati, Summer Home in Florida, my Chalet in Switzerland and
my multiple bank accounts--but I really am sorry...

Jim Craven

James Craven
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
blkfoot5 at
*My Employer Has No Association With My Private/Protected
"I am aware that many object to the severity of my language;
but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth,
and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not
wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation. No! No!
Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm;
tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the
ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from
the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use
moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest--I
will not equivocate--I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single
inch--and I will be heard."
(William Lloyd Garrison, Abolitionist, on Slavery, 1831)

-----Original Message-----
From: Louis Proyect [mailto:lnp3 at]
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2000 9:37 AM
To: marxism at
Subject: Residential schools

Yesterday afternoon subscriber Roland Chrisjohn was interviewed on Canadian
Broadcasting's radio show "Cross Country Checkup". The show is on their
archives at: (I had a
little bit of a problem with my RealAudio hookup. If you have any yourself,
contact me for advice.)

Even though the show's host is a typical public broadcasting nitwit, it is
worth putting up with her and the church officials who were interviewed
along with Roland because it is a good introduction to the issues. At the
turn of the century, as part on an attempt to gain control over indigenous
land and assets, the state and the church set up residential schools where
everything distinctly Indian was either taught to be rejected by Indian
children or beaten out of them, if they refused to go along.

In recent years, the truth about these schools have come out. Consequently
there are civil suits that threaten to bankrupt the churches, which was the
focus of the show: "Is it fair to bankrupt churches to pay for past
wrongs?" As one phone call put it, who cares if the church is financially
bankrupt if it is morally bankrupt to begin with. Roland deserves a medal
of honor for putting up with the thick-skulled interviewer. I urge folks to
check out the show and to read portions of Roland's book on the residential
schools titled "The Circle Game" online at I just reviewed
the print version for "Dark Night Field Notes" and can tell you that it is
essential reading for anybody interested in these questions which should be
anybody opposed to genocide.

Louis Proyect

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