Voices of the Dead, half-dead and "living" demand Justice

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Jun 27 18:03:36 MDT 2000

Hello Friends,

I have not been on the net for awhile as I have been deeply immersed in
international law and Nuremberg law/precedent in preparation for an upcoming
Tribunal of the Pikanii/Blackfoot Nation and have been asked by the
responsible Elders and authorities to act as a prosecutor instead of in my
usual role as a Tribal Judge. Specifically we aimed to marshall documentary
evidence, witnesses, testimonies etc related to the Residential Schools of
Canada and the Boarding Schools of the U.S. (prototypes for the Canadian
Residential Schools and never examined or acknowledged as instruments of
genocide) vis-a-vis Blackfoot Peoples and Communities affected by them.

I cannot add much to what Roland has written about the conference at St
Thomas and our activities at the United Church Convention in Fredericton as
as usual, Roland was so complete and eloquent in his comments and appraisals
of what went on at the St Thomas conference and at the United Church
conference (I somehow missed Roland's original missive and only today read
it). But suffice to say that without the delicious subversion and seizing of
a tremendous opportunity (to speak directly to the high muckey-mucks of the
United Church and their parisioners) by Roland and Andrea Bear Nicholas and
by the incredeible students like Pierre, Lisa, Andrea, Mark, Tanya and so
many others, we would not have had the effect that has taken place since
that event.

I came out with Amy Tallio, a Port Alberni survivor, presently a litigant
against the United Church who is from a family of five generations of
survivors of the Residential Schools. I know most of Amy's whole family and
know their stories and thought that she, most of all, would be an eloquent
spokesperson for the many victims, survivors and memories of non-survivors
of the Residential/Boarding Schools. Plus Amy wanted to come out and speak
directly to those in the United Church who had steadfastly refused to speak
to/acknowledge her and her family and felt more and more empowered the more
she took them on and spoke to them. In my own case, I know something about
the legacies of these "Schools" as my own mother was a victim of one of the
most notorious of the U.S. Boarding Schools--Fort Hall, Idaho, run by the
Mormons; also I have interviewed hundreds of Residential/Boarding School
survivors on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.

Because the Blackfoot Nation is indeed a sovereign nation by any criteria
and legal standards that any recognized nation employs to assert/defend its
nationhood/sovereignty (common territory, common culture and language,
common polity/political institutions, common history, common
economy/institutions, common mechanisms for determining
membership/composition of the group and plus or in addition, common blood)
and because, as Roland put it, just as a Jew cannot expect "Justice" in a
nazi court so an Indian cannot espect "Justice" in the courts of the nation
directing genocide and extermination of Indians, we will convene our own
Aboriginal Tribunals based on the five fundamental mandates of Aboriginal
Law: Truth, Justice, Healing, Reconciliation, Prevention of Future Abuse
which was also explained to the Moderator of the United Church the "Right
Reverend" Bill Phipps with whom we met several times for extended periods.

As we explained to the moderator (who said they were "not ready" or had a
"hard time" to use the word "genocide" (even after reading the UN Convention
on Genocide to him--himself a lawyer-- and even after reading passages from
Hitler's Secret Conversations where he says that his inspiration for what to
do with the "untermenschen" came largely from the U.S. Canadian experiences
dealing with Indians) we explained that without Truth there can be no
Justice; without Truth and Justice, there can be no real Healing; without
Truth, Justice and Healing, ther can be no Reconciliation; without Truth,
Justice, Healing and Reconciliation, there can be no Prevention of Future
Abuse; and without Truth, Justice, Healing, Reconciliation and Prevention of
Future Abuse, ther can be no climate conducive to/that encourages or
facilitates the futher search for Truth. From Truth to Truth in a "Sacred
[non-linear/non-reductionistic] Hoop".  What these so-called churches want
is instant "Reconciliation" [the phony quicky or instant kind] without
Healing; they want some kind of quicky ersatz "Healing" without
Justice--especially the potentially expensive kind; they want quick
"Justice" without "Truth"--even based on more continuing lies and cover-ups.
They are so interested in "Truth and Reconciliation" Commissions such as in
South Africa as they offer (for the victimizers) a potentially cheap way out
of criminal and tort damages and penalties while offering controlled and
contrived "Truth and Reconciliations" that allow for short-term--and
controlled--catharsis that goes nowhere in terms of bringing the victimizers
to justice or in terms of causing a real examination of the real system and
by whom/for whom it is run.

The moderator of the United Church kept referring to how "painful" it has
been for the flock of the UC to come to the realization of the "evil done"
by the Residential/Boarding Schools but still didn't want to use the word
genocide. We asked him where this "evil" came from; who directed and
benefitted from it? To his assertion that the original intentions of the
Schools and those who ran them were honorable, we asked if that were the
case, then why were white children not in those schools; we asked why those
schools were put in out of the way places (not only to better brainwash the
children and to keep the children from escaping but also to hide from the
public what was going on there--and since no need to hide what is clean or
intended to be clean, only what is dirty then...) We also noted that the
"pain" of the victimizer coming to realization of the extent and
consequences of his victimizations--or the "pain" that comes from being
caught--is not worth mentioning or discussing--only the pain of the victims
is worth mentioning or discussing, to which the Moderator had no reply.

More later, but Roland's account on what went on is the best. One more
thing, on some occasions we were directly insulted by outright disgenuous
responses and lies and/or patent sophistry. I wanted to walk out several
times after hearing the pathetic responses of some of these
"super-missionary-type Christians". But I had been asked by my People to
size up the intentions, capabilities, resources and "intelligence/intellect"
of our potential adversaries which forced me to remain in places and
discussions that I would have preferred to leave in disgust, protest and in
solidarity with others.

Jim C.

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

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