[Marxism] Residential Schools: edtorial from Windspeaker

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at resist.ca
Tue Mar 22 20:48:38 MST 2005

Wrap it up
March 2005 Windspeaker Editorial

It's time to put an end to one of Canada's most shameful legacies.  It's
way past time; way, way past time.

And no we're not talking about the alternative dispute resolution  process
for Indian residential school compensation claims, although  history will
place that shameful boondoggle high up the list.

We're talking about the Indian residential school policy, the  original
crime, not the cover up.
In the first phase of the crime spree, children were beaten for  speaking
their own languages, for having their own culture, all  in the name of the
assimilation policy of the government. Innocent  little kids were
terrorized by the men and women of God. Some  were left to the nonexistent
mercy of pedophiles who found a  comfortable, and easy place among them.
The children were of  a certain race, and to remove that race from the
child, the government  went to extreme lengths.

The residential school policy was evil, ignorant, and vile. It  led to
evil, vile and disgusting realities, the latest of which  is this most
recent phase of the crime spree-government's cynical  act of pretending to
balance the scales of justice while waiting  for the witnesses to die off.

The residential school era was a shameful time in human history  with
effects that linger into the present moment. The multi-million  dollar,
premeditated campaign of government to first deny the  abuses of those
schools, and then refuse justice to the victims,  has the potential to
exceed the shamefulness of the earlier era.

The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) made  that point
in front of the standing committee on Aboriginal Affairs  which heard
testimony in February about the abuse of the victims  seeking redress for
past wrongs. We commend him, heartily, for  it. He made the most important
point in all of this and it must  be underlined and emphasized: "After
all, the very reason  the schools were set up in the first place was to
destroy our  languages, culture and family ties.

Failure to compensate for these wrongs would effectively condone  them."

The time for being polite is long past.

For Prime Minster Paul Martin to talk about transformative change  and
reconciliation while this heinous Alternative Dispute Resolution  process
unfolds on his watch is sheer hypocrisy. The Canadian  Bar Association and
other equally distinguished groups have warned  him of the immorality of
it all.

For Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan to parrot the party line  in the
face of so much evidence that a travesty of justice is  occurring under
her nose is appalling.

But the moral issue is only one aspect of this shameful situation.  Has
anyone in Ottawa bothered to ask how the Office of Indian  Residential
School Resolution Canada (OIRSRC) can justify spending  so many millions
in administration while expending so little  on doing the job it was
created to do, namely compensating victims  of a state-run attempt at

The AFN has documented a case where a claimant received an offer  of $800
to settle. The government paid $28,000 in administrative  costs in
arriving at that piddling amount. The AFN reports that  on average the
government is spending $7 for every dollar given  in settlement in the
lower end categories, and $3 for every dollar  for the higher end
settlements. That can only be described as  corrupt.

"This kind of extreme waste, where millions of dollars end  up into the
pockets of everyone but those who deserve it most,  is unconscionable. In
terms of waste and human suffering, the  gun registry and the sponsorship
scandals pale by comparison  to this boondoggle," Phil Fontaine told the
standing committee  on Aboriginal Affairs.

Yet the OIRSRC survived an expenditure review that has so far  managed to
find $11 billion in bureaucratic fat to trim. One  is forced to wonder
just how thorough or honest that process  really is.

If the government does not take immediate action on this matter,  we would
urge the national chief and all national Aboriginal  leaders to boycott
the first ministers meeting scheduled for  the fall.

To sit at the table with the same people who would continue to  do this to
the children who are now our Elders would be a betrayal  of the worst
kind. This is not a matter to be negotiated.

It's time for strong, decent and decisive action. Any leader  who can't
provide it should step aside.
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Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope
	--Bertholt Brecht.

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