[Marxism] Residential Schools: edtorial from Windspeaker
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
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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