The Economist explains… Why is Canada’s 150th birthday controversial?

The Economist explains… Why is Canada’s 150th birthday controversial?

The country is still wrestling with its historical mistreatment of indigenous people

The Economist explains  -Jun 29th 2017 – by

There is much to celebrate. Canada remains a separate country despite being twice invaded by Americans intent on occupying the entire northern part of the continent. It has weathered the existential crisis of Quebec separatism, now in deep freeze according to Chantal Hébert, a Quebec pundit.     [Read more]

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 07/01/2017 at 2:44 pm

    The sad history of the Americas.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On 07/02/2017 at 3:45 pm

    Reproduced some excerpts as the Economist limits online reading:
    ‘ “Canada 150 is so insulting,” says Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaw lawyer and university professor. “We’ve been here for tens of thousands of years.” After the Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867 the new government continued colonial policies that seized their land and put them on reserves. Worse, the government tried to eradicate their culture and language by taking indigenous children from their homes and putting them in “residential schools”.’
    ‘The same week that Mr Trudeau said Canada’s relationship with indigenous peoples was the most important one it had, his government delayed giving indigenous children the same access to government services as non-indigenous children by going back to court to ask for clarification.’

    The “residential schools [were] modelled on Victorian poor houses. Some 150,000 passed through 139 of these Dickensian establishments from 1883 to 1998. In the 1940s they housed nearly a third of aboriginal children of school age. Half were physically or sexually abused and around 6,000 died. Today Canada’s 1.4m aboriginal people have lower incomes on average and higher rates of incarceration, suicide and disease than the general population. Those brutal boarding schools are part of the reason.”
    ‘Britain instituted the policy of forced assimilation, which Canada’s government continued after self-rule began in 1867. This tried to eradicate indigenous peoples as distinct legal, cultural and religious groups. The residential schools were part of that project, which the commission described as “cultural genocide”.’
    It calls on the government and churches to repudiate the “doctrine of discovery”, a 15th-century notion, once endorsed by the Catholic Church, that Europeans were entitled to colonise [non-Christian] lands they found.

    Young Trudeau loves the camera (dubbed ‘selfie boy’). The photo (as well as the socks he supposedly wore) indicates one of the few (very vocal) groups he favours. In the meantime, the centuries of suffering of the indigenous people is ameliorated at snail’s pace.

    The European colonial gov’ts and the Church have used these policies across the globe against non-Christian, deemed pagan, people. In the case of India, which I know something about, the “cultural genocide” (not forgetting Francis Xavier’s Inquistion in Goa) was through educational policy introduced in India in 1835. Baron Macaulay argued:
    ‘I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic. I have never found one [English] orientalist who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education.’
    “It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England.
    “We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, –a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”

    Incidentally, the coconuts, historian Clem Seecharan and Freddie Kissoon are later products of this same school of thought.

    Imagine the British exponent, Macaulay, compared all of India’s Sanskrit literature to ‘one shelf of European library’ and to “the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England.” In 1200CE, the great Indian university at Nalanda, Bihar (serving 10,000 students around the globe) was destroyed by the Muslim Delhi Sultanate and it was reported that the multi storied library burned for up to three months. The great Mahabharata epic (lighter version is Sharon Westmaas ‘Sons of Gods’) is of 100,000 couplets: 10X Homer’s Illiad. Little did the arrogant British bugger know that India gave the world the said Sanskrit from which Greek, Latin and all European, west Asian and most East & South Asian languages are sourced. So too is the counting system the world uses.

    European hegemony backed by the Church have committed enormous damage on so-called heathen people. So, the indigenous people of Canada have a right not to be unhappy with Canada 150 Bday.

    Veda Nath Mohabir

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On 07/02/2017 at 4:58 pm

    The last line should read without the double negative: “So, the indigenous people of Canada have a right not to be happy with Canada 150 Bday.”

    Veda Nath Mohabir

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