The TRC Identifies Three Forms of Genocide … .
For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide.”
Physical genocide is the mass killing of the members of a targeted group, and biological genocide is the destruction of the group’s reproductive capacity.
Cultural genocide is the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group. States that engage in cultural genocide set out to destroy the political and social institutions of the targeted group. Land is seized, and populations are forcibly transferred and their movement is restricted. Languages are banned. Spiritual leaders are persecuted, spiritual practices are forbidden, and objects of spiritual value are confiscated and destroyed. And, most significantly to the issue at hand, families are disrupted to prevent the transmission of cultural values and identity from one generation to the next. In its dealing with Aboriginal people, Canada did all these things.
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The Heartbreak of Algonquin Genocide ... .
Eventually, after generations of petitions and only after we were in a particularly pitiful state of poverty and division, Canada entered into a land claims and self-government negotiation process with the Algonquin of Golden Lake, now Algonquin of Pikwàkanàgan First Nation. In this process only the Algonquin living in Ontario are involved, where through this process all Indian status members, approximately 1,800 members, are accepted as beneficiaries. So too are the approximately 6,000 non-status Algonquin accepted as beneficiaries.
Through two federal government policies - the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the Inherent Rights Policy - our jurisdiction, land, and land related rights are not protected but rather continue to be denied and placed within the confines of a small b□x. Through these policies Canada has imposed on us what it thinks we are entitled to: a very small percentage of our traditional territory and a one-time buy-out. This deal was tabled in November 2012. Clearly 117,000 acres which amounts to only 1.3 per cent of our traditional territory and $300 million is a bad deal.
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Lynn Gehl, Ph.D. is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act, and is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process. She has three books: Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts, The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin of the Algonquin Land Claims Process, and Mkadengwe: Sharing Canada's Colonial Process through Black Face Methodology. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.