1st Nation Leaders Released From Prison - Rez School Atrocity - Apology is Wrong
Attorney-GeneralCanwest News Service
Published: Friday, May 23, 2008
Toronto-- Six First Nations leaders will be released from prison today after serving more than two months for ignoring a court order to allow a mining company to drill on their traditional territory, a spokesman for Ontario's Attorney General confirmed Friday.
Six members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation will be back home by this evening after a court granted a motion for a stay pending the appeal of their six-month sentence for contempt, said KI spokeswoman Susan Nanokeesic.
"We are so happy, it's overwhelming," Ms. Nanokeesic said. "This is good news."
The appeal is to be heard Wednesday in Toronto.The jailing of the leaders in March for disobeying a court order allowing Platinex Inc. to conduct exploratory drilling has drawn harsh criticism from Canadian authors and activists.Most recently Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sent Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty a letter decrying their incarceration as "appalling.
"Earlier this week, Platinex announced it has launched a $70-million lawsuit against the province. The company said it has suffered "substantial wasted expenditures" because it has been unable to gain access to the land near Big Trout Lake in northern Ontario because of actions by KI.Platinex claims the Ontario government failed in its duty to consult with KI and also failed to warn the company it would not enforce its mining claims.
Residential School Atrocity - Why An Apology Is Wrong
Why an Apology is Wrong, and Deceptive:
Bringing Humanity to Bear on the Residential School Atrocity
by Rev. Kevin Annett
Submitted by Monica Davis
This article has been edited for length and content -BHO
Rend your hearts, and not your garmentsJoel 2:17
Imagine for a moment that your own child goes missing and never comes home. Years pass,
and one day, the person responsible for your child's death is identified, but he evades arrest and imprisonment simply by issuing to you an "apology" for your loss. He even speaks of
seeking "reconciliation" with you.
How would you feel?Hold on to that feeling, and now multiply your loss by many thousands of children, and make the guilty person the government and churches
of Canada. Do so, and you will have arrived in a human way at the Indian Residential Schools
One of my former parishioners put it another way:"What we did to those native children was an
abomination, and abominations aren't resolved with words and money. We need to have our
hearts torn in two and be changed. We've got to stand, ourselves, under the judgment of God."
I doubt that Stephen Harper would be satisfied with an apology if his own kids were hauled off and killed for being practicing Christians. Yet on June 11, 2008, he will stand up on our behalf and try to apologize to other nations for having exterminated their children.The whole effort seems more than ludicrous, or obscene.
One cannot, after all, apologize to the dead. But the truth is, the government's planned
"apology" to native people is an enormous exercise in deception - primarily self-deception.Do we even know the meaning of that easily uttered term, "apologize"?
It actually has a double meaning, according to the internet Dictionary: a) "an acknowledgment of
regret for a fault or offense" and b) "a formal justification, defense or excuse for one's actions".
That is, in our vernacular understanding of the term, an "apology" can be a genuine regret for one's acts; but it can equally be a way to evade responsibility
for one's acts, by justifying oneself before one's victim.
The legal understanding of the word, however, is more specific, and has nothing to do with regret: "apology" is defined simply as "a disclaimer of intentional error or offense".
Regardless of this, there are things that can be done to overcome the genocidal residential schools legacy, and do justice, for once, to the survivors.
Rather than issuing verbal and self-serving "apologies" which change nothing, or staging a sham "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" that has no power even to subpoena evidence, the government and all of us could take these kind of bold measures:
1. Declare an Official Nation-wide Day of Mourning for Residential School Victims, dead and living.
2. Fully disclose what happened in the residential schools - naming the crimes, the perpetrators, and the cover-up - by launching an International War Crimes Tribunal with the power to subpoena, arrest and prosecute those responsible.
3. Bring home the remains of all children who died in these schools for a proper burial, and establish public memorial sites for them.
4. Create National Aboriginal Holocaust Museums.
5. End federal tax exemption for the Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada, in accordance with the Nuremburg Legal Principles concerning organizations complicit in crimes
6. Abolish the Indian Act and Indian and Northern Affairs.
7. Recognize indigenous sovereignty and return all stolen lands and resources to indigenous nations.
An Irish relative once told me that the way her country is evolving away from eight centuries of warfare is through a simple formula:"First you remember; then you grieve; then you heal".
Instead of skipping the first two steps, as Mr. Harper and too many of our people are trying to do "apologetically", it is time that Canadians found the courage to truly remember and admit to the world what we did to the first peoples of this land, and grieve our actions in the manner of people who truly rend their own hearts and want to change.
Perhaps then "healing and reconciliation" can become something more than an overworked political catch-phrase.
Rev. Kevin D. Annett
260 Kennedy St.
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2H8
Kevin Annett is a community minister in Vancouver who is the author of two books on Indian Residential Schools and an award-winning film maker.
Posted by MNN Mohawk Nation News http://www.mohawknationnews.com/
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