People pay tribute to murdered Indigenous children in Ottawa, Canada, June 4. Photo: Xinhua
This week, 751 anonymous graves at the site of a former Indigenous residential school in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan were discovered, shocking Canada and the international community. It comes weeks after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered at a similar residential school in British Columbia.
The question is: how many more graves are there in Canada and how many aboriginal children suffered extreme abuse and died during the process of forced assimilation?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a media statement expressed his sadness. At first glance, his statement was full of sympathy, but on closer inspection one can sense that such sympathy was rooted in political expediency.
Trudeau’s statement ignored a fundamental question: how to hold these blatant killers accountable and how to compensate native Canadians who are still alive.
It is well known that the land of Canada belonged to the Native Indians and Inuit. European immigrants seized their lands and fortunes through murder and eviction and established the white-ruled order through force and forced assimilation. Whites continue to monopolize most of the resources – from land to property – in Canada, and Indigenous peoples continue to suffer from systematic discrimination and exclusion. Canada was founded on cultural and ethnic genocide. If the Canadian government today has a conscience, it should compensate the aboriginal peoples.
It should return the land taken from indigenous peoples. If the land is used by public facilities or cannot be returned for complicated reasons, the government should consider financial means. If it still cannot be resolved, the government should explain it. The end result of this series of measures should be to fundamentally change the conditions of indigenous peoples.
So many crimes have been committed in history and the consequences of those crimes remain. The Canadian government should not try to achieve a so-called reconciliation with a simple apology. The creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an attempt by the Canadian government to abruptly end colonial history and make indigenous peoples accept their fate. The Canadian government hopes that Indigenous peoples can be touched by its apology and come to terms with the reality, while the government pays no cost and lets the tragedy pass.
The Trudeau government still retains a cultural arrogance and power over Indigenous peoples. He continues to forcefully lead the process and means of “reconciliation” and hopes that indigenous peoples would be grateful for what the government is doing. He never thought of investing a large amount of funds and resources to truly compensate the survivors of indigenous peoples. He even wants to exploit political gains and make him appear noble.
The Trudeau government is so arrogant that it feels morally satisfied with its “correct” handling of genocide scandals that have surfaced one after another, and even points an accusing finger at the affairs of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China.
Such political shamelessness is the real attitude of the Trudeau government when the country discovered new remains of indigenous people. Trudeau’s humility was a sham. He has not spoken, but everyone can feel that his real attitude is that Canada is always right despite the genocide, and that it will always stand at the top of morality.
The natives are not fooled. They are fighting for their dignity and their rights. The international community must support them to obtain justice, albeit belatedly. The world should also investigate the matter and urge regimes that profit from colonial fruits to be ashamed of themselves.