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Canada’s Treatment of Indigenous Peoples Was Cruel. But Calling It an Ongoing ‘Genocide’ Is Wrong

Two months after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the public: “As his armies advance, whole districts are being exterminated. Scores of thousands, literally scores of thousands of executions in cold blood are being perpetrated by the German police troops…We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” By the end of World War II, we had at least two names for it, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide.

Now, almost 80 years later, a debate over the semantics of genocide has erupted in Canada, following a report from a National Inquiry investigating the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). The report claims not only that Indigenous communities were historically victimized by racist and murderous colonial policies, but also that a “genocide” is still going on in Canada to this very day. While many well-meaning activists are pressuring the Canadian government to act on the findings of the Inquiry, others have questioned the use of this term.

The fact that the overall Canadian homicide rate for Indigenous Canadians is roughly five times higher than that for non-Indigenous Canadians is indeed a national scandal. But, to quote Canada’s Leader of the Opposition, Conservative Andrew Scheer, “the tragedy that has happened to this vulnerable section of our society is its own thing.” These murders, which affect the nation’s most disadvantaged group in alarmingly high numbers, are the result of individual criminal acts—domestic violence and street crime—not state-organized pogroms.

In a 43-page supplementary report, the Inquiry laid out its legal rationale for the use of the word “genocide,” applying an exceptionally broad and novel interpretation of international law. The authors conclude that a variety of wrongs (including assimilation through Canada’s notorious Residential Schools, and the forced relocation of children in foster care) have created a compounding series of evils that—in their totality over the course of many generations—constitute a state-inflicted genocide as defined in the United Nations’ 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. On the other hand, critics, including here at Quillette, have argued that the Inquiry’s use of the term “genocide” is inapt, since that word has been used to describe mass murder on an industrial scale, which obviously isn’t happening in Canada right now.

Debates about the meaning of genocide are not new. Back in 1951, an American group called the Civil Rights Congress submitted a petition to the United Nations called We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People. The petition’s 239 pages catalogued the high rates of incarceration of black people, rampant police brutality, segregation, lynchings and “the willful creation of conditions making for premature death, poverty and disease.” The facts and statistics outlined in the petition were heartbreaking and accurate. But did they add up to genocide?

Raphael Lemkin, the professor and legal scholar who’d coined the word genocide, and who helped draft the 1948 Convention, weighed in on the debate as follows: “The convention outlaws destroying in whole, or in part, a ‘national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.’ The petitioners list killings, lynchings and race riots. But these are actions against individuals—not intended to destroy a race.” Lempkin provided numerous reasons why the plight black people faced in America did not rise to the level of genocide. “The crime of genocide requires specific ‘intent to destroy’ a people,” he noted. “This is the fundamental requirement, which must be proven—not presumed.”

When it comes to the crime of genocide, this specific intent is fundamental (as distinguished from the looser “general intent” standard for mens rea that apply to many ordinary crimes, such as battery). A specific intent can be easily proven in some historical cases. For example, senior Nazi officials and Schutzstaffel paramilitary commanders planned the Holocaust at the Wannsee Conference of 1942; they made detailed plans to transport millions of Jewish people, by rail, to the smaller camps (where the victims would be exterminated by firing squad), and to the main extermination camps (where the killing would be done in gas chambers). This systematic killing of  six million Jews was a true genocide—as was the simultaneous mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Romani people.

With regard to the Rwanda Genocide of 1994, which claimed around 800,000 lives, specific intent can be proven through compelling testimony—such as former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda’s confession that “the genocide was openly discussed in cabinet meetings.” It also can be proven through military intelligence and the testimony of witnesses and informants, as per the telegram that Canadian then-Brigadier-General Roméo Dallaire, Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, sent to UN headquarters: “Informant states he disagrees with anti-Tutsi extermination. He supports opposition to RPF but cannot support killing of innocent persons.” (Dallaire learned that the Hutu-led government in Rwanda intended to commit a genocide three months before the killing began, but the UN ordered him to observe and not intervene, investigate, or confiscate weaponry.)

Specific intent also can be inferred from circumstantial evidence such as bank records and government archives. While investigating the causes of the aforementioned Rwandan genocide, perpetrated by Hutu extremists primarily against the country’s Tutsi minority, the BBC discovered that many weapons were purchased a year before the killings began: “The government of Rwanda imported, from China, three quarters of a million dollars worth of machetes. This was enough for one new machete for every third male.” In the case of Rwanda, a specific intent only can also be inferred through the operation of Radio Television Libre des Mille (RTLM), a nominally private station that was established and supported by the dominant Hutu elite. The station broadcast hate propaganda that compared the targeted group (Tutsis) to cockroaches, read out names of potential victims, and provided listeners with explicit descriptions of where people had fled so that the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militias could hunt them down and kill them. A July 2, 1994 broadcast on RTLM, for instance, told listeners that “the Inkotanyai [Tutsi political operatives and fighters] are so wicked…I do not know how they are created. I do not know. When you look at them, you wonder what kind of people they are. In any case, let us simply stand firm and exterminate them, so that our children and grandchildren do not hear that word Inkotanyai ever again.” From these words, we can infer a mens rea, the intent to destroy a group, by analyzing language endorsing not just isolated killing but mass extermination.

However, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which was launched with much fanfare in 2015, embraced a more expansive, and novel, understanding of mens rea: “When it comes to state responsibility for the international wrongful act of genocide, the National Inquiry considers the attribution of intent to a state, in the same manner as evaluating a physical person’s state of mind, is somewhat fictional.” How does an element of genocide that Lemkin considered to be fundamental turn into something conceived as “somewhat fictional?”

The question is important because Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signaled that he takes the use of the term “genocide” seriously. And two international bodies, the Organization of American States and the United Nations Human Rights Office, have indicated they will investigate the genocide allegations. Canada now has, arguably, a legal obligation under international law to launch another national commission, this one tasked with investigating the allegedly ongoing genocide—and, maybe, crimes against humanity. Such an investigation theoretically would include criminal investigations into the actions of current and former Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers. One might even argue that this investigation should be conducted by competent international prosecutors operating under the exclusive authority of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Moreover, in the event that the MMIWG report’s expansive re-definition of the international law of genocide became accepted as a legal precedent, this reconceptualized understanding of genocide could then be applied to almost any situation where colonialism occurred at some point in a nation’s history, or in any instance in any country where a particular racial or ethnic group suffers disproportionately high levels of criminal violence.

The crime of genocide is typically investigated and litigated with the goal of holding genocidaires accountable for their crimes. But in Canada, the Inquiry’s commissioners are attempting to transform the international crime of genocide into a legal obligation that requires a nation to offer redress and make reparation payments. Although redress and reparations are noble goals, the law regarding the crime of genocide has little to say about them.

The Inquiry’s commissioners presume genocidal intent from Canadian policies that continue to have negative effects on Indigenous people—and that create circumstances where MMIWG are disproportionately vulnerable to criminal violence. Instead of pursuing justice against actual genocidaires, the Inquiry wants to effectively convict an entire nation state of the crime of genocide. Such a determination would then trigger a legal obligation to make reparations.

In making such ambitious claims, however, the Inquiry ignores a main legal precedent in this area, established in a 1986 International Court of Justice (ICJ) case, Nicaragua v. United States. In that case, United States was ordered to pay reparations for its violations of international law. But the court also ruled that the United States was not liable for the human-rights atrocities (such as theft, kidnapping, burning of homes, executions and rape) committed by anti-communist Contra rebels who had been supplied, funded and trained by the CIA: “For this conduct to give rise to legal responsibility of the United States, it would in principle have to be proved that that State had effective control of the military or paramilitary operations in the course of which the alleged violations were committed” (my emphasis).

Another ICJ case, Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro, explicitly applies the 1948 Genocide Convention and deals with the question of state responsibility. A majority of judges in that case found that Serbia (the legal successor state to Serbia and Montenegro) was not responsible for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide committed by members of the Bosnia Serb Army (though Serbia was found to have violated its obligation to prevent genocide as per the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

Under the sub-heading, Conclusion as to Responsibility for Events at Srebrenica under Article III, Paragraph (a), of the Genocide Convention, the court found that “it has not been established that the massacres at Srebrenica were committed by persons or entities ranking as organs of the Respondent [Serbia]. It finds also that it has not been established that those massacres were committed on the instructions or under the direction of organs of the respondent State, nor that the Respondent exercised effective control over the operations in the course of which those massacres, which, as indicated, constituted the crime of genocide, were perpetrated.”

In the Canadian context, this leads us to the question: Does Canada have “effective control” over the various murderers, rapists and abusive domestic partners who are victimizing Indigenous women and girls? Is there a military chain of command connecting these thugs to the Canadian government? Or is it the opposite—that the government of Canada, and the various provinces, act in opposition to these criminals, investigate their crimes, prosecute them in court, and punish them in public jails?

The answer here is quite obvious. Yet the Inquiry does not mention the effective-control test at all in formulating a rationale for claiming the existence of an ongoing genocide—except by glancing reference in one of the footnotes—let alone critique its application by the ICJ or other international bodies.

Genocide is known as the “crime of crimes,” to quote the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda case of Prosecutor v. Jean Kambanda. But as a matter of law, it is extremely narrow. The 1948 Genocide Convention was born in the shadow of the Holocaust. It was aimed at criminalizing the exterminationist campaigns emerging from the racist demagoguery that often infuses fascist ideology. It was, in short, designed to go after mass murderers such as Adolf Hitler—not impugn the socioeconomic policies of modern welfare states.

Over the past seven decades, courts have convicted former leaders and high-ranking military officers such as Jean Kambanda (the aforementioned former Prime Minister of Rwanda), Radovan Karadžić (former President of Republika Srpska), General Ratko Mladić (former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska) and Nuon Chea (second in command under Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea). But the law remains narrow. The 1948 Genocide Convention does not protect people based on their age, socio-economic class, political beliefs, sex, gender or sexual orientation. Even the horrific crimes against humanity committed by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, which killed 1.6-million people, mostly lie outside the statute’s boundaries—since Pol Pot’s campaign primarily targeted victims on the basis of profession and social class, not ethnicity. The Genocide Convention has not criminalized Communist purges very well. (In 2018, a joint UN-Cambodian criminal tribunal convicted two former Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide—but that prosecution dealt specifically with two sub-campaigns, one against ethnic Vietnamese victims and another against the Cham Muslim people.)

Canadian history is punctuated with true genocidal incidents—such as the Scalping Proclamations issued by the colonial governor of Nova Scotia, Edward Cornwallis, in 1749 and 1750. Cornwallis, despite orders from the Crown to make peace with the Mi’kmaq upon landing, committed genocide by starting a guerilla war with his elite Rangers. Then he expanded that war by paying a bounty for every killed or captured Miꞌkmaq. Cornwallis’ genocidal intent is evident from a comment he made at a council meeting: “If there was to be a ‘war,’ it will not be a war that ends with a peace agreement. That will only delay the final battle for another time. No, it would be better to root the Micmac out of the peninsula decisively and forever.” To Cornwallis, the survival of the Halifax colony required not just the displacement of the Miꞌkmaq—but also their elimination.

Cornwallis wasn’t alone. In 1763, the Lenape Nation laid siege to Fort Pitt (modern-day Pittsburgh) after the British broke their promise to leave the area following the French defeat in the Seven Years’ War. The British commander and future governor of Quebec, General Jeffery Amherst, wrote letters to a subordinate, asking, “Could it not be contrived to Send the Small Pox among those Disaffected Tribes of Indians? We must, on this occasion, Use Every Stratagem in our power to Reduce them.” Another letter by Amherst issues an order: “You will Do well to try to Inoculate the Indians by means of Blankets, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race.”

In his later work, Lemkin analyzed the relationship between genocide and colonialism. The concepts can be linked, but they are hardly synonyms. Genocide, as it is codified in international law, prohibits the destruction and annihilation of a group of people. Colonialism refers to the displacement and subjugation of Indigenous peoples, as well as the destruction of their cultures. As the MMIWG Inquiry commissioners themselves noted, “colonialism is a unique form of violence that does not fit easily in the international legal definition of the crime of genocide.”

Yet the Inquiry plows ahead with the conceit that the definition of genocide may be freely rewritten in a way that corrects “its failure to incorporate Indigenous and gender perspectives,” an apparently open-ended project that sweeps up a wide range of state actions and policies. According to the commissioners, “framing genocide in Canada as an unlawful act of the state spanning decades and composed of numerous distinct acts and omissions which, in aggregate, violate the international prohibition against genocide allows us to understand its true nature without the entanglement caused by an inappropriate ‘copy and paste’ of the logic pertaining to individual criminal liability and to Holocaust-types of genocides.” But much of what the commissioners call “copy and paste” is what lawyers call “precedent.”

Even moving beyond the narrow legal question of what constitutes genocide, the Inquiry’s claims often seem profoundly ahistorical. The commissioners claim, for instance, that “Canada has displayed a continuous policy, with shifting expressed motives but an ultimately steady intention, to destroy Indigenous peoples.” As noted above, there are plenty of instances in which Europeans and their descendants truly did exhibit genocidal motivations. But the idea that this is part of an unbroken, “continuous” policy that extends to the present day is simply untrue.

Even some of the historical examples that often are presented as examples of genocide mostly involve ignorance and callousness as opposed to actual mass-murderous intent. Consider, for instance, Canadian poet and bureaucrat, Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947), who vigorously championed the assimilation of Indigenous peoples, including through Residential Schools. The horrors of the schools and the crimes committed there are well-documented and undisputable. But it is possible to recognize these horrors while noting that there is no evidence that Scott was seeking to exterminate Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

In 1907, Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce released his Report on the Indian Schools of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, which describes the poor and unsanitary conditions in most schools, the lack of quarantine procedures, and the large number of students dying from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis: “Of 1,537 pupils returned from 15 schools which have been in operation on an average of fourteen years, 7 percent are sick or in poor health and 24 percent are reported dead.” Tuberculosis (known as “consumption” in the 19th century) was then a worldwide epidemic, and, according to 1905 census data, a leading cause of death for all Canadians. Nevertheless, many First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities suffered disproportionally during this period. Scott failed to act on the findings of Dr. Bryce’s report, and this decision no doubt led to more deaths among Indigenous children. He concluded that the information did “not justify a change in the policy of this department which is geared toward a final solution of our Indian problem.”

Scholars and activists often quote that sentence, since it foreshadows the bureaucratic euphemism the Nazis used to describe their plan to murder European Jews. But that is ahistorical. In a 1921 letter, Scott wrote, “It is observed with alarm that the holding of dances by the Indians on their reserves is on the increase, and that these practices tend to disorganize the efforts which the Department is putting forth to make them self-supporting.” The goal, for Scott, was to assimilate Indigenous peoples into the Canadian body politic. He wanted them to live, contribute to Canadian society, and no longer rely on his department for economic support. This assimilationist policy is now widely seen in Canada as disastrous, ignorant and even hateful. Moreover, the chronically underfunded and overcrowded environment at many residential schools made it easy for individual criminal actors to take advantage of the children and engage in illegal activities such as beatings, torture, molestation, rape and even murder. But the system was not created with the goal of extermination. Needless to say, that is of little comfort to victims and their loved ones—but mens rea is, and always has been, of critical importance at law, including in the adjudication of genocide.

* * *

In a 2008 public apology, Prime Minister Steven Harper declared, “We now recognize that, far too often, these institutions [Residential Schools] gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you.” When we look at the historical record, we find evidence that Canada was more than “negligent.” It was criminally negligent—in the sense that the Residential School system was an environment that caused deaths and bodily harm to so many as a result of the wanton disregard for the health and safety of pupils attending these schools. Describing this wrongdoing in a forthright manner brings us to another set of legal principles, predominantly existing in international customary law and codified in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, under the designation Crimes Against Humanity.

The baseline mens rea here, crucially, is “knowledge of” instead of “deliberate intent to destroy.” The mens rea for crimes against humanity encompasses instances of gross negligence and willful blindness. And the actual guilty actsactus reus—also are defined more broadly under this category, and include not only murder, but also “deportation or forcible transfer of population,” torture, persecution, apartheid, and—among others acts—“rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.”

Had Canada’s MMIWG Inquiry made the legal case that crimes against humanity had been occurring in Canada, they would have been on much firmer legal ground. Instead, we get a general statement to the effect that “this report is limited to a legal analysis of genocide, but the National Inquiry’s findings call for a broader examination of other international crimes, including in particular, crimes against humanity.” By focusing on the more ambitious, and dubious, claim of “genocide,” the MMIWG commissioners squandered an opportunity to create a meaningful national discussion about a more apt legal category.

More broadly, the blanket declaration of “genocide” serves to obscure the historical complexity that characterized European-Indigenous relations. As a case study, consider the tragic story of the Beothuk people, a hunter-gatherer nation that had been living throughout Newfoundland for 2,000 years, but which now are extinct.

The Beothuk may have been the first Indigenous North Americans to encounter Europeans when the Viking explorer, Leif Erikson, set up a temporary camp at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland around 990 AD. Centuries later, John Cabot landed on the island in 1497, and fishing the Grand Banks was begun in earnest by the English and French in the decades that followed. These fishers set up sessional camps along the shore—especially in and near modern day St. John’s. The Europeans considered it a lawless land. Thieving, thuggery, banditry, and piracy sometimes occurred amongst these sessional fishers. Contact with the Beothuk was not always amicable. And when Beothuk—following traditional customs—used fishing gear from one of these camps, the seasonal white fishers responded with violence. According to their vigilante notions of frontier justice, the punishment for theft (as they classified the Beothuk actions) was death: “Thus, the organized Beothuk-hunts began. The profit motive was soon added to the motive of revenge, for a raided Indian camp often yielded hundreds of caribou hides and other valuable furs.”

It was non-state actors who killed the Beothuk. And to complicate the narrative further, official state policy was to protect the Beothuk. In 1769, Governor John Byron proclaimed: “It is His Majesty’s [King George III] royal will and pleasure, that…I do strictly enjoin and require all His Majesty’s subjects to live in amity and brotherly kindness with the native savages [Beothuk] of the said island of Newfoundland.” Sadly, that policy had little effect. According to Canadian writer Harold Horwood, who found evidence of atrocities committed against the Beothuk in the late 18th century,

The largest massacre of Beothuck took place near Hants Harbor, Trinity Bay. There a group of fishermen, armed for hunting, managed to trap a whole tribe of Beothuck, driving them out on a peninsula which juts into the sea. They followed the panic-stricken Indians until they were crowded to the last inch of land, against the salt water, and there proceeded to slaughter them with their guns. Those who rushed into the sea were shot as they tried to swim, and those who knelt and pleaded for mercy were shot as they knelt. The carnage did not stop until they had murdered every man, woman and child. They did not make an exact count of the number killed, but reported it to be ‘about four hundred.’

Some anthropologists have estimated that the entire Beothuk population numbered at most about 1,000 people, which means the above-mentioned mass killing was a death blow for the whole community—despite Governor John Holloway subsequently issuing a proclamation that prohibited the mistreatment of the Beothuk and offered rewards for any information about atrocities committed against them. In yet another misguided policy blunder, the government issued a bounty for any Beothuk captured alive, the intent being to stop the killing and urge the Beothuk to make peace by sending any captives back to their settlements with gifts and a promise of protection. But that policy had the opposite effect; it accelerated the hunting of the Beothuk.

In 1819, John Peyton Jr. and a group of trappers, set out to capture the few remaining Beothuk. “Peyton surprised a small group of Indians out on the ice of the lake and managed to overtake one woman and seize her. This happened to be Demasduit, the wife of the chief, Nonosbawsut. The chief tried to rescue his wife, but was stabbed in the back with a bayonet and then shot through the chest. His brother, who also made a gallant rescue attempt, was cut down by a musket ball.” The Crown charged Peyton and his gang with murder and abduction, but a jury acquitted them, absurdly ruling it self-defence.

The Inquiry’s suggestion that Canadian government policy amounts to a consistent, genocidal campaign to destroy First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples—even to this day—falls apart when we look at much of the historical record. And the tragedy of the Beothuk is not the only moment in Canadian history that serves to contradict the Inquiry’s grand and sweeping generalizations about official government policy.

The collapse of the bison herds on the prairies in the 1870s and 1880s created a massive humanitarian crisis that confronted the Canadian government of the day. The famine out west was exacerbated when 5,000 Lakota people—fearing reprisals from the U.S. Army after defeating the 7th Calvary at the Battle of Little Bighorn—sought refuge from the war fought south of the Canadian border. The Canadian government in the early years of confederation was often insensitive and patronizing. But for the commission to write off this whole period with the claim that Canada “denied food as a means to ethnically cleanse a vast region from Regina to the Alberta border” oversimplifies a complex history. The Canadian government provided aid to a number of First Nations facing famine, though it sometimes withheld or limited the food it provided, and made settling on a reserve a condition to receiving ongoing aid. Unlike the Holodomor, a genocide by famine intentionally caused by Joseph Stalin that claimed about five million Ukrainian lives, this was not a government-caused famine. However, the government did act in its own self-interest in response to a crisis. The traditional way of life for the Blackfoot, Cree and Nakoda nations was vanishing. Instead of doing nothing, the Canadian government responded to that reality by entering treaty negotiations.

* * *

Canadian history has been “whitewashed” in the past. But going to the opposite extreme, by revising history based on the claim that state policy has always been “genocidal,” won’t get Canadians to confront despicable acts and condemn them for what they were.

Canadians need to know that their governments engaged in coerced sterilizations following Alberta’s Eugenics Movement and the 1928 Sexual Sterilization Act, and conducted medical experiments in Indian hospitals in British Columbia, and forced catastrophic relocations upon numerous Indigenous communities, including the Ahiarmiut people of the Artic. Even if these were not “genocide” campaigns in a legal sense, they were, in moral terms, close cousins.

In defending the use of the term “genocide,” one of the authors of the Inquiry’s legal analysis, lawyer Amanda Ghahremani, has argued that “Calling Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people a genocide does not negate the suffering of other communities—this is not a competition of horrors—but to not use the word in this context would deny Indigenous peoples their suffering.” Unfortunately, this is a political argument, not a legal one. And in any case, grand rhetorical gambits won’t do anything to further the process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples—especially since the Inquiry’s misusage of the term genocide has, predictably, sucked away the oxygen that otherwise might have been used to forge practical solutions.

A path towards reconciliation means confronting a troubling history marked by atrocities. In 1942, Churchill spoke of a crime without a name, and the international legal community responded with sound reasoning and legal principles deeply rooted in customary international law. Lemkin helped draft the law of genocide. Hersch Lauterpacht added the phrase “crimes against humanity” to the charter of the Nuremberg Trials and then co-wrote a series of prosecutorial speeches that laid the groundwork for much of our modern war-crimes jurisprudence. But the MMIWG Inquiry has taken a radically different path. It twisted that language, ignored applicable legal principles, and tried to redefine international law in hope of creating a shortcut to redress and reparation. And by doing so, this Inquiry may have hindered the process of true reconciliation more than it helped.


David Mount studied law at the University of Victoria and Oxford.

Featured image: Mary Pond (1858-1895), granddaughter of one of the last known Beothuk.


  1. dirk says

    Forced assimilation, such as happening now massively with the Uygurs in Western China, often is called cultural genocide. I think, however serious it is, another word should be used.
    Similar thing with the insult of ” murdering” poultry and pigs by veganists.
    Also here, another word should be chosen. Murder is too heavy a word, as is cultural genocide.

    • Poolshark says

      An atheist government is crushing the backwards, religious hillbillies under its boot. It’s not even murdering them, keep your pants on. It’s educating them, showing them exactly how stupid their religion is, all the places where their holy book contradicts itself, and forcing them to engage in “forbidden” activities to show that there is nothing wrong with them whatsoever. They’re being retrained in skills that will serve them well in the modern economy once they are released. They’re also learning the benefits of diversity as their culture is enriched by immigrants. The Uighurs are ethnocentric, they must learn to effectively recognize and celebrate other cultures’ unique differences, religions, and traditions. Cultural diversity is analogous to biodiversity.

      What’s not to like? Frankly our deplorables in America would greatly benefit from such a system.

      • gda53 says

        This IS satire, right? Otherwise, are you visiting from the Glorious Democratic Republic of Korea, perhaps?

        • 35adg says

          Huh? You call an essay that debunks a huge conspiracy theory satire?

      • Big blue Button man says

        “The Uighurs are ethnocentric, they must learn to effectively recognize and celebrate-” the CCP’s idea of cultural uniformity…yes, that is indeed what the CCP is do-
        “-other cultures’ unique differences, religions, and traditions.”
        …You have…looked up what China is actually doing to the Uighurs…right?

    • What disturbed me about the MMIWG commission’s findings of “Canadian genocide” is ignoring an RCMP report that 65% of the women were killed by their partners, who were also First Nations. If that was recognized then steps could be taken to deal with the poverty that exacerbates crime on native land. For example providing plumbing and readily available water, and creating jobs on First Nations territory. I feel that in calling the deaths and disappearances a genocide by Canada against First Nations people, the commission came up with a seemingly “woke” and politically correct but flawed statement, one that fails of a real understanding and solution to a real problem. About our Prime Minister taking the term seriously, unfortunately Justin always plays to the gallery and adopts popular positions without much forethought. I’d still rather vote for him than a Trump clone.

      • JWR says

        It is totally “woke” and more. It is a redefinition of genocide that equates it with structural racism. Genocide is a form of racism, the absolutely worst or most evil form of racism. All genocide is a form of racism. But not all racism is genocide. Well, not anymore. This commission is trying to change that definition and argue that racism equals genocide. Miklos is totally right about Justin playing to the woke ones and making a decision based on how many “likes” he will get instead of expert opinion. I’m sure he got an expert opinion on this too since no one in the government has repeated the word “genocide” after Trudeau admired that “It had been a genocide.” So even then when he was being woke, Justin had enough sense to not admit that it was an ongoing “genocide” that was happening now because that would be batshit crazy.

  2. W2class says

    If the Canadian government is made responsible for the actions of individuals; and the crimes against indigenous Canadians are mostly committed by other IC’s (as has been suggested in posts on other articles); doesn’t that obligate the canadian government to interfere thoroughly and intimately in the lives of indigenous Canadians to prevent the ongoing “genocide”?

    • W2classless says

      Maybe the UN will recognize this “genocide” and deploy an international peacekeeping force on all reserves on Canadian soil. And, maybe, if they ask the Sudanese government really nicely, they could get Sudan to supply troops, maybe even the Janaweed militia. If we redeploy the Janaweed, who have been busy committing an actual genocide in Darfur, we can, maybe. stop that genocide by turning the Janaweed into a United Nations Protection Force that will save the MMIWG in Canada from the Canadian “genocide.” That would, therefore, stop two genocides, with one bold action. Good idea?

      As an added bonus, if the UN deploys troops from Muslim counties, they could help convert Canadian Indigenous people to Islam and speed up that slow moving progress towards the great Canadian jihad. What do you think?

  3. Ray Andrews says

    “It was criminally negligent”

    I’m skeptical. The need for flagellist performance by the Correct, makes me suspicious that the horrors have been exaggerated. I know one Indian who was happy to take the 30 grand, but who also admits that had she not been sent to school she’d probably have died. Relativism is no excuse for mistreatment nevertheless we should note that the horrors of the residential school were the alternative to the horrors of being left in the squalor and ignorance and brutality of the reserve. As for assimilation, it was the right policy and should have been continued. Free room, board, clothing, medical care and education were things only available to the Indians. I suppose we might have let them either die or grow up wild but at the time making full citizens of them seemed to be the right thing.

    • standing says

      There was NOT “squalor and ignorance and brutality” of the nations prior to the time of the reserves, and it’s debatable if there was after, until much later, and that caused by the deliberate attempt at annhiliation by starvation and removal of language and right to hunt and live a traditional life. The residential schools didn’t educate, they sought only to remove culture and language. The reserves and residential schools removed education, they didn’t provide it. The oral teachings of indigenous peoples is education. Fool.

      • Ray Andrews says


        Very PC, you qualify for parliament as a Liberal MP. We’ll have to agree to disagree as to the facts of history.

      • dirk says

        You are right here, standing, but only where judged by present standards. If judged by the ones of 100 yrs ago, you would be totally wrong, because at that time , citizens, scientists and governors looked differently at this case, not with our eyes of innate equality of cultures and lifestyles.

      • ALAN WHITE says

        Standing. If the education of the indigenous did not include the necessity to establish and protect borders against armed invaders it was seriously deficient.

        • Crystal Shadow says

          Alan — learn some history of indigenous life and societies. Many indigenous tribes and coalitions fought against invaders, and a few indigenous civilizations even had borders against invaders. But most were fairly small, mostly tribal in nature, and had no need or wish for borders. Borders are what states, predicated on violence build.

      • Correct! There are many ways in which the native way of life was made impossible.

        • Crystal Shadow says

          And ultimately it is the non-indigenous civilizations increasingly proving to be impossible on this planet.

    • Sydney says

      @Ray Andrews

      I’m a non-Indigenous Canadian, but even I find your terminology (‘Indians’), notions, and tone insulting, demeaning, and patronizing with regards to First Nations people. They don’t like me (as a non-First Nation person) any more than they like you, but it’s important to say out loud that your language and what you suggest are facts are wrong on every imaginable level.

      If one FN woman you met believed that she was better off in a residential school, then that’s her experience. But it’s not the experience of the overwhelming majority of FN people who were torn from their families, lands, and cultures and forced to attend and live in what were evidently terrible institutions. There is no question that the schools are a horrific stain on the history of Canada, which is why Prime Minister Stephen Harper commissioned an important inquiry into the schools, and publicly apologized for them.

      I harbour no personal or generational guilt about the treatment of the FN people, and I’m not left-wing and participating in anyone’s Oppression Olympics. I believe the past is gone, and that the FN people need to grow up as a collective people. Hand-wringing and blaming in 2019 for what occurred 75-150 years ago gets them nowhere. Enduring victimhood isn’t healing. These things get them land titles and resource rights, but it doesn’t heal generational wounds.

      We’re not responsible for what the earliest and early Canadians did; and our collective apologies shouldn’t be ongoing and daily affairs (as they currently are in schools, city councils, and more). Once is enough. That’s when books and museums take over.

      But it’s still incumbent upon us to treat FN people respectfully. Respect means that we hear their experiences before and after the Europeans arrived uninvited; and that we call them what they wish to be called, and not by the nomenclature of invading Europeans circa 1800.

      • NashTiger says

        If you are non-indigenous, that explains why you don’t understand “Indian” is a non-offensive malapropism that goes back 525 years, and is adopted by those you pretend to be offended for (like the American Indian Movement)

        Welcome to North America, btw, try not to be so insufferable with your ginned up outrage, we value rugged individualism here, or used to.

        • Sydney says


          Were you replying to me? Welcome to humanity, idiot. Here’s an inoffensive term for rugged individuals that goes back 500 years: You’re a horse’s ass. Please go back to Twitter, where your brainless barbs will be quite at home.

          • Ray Andrews says


            On the contrary sir, he is entirely right. There is a very long list of Indian organizations that continue to use that word because as he and I both mentioned, the word is only considered offensive by the Correct. It is a sort of performance rather like court etiquette — it distinguishes one from the hoi polloi that one is most delicate in not using such words. But they use it. One of the more important native bodies where I live is The Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

          • Jonny Sclerotic says


            Slavoj Zizek says his indigenous friends like the term ‘Indian’ because it stands as a testimony to the stupidity and arrogance of the first Europeans who a) believed they had reached India, and b) persisted with the nomenclature even after they knew it was inaccurate.

            If indigenous people prefer to be called Indians and it acts as a reminder of terrible white men from history, surely we can all be happy!

          • NashTiger says

            I find your terminology,notions, and tone insulting, demeaning, and patronizing

          • NashTiger says

            I find your terminology, notions, and tone insulting, demeaning , and patronizing

      • Ray Andrews says


        “I find your terminology (‘Indians’), notions, and tone insulting”

        Among the Correct, it is felt necessary every couple of decades to rename The Victims, it seems to refresh their Victimhood and it shows that you are woke that you are right up to date with the latest terminology. There’s a standing joke about this in the States as regards to negros, I can’t recall it exactly but you’ve heard it, something like: ‘I was born colored to negro parents, grew up black, started my career as a POC, now I’m an African American. In Canada with the Indians it’s: savage > Indian > Native > Aboriginal > First Nation > (and most recently) Indigenous.

        I call the Indians Indians because that’s what they call themselves and because I think the renaming cycle is stupid. I call negroes negroes because that’s what Dr. King called them and because the search for a euphemism seems unnecessary to me. I have several Indian friends, two Indians in my family, and spent several years partnered with an Indian in business. Every one of the above calls him/her self an Indian.

        “and forced to attend and live in what were evidently terrible institutions”

        It is unfortunate that this sort of discussion tends to become a pushing contest. I don’t doubt that there were horrors. But one can exaggerate, and worse, one can suggest that the only horror in the country at the time was the horror inflicted on the Indians with malice aforethought. There were horrors, particular horrors in boarding schools, aplenty. You’ve heard of Mt. Cashel? The government didn’t offer the Indians free support for their children so as to commit genocide (bullets are faster and cheaper), but to help them become full citizens of a post stone-age civilization. The graduates of the RS are the ones who are so very good at suing us — we taught them how to wring money out of whitey and they sure are good at it.

        “Hand-wringing and blaming in 2019 for what occurred 75-150 years ago gets them nowhere.”

        I entirely agree with your general attitude toward that. The future is this way >>. You know, apart from the professional victim and professional apologist classes, I can assure you that 90% of Indians are just people. Just regular folks who do not carry the burden of their entire genealogy around with them like Atlas carrying the world. I don’t relive the tough breaks that my ancestors had every day, do you? Neither do most of them.

        “But it’s still incumbent upon us to treat FN people respectfully.”

        Agree. I’m opposed to institutionalized racism. There should be one citizenship for everyone. No one should be special.

        I found your tone insulting and demeaning, but that’s just fine. This is a difficult subject and we should be frank with each other.

        • NashTiger says

          @Ray Andrews
          Imagine the trillions in programs and direct cash subsidies the Correct would be demanding if we still had people left completely unattended hunting game for sustenance in the 21st century. These are the same people who insist 55 year old coal miners Learn to Code. I can only imagine the righteous indignation at how we had cruelly “neglected” these people for 150 years by leaving them alone on their land with their language and customs.
          Your Stone Age descriptor is apt, they had not yet even invented the wheel, much less smelted bronze or iron. They killed all the horses left after glaciation, and didn’t learn to keep livestock or ride until the Spanish let a few escape in the 16th and 17th century.

          It’s hard to imagine a world outside Gene Roddenberry’s Prime Directive on Star Trek where an advanced society coming in contact with a non-advanced one completely ignores their backwardness.

          I say that as someone who is much more Indian than Elizabeth Warren, btw

          • Ray Andrews says

            @ NashTiger

            “I can only imagine the righteous indignation at how we had cruelly “neglected” these people for 150 years by leaving them alone on their land with their language and customs.”

            It could be argued that far from whitey owing apologies to the tribes, it is they who owe us the most profound thanks. Very few of them opt for the joys of stone-age living yet they still trying to claim that it was a wonderful time until whitey ruined everything. And of course one wisely attaches one’s grievance to a ‘problem’ that can never be solved nor would one really want it to be solved, tho one might pretend to. The stone-age is simply over, and we can’t go back even if we wanted to — and we don’t and neither do they.

        • Geary Johansen says

          @ Ray Andrews

          Loved your comment. Especially using personal experience to trump PC. I’ve been looking a lot at Dr Raj Chetty’s work at Stanford. He’s been looking at social mobility, especially as it relates to people born into the bottom 20% of the income distribution. One interesting thing that he has discovered is that fathers are vitally important to communities. But, critically a child born into a single parent family in a neighbourhood with a high proportion of fathers has a better chance than a child born into a neighbourhood with a low proportion of fathers. Hows that for a kicker! It has to either be the presence of all those productive fathers that makes the difference, something to do with peer groups and peer pressure, or a combination of both.

          Another thing that they’ve discovered is that whilst African American women achieve at an identical level to white women, in terms of income, African American men do not. In fact, the figures are really abysmal. Now, this is not to say that African American women don’t face unique barriers and obstacles in their life path, but it does mean that they overcome them, so these barriers are not so overwhelming and all-encompassing as the Left would have us believe. So, I’ve begun to think of the problem in narrative terms, rather than in the terms of systemic oppression and structural racism.

          Because think about it. In an anthropological sense, virtually every culture at every time, prior to the industrial revolution, made special provision for the rites of passage for males into adulthood. Women marked the boundary between girlhood and womanhood for the purposes of ceremony, but the rights of passage for males was far more important for males, in that it marked the passing from the jurisdiction of the feminine sphere to the masculine. Vitally, it also marked the point at which the teenage boy would begin the process of socialisation, instruction and adoption of responsibility that is so vital to young men.

          For young boys growing up father-deprived communities, bereft of positive male role model, and lumped in with other similarly deprived boys, it must be easy to believe that the system is rigged against you, and use that belief as an excuse for behaviour which at best results in indolence, and at worst in criminality. This is probably why all the studies prove that it is inequality, and not poverty, that is the main driver of high crime- it’s not wrong to cheat, if the system is rigged against you. One of the proposals put forth by Dr Raj Chetty, is to use the $45 billion already spent on housing vouchers in the US per year more smartly, in shifting kids to areas with more fathers.

          There are two takeaways from these observations. First, that the Left is doing real harm, and damaging prospects, by continuing to air historical grievances and over-emphasis victimhood in the modern context, because the narrative IS the insurmountable part of the problem. The second, is that Western societies need to make every effort to remove any suggestion of bias from systems of policing, criminal justice, schooling and all the other factors that are so crucial to childhood development. This doesn’t mean that pro-active policing or criminal justice need to be abandoned, but rather re-focused to develop partners within communities, with a fundamental re-tasking towards diversion and reform. If not then we doom our grandchildren to the selfsame discussions about structural disparities and fallacious arguments about correlation equalling causation.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Geary Johansen

            Thoughtful and balanced as always Geary.

            “because the narrative IS the insurmountable part of the problem.”

            Exactly. At the end of the day any group, however Oppressed can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps if they have the will to do it. And if they do, whitey will accept them without reservation, as is now the case with East Asians. But if the Narrative predestines you to failure by inculcating in you the idea that you don’t have a chance, then the prophesy is self-fulfilling.

            “The second, is that Western societies need to make every effort to remove any suggestion of bias”

            But even there the message should be that the group overcomes bias by starving the bias to death for lack of reinforcement. The fact is that almost all stereotypes are quite correct and it is impossible for people to not know what they know. We can order them not to know what they know, which is certain to fail, or we can tell the Stigmatized group to make such model citizens of themselves that the Stigma evaporates over time. This might take a generation.

            A good example here in Vancouver: My mother as a kid remembers the days of real, actual, discrimination against ‘Japs’ and ‘Chinks’ — more than hurt feelings, we’re talking legal persecution. But the ‘Japs’ in particular have always been such model citizens that the Stigma simply evaporated. No need for ‘unconscious bias training’ because the bias has long gone. Contrary wise, a cop in Camden NJ can be ‘trained’ not to be apprehensive when confronting a young AA male in a hoodie with his hand holding something in the pocket of the hoodie — but he will be apprehensive anyway because the low-level threat evaluation engine in our brains always tells the truth.

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ Ray Andrews

            Bias training is a bunch of crap. You can take the implicit bias test on day and be a model citizen, and the next day with the exact same test, you’ll be a racist monster The emphasis should be on the winning of hearts and minds, on high empathy articulation. Police would love it, because it’s a skill that’s vital for detective work, in interview or interrogation, and of course they all join the police force wanting to be detectives.

            One thing I should have said that there has to be an ‘or else’. It was one thing that George L. Kelling, on of the original authors of the ‘Broken Windows’ article in the Atlantic all those years ago, was emphatic about in his talk at St. Olaf College on YouTube. He was also quite clear about the need to develop partners in order to fix problems- apart from anything else you don’t want highly trained officers becoming social workers, mental health workers or community workers.

            I think that one of the things that can be improved, is schooling. At Michaela Community School in London, Katherine Birbalsingh has developed a highly structured, knowledge-intensive learning program, which relies on low-level enforcement (such as detentions) of strict behaviour from the outset. Her kids cycle, walk and ride the bus to school past gangs, are poor, multi-ethnic kids from challenging circumstances, yet still manage to be three years ahead of their UK peers. Local people in the community have remarked how polite, courteous and gracious they are in public- always willing to give up a seat on a bus. Meanwhile, reasonably comfortable twenty-somethings from relatively good backgrounds, with no history of criminality, are suddenly finding it perfectly acceptable to punch a police officer when drunk, and attacks on UK police are up across the board.

            On the subject of active policing in the community, your point is well-taken. I’ve been thinking that it’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for uniformed police to operate in pairs- because then you can have division of labour. In most locations other than busy thoroughfares, you could have one officer acting as sentinel, and the other acting as interface. The big thing is mentoring though, if through diversion you could expose troubled teens and ‘at risk’ young men to positive, admirable older males who can help them see a positive way forward for themselves in life, and more importantly a way of gaining higher social status. It could at least improve upon the rate of recidivism, which is so endemically high across the Anglosphere.

            Plus its bloody cheap by comparison to incarceration, and could represent a huge cost saving for the Taxpayer in the long run. With the right disruption methodology, and better training for prison officers, there could be a massively lucrative shift into the private sector, as disciplines such as occupational therapy always top immigration points systems and are popular in the corporate sector, because they reduce liability.

            I think the stereotype issue is developmental and heavily socialised by peer groups, and can be tackled en masse by making pre-existing systems more efficient and effective. The point is, that through schools, communities and diversion we have to start selling teenage boys from poor backgrounds that even if they enjoy only modest success in life, then they will be more respected than wealthier kids from gated communities, who have had everything in life handed to them on a silver platter. Because I don’t know about you, but I always have the deepest respect for self-made men and women from humble origins, made good- I think it’s one of the best things about the West, that credit is apportioned where credit is due.

            P.S. I almost used the phrase self-fulfilling prophecy myself in my original comment, funny that.

        • Sydney says

          @Ray Andrews


          Nowhere, in the many Canadian (although many FN don’t consider themselves ‘Canadian’ or ‘American,’ but that’s a further issue) First Nations regions and communities I’ve lived in, use the term ‘Indian’ anymore. None. And those changes began decades ago. Band names, tribe names, reserve names, and the word ‘Indian’ all reflect those changes. Some institutional names retain ‘Indian’ because it appears too complicated to alter. But they’ll all be changed.

          I’m not an advocate for FN people, and am not a cheerleader for anyone’s victim culture. I happen to have lived in or beside a number of their communities for decades. The change of terminology is simple fact in Canada.

          You can derisively call it a ‘renaming cycle’ and ‘stupid,’ but that’s silly at best and racist at worst.

      • ALAN WHITE says

        Those who are unwilling or unable to protect their boundaries must expect to lose their sovereignty. To expect otherwise is to commit national suicide.

      • dirk says

        But, of course, Slavoy himself also was an indigenous, a native, and went to school in the Habsburg empire, where he was not allowed to speak his own language (a Slavic one) but only the civilised German (language of Goethe , Schiller, Einstein, Werner von Braun and the parents of Kurt Vonnegut, though, they didn’t want their son to speak it, that was a disgrace to them, Americans).

    • Bevelyn MacLise Park says

      The first sensible reply I’ve read in a long time.

    • gda53 says

      Hmmmm. Something’s wrong here. I agree with Ray. Wholeheartedly.

  4. Richard Aubrey says

    The issue is not, this excellent article notwithstanding, a matter of genocide or the definitions of genocide. The issue is that the perpetrators are almost exclusively First Nations themselves. That must not be acknowledged. Better a vaporous cloud of blame, landing on nobody in particular, for Canada. And, since the term has been used for almost anything–changing means testing for welfare–or any other issue an activists dislike, it need not be defined clearly in this case. It is enough that the most serous word imaginable has been used.

  5. Nicholas says

    Considering who was involved it could have only ended up (another) hugely expensive disaster. It’s the same people who call disagreement ‘hate’ especially when it’s a white person disagreeing with a non-white person, then it’s also ‘racist’. Going back a decade or two, men disagreeing with women was ‘silencing behaviour’, now a man sharing his knowledge (or lack of) is ‘mansplaining’,so it only makes sense that the most extreme and inappropriate term, ‘genocide’ , is used.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Nicholas

      Great comment. I was watching a debate recently, in which the noted UK historian David Starkey was having a debate with a young woman on the Left.

      She called him a ‘Racist’. To which he angrily retorted that he had recently been engaged for a speaking engagement with her- for free as usual, given that he considered it a public service, but that the event had fallen through because the organisers had been unable to meet her fee.

      She thought this was all very unfair, and said as much to the audience, to which a well-spoken woman from the audience rejoined ‘But you’ve just called him a racist’- she received a very enthusiastic round of applause.

      My point being that the young woman didn’t even realise that what she had said could be considered an insult. I wonder whether all the talk of structural or systemic racism, and white privilege, dilutes the meaning in some of these young peoples minds. I’m sure their professors and the politicians know exactly what they’re doing… but as to the young, naive, and gullible- I’m not so sure…

  6. Sydney says

    I’m a non-FN Canadian who has worked and lived with/beside/around FN people from several Canadian regions and many FN bands for my whole life (accidentally, not deliberately). This is an excellent and extraordinarily fair piece about the issues and history involved. The MMIWG inquiry really appears to have been a waste of $90M tax dollars.

    It’s easy to see – what with university departments of Gender Studies and Aboriginal Studies now side by side – why and how the inquiry committee believed that hitching itself to the intersectional Oppression Olympics wagon was a great idea. It wasn’t. Do the inquiry authors see how and where they went wrong? They’re probably unable to reflect critically on why it bombed, and they certainly regard the non-FN pushback as simply racist.

    Tragic and terrible. By yelling, ‘Genocidal murderers!’ at non-FN Canada, FN leaders and communities won’t be held accountable for – or even asked to reflect on – decades of squandered opportunities that are mostly the direct cause of assaults, accidental deaths, and murders. And community and individual accountability and responsibility are the only things that will ever force FN people and communities to improve.

    I fail to see how anything will change. RIP yet another failed and expensive inquiry.

    • Ray Andrews says


      “I fail to see how anything will change. RIP yet another failed and expensive inquiry.”

      Yes, by design. If the problems were solved what would all these people do for income? The more broke it is, the more it needs fixing, and our professional fixers are always ready to take yet more tax payers money to make sure it stays broke while pretending to try to fix it. The professional victims, professional apologists and professional fixers have a very good thing going.

    • JRW says

      @Sidney I read the MMIWG legal analysis supplementary report, and it reads like a first-year student’s gender studies paper. I can’t believe that anyone who went to law school actually wrote it. But there were two co-authors, one was a lawyer and another a former judge. So, like, WTF?

      The strangest thing in their legal argument was early on when they stated going on about a “totalitarian mindset” as a way to say that over the past 80 years or so, everyone in the world was being racist when they applied the law of genocide. But for the first time in human history, the MMIWG National Inquiry was going to do the first ever in the history of the world a non-racist reading and interpretation and application of this law. Yeah, right!

  7. Pingback: Canada’s Treatment of Indigenous Peoples Was Cruel. But Calling It an Ongoing ‘Genocide’ Is Wrong | The American Tory

  8. Poolshark says

    The Americans knew the Rwandan Genocide was going on and did nothing to stop it, despite having the means readily at hand. This makes them responsible for what happened.

    President Bill Clinton’s administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.

    Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.
    It took Hutu death squads three months from April 6 to murder an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus and at each stage accurate, detailed reports were reaching Washington’s top policymakers.

    The documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his senior officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.

    “It’s powerful proof that they knew,” said Alison des Forges, a Human Rights Watch researcher and authority on the genocide.

    • ga gamba says

      The Americans knew the Rwandan Genocide was going on and did nothing to stop it, despite having the means readily at hand. This makes them responsible for what happened.

      Note: I wrote the below on 5 April 2019.

      I’m no fan of Clinton, but I’ll take a look at the context of the time. He was elected on the “It’s the economy stupid” platform. Under prodding by UNSECGEN Boutros-Ghali, the US sent troops to Somalia which led to the Battle of Mogadishu on October 3–4, 1993 and humiliation for the US. The civil war in the former Yugoslavia was ongoing. North Korea declared its intention to withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. In late ’93 the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that North Korea had separated about 12 kilograms of plutonium; an amount enough for at least one or two nuclear weapons. On 7 April 1994, ten Belgian UN peacekeepers captured by the Hutus were tortured to death. Their Achilles tendons were cut so they couldn’t escape or fight back. The Belgian soldiers were emasculated and died choking on their own genitalia. The intent was to scare off intervention by the westerners. It worked. Did the US public have an appetite to intervene? I reckon most of them had never even heard of Rwanda (or Burundi) prior to the massacres.

      And we haven’t even considered the logistics of mounting such an operation. The nearest large number of US troops was in Germany, about 6000 km away. Sure, the US can fly in several thousand troops (assuming it secures overflight rights from each nation as well as permission from the host nation – if not US – where US expeditionary forces are stationed), but they are lightly armed – this is why the US pre-positions overseas heavy war fighting equipment in a few critical countries such as Kuwait and Korea. The C-5M Super Galaxy’s payload is fitted to carry about 75 soldiers plus their cargo, or two tanks, or a few MRAPs, which didn’t exist in 1994, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and helicopters. For each type of equipment you also need to bring in its logistics support of maintenance personnel and equipment, fuel, ammunition, etc. If you deploy a rapid response unit such as the 82nd Airborne, that means it’s unavailable for other more important missions.

      For the evacuation of noncombatant Americans from Rwanda, it was done over land to Burundi where about 300 US Marines had been sent from US naval vessels positioned off Somalia’s shore. These small rapid-response units are not designed for sustained operations – it’s get in and get out.
      Let’s not forget that the security of the airport and its vicinity needs to be established prior to the arrival of the bulk of the force. In Rwanda were surface to air missiles (SAMs) which already had been used to shoot down the president’s aeroplane on its approach to Kigali Airport. The two missile tubes found were of Soviet make and had been sold to Uganda. When Museveni’s rebels took power of Uganda in 1986, a quarter of them were Rwandan Tutsi refugees, and Ugandan President Museveni granted them high ranks in Uganda’s new army. One of these Tutsis was Paul Kagame who became Museveni’s chief of intelligence. Kagame would became Rwanda’s president and has ruled – de facto and elected – since ’94. (What is very peculiar is the Arusha Agreement between the Rwandan Patriotic Front [RPF] and the Rwandan government of 1993 included the agreement by the gov’t to shut down one of the airport’s two runways. Certainly this made planning attacks on aircraft easier since their sole approach was known.)

      Here’s a report of the relief operations, one that’s far easier to execute than sending in an army. It was a mess.

      The only way I’d send troops is under a free-fire or engage-if-you-verify-a-weapon rules of engagement (ROE) where those running around with weapons are given one warning to drop them and that’s it. Such permissive ROE are almost never given in zones not cleared of civilians because of the optics. You also have the optics of a US force gunning down Africans to contend with. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson won’t approve. The problem with Rwanda was it was largely civilians organised informally into death squads doing the killing. Good luck differentiating friend from foe.
      Ultimately, a nation has interests and priorities. Some places are much more important and others are inconsequential. Sending in the troops to places poorly understood results in setbacks and worse. And if one analyses the number and frequency of military stand offs between states such as Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Angola, and Congo, their ever shifting alliances, as well as the infestation of these states by rebel militants, it’s clear no good can come to outsiders who think they’ll fix the region’s problems.

    • Jeremy says

      The people swinging the machetes were “responsible”. The people on the Rawandan radio stations egging them on were also at least somewhat responsible.
      People who look on because they are ordered to, or cannot intervene, are NOT responsible. You misunderstand what “responsible” means.
      If we take your view to its logical endpoint, then the UN officials who directly ordered Dallaire to do nothing are the most responsible.
      He had soldiers and kit on the ground in the relevant conflict zone, and legally could do nothing due to orders from UN officials more afraid of one dead blue helmet than 800 000 dead civilians.
      Also, “America had the means readily at hand”, is a statement that i suppose to be true, but you forget domestic politics, Clinton was NEVER convincing congress for a military intervention. You cant just “start a war”.
      Use the word “responsible” for the people ordering and doing the killings.
      Use words like immoral, hypocrite, weak, or many others, to describe the rest of us who did nothing wrong, but also did nothing right.

      Using a blanket phrase about U.S responsibility is essentially Spider-man morality from Infinity War. It was endearing as all hell there, but international affairs are a little more complex than that.

    • @Poolshark Bullshit! If anyone outside of the Hutu is even remotely culpable, it was then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Dallaire informed him repeatedly and personally of the numerous weapons caches throughout Rwanda that were established in preparation for the coming slaughter. Annan ordered Dallaire to not seize the caches. Had Dallaire been able to confiscate the weapons before the genocide, there is a very good chance it never would have happened, or would have happened on a much smaller scale. There are books on this subject, you know.

  9. The requests for a commission to study the issue of murdered and missing aboriginal women was first raised with the previous federal government. The RCMP told the government of Stephen Harper that some 70% of murdered aboriginal women were murdered by someone they knew, usually a FN man. If this was truly genocide then were the FN men genocidal in killing FN women? That makes no sense. This is why Harper refused to create a commission to study a problem for which the answer was already well known.

    However, when Justin Trudeau became the PM he created this commission, which concluded that the RCMP statistics were “flawed” and ignored them. Of course if the commission had agreed with the RCMP that would have raised questions about why we spent $90 million to discover what we already knew, so the commission (i) had to disagree with the RCMP and (ii) tiptoe around the question of who was doing these killings. By labelling it genocide and blaming residential schools and social workers who removed children from homes beset by alcoholism and domestic violence, the question of who did the actual killings could be avoided.

  10. NashTiger says

    I’m all for it, as long as we can then charge the Democrat Party with the genocide of African Americans, “a variety of wrongs (including Slavery, Jim Crow, Progressive Eugenics, the KKK, the destruction of the Black Family and corruption of institutions and culture by The Great Society/Welfare State, on up to the equivalently astronomical homicide rate in Democrat controlled inner cities, and, OBTW, Planned Parenthood’s target placement of clinics in black neighborhoods) have created a compounding series of evils that—in their totality over the course of many generations—constitute a state-inflicted genocide” – all by the Democrat Party.

    You’ll be hard pressed to find a better example of slo-mo multi-generational genocide.

    • E. Olson says

      NashTiger – an interesting aspect of your comment is that the history books used in US school systems NEVER mention the fact that it was the Democrat party that was the party of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, and civil rights obstruction. Meanwhile the Great Society is portrayed as major success of the LBJ administration, even though official poverty stats have not improved in the last 50+ years and black families have been destroyed during the so-called progressive era.

      The inaccurate history lessons given to US students is reflected by the reporting of the recent dust-up related to Joe Biden’s claim that he “got things done” by working with staunch segregationists was portrayed by many in the media as “working across the aisle” to directly or indirectly imply that the segregationists were Republican and not New Deal Democrats who were big supporters of the welfare state and keeping blacks down. The media also somehow conveniently forgets to note that all the high crime/racist cities in America have had Democrat administrations for at least 50 years.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Mr. Olson:
        You’re forgetting your revisionist history. It was the Democratic party who fought to free the slaves from the evil Republicans who invaded the South in order to keep negroes in their chains. Segregation was a plot by Republicans to nullify the black vote in the South so they could blame Democrats for the lack of civil rights in that part of the country. And so on.

        • NashTiger says

          I am disappoint.

          I was eagerly awaiting the old canard “the Jim Crow Democrats all switched to being Republican – because, reasons, uh SOUTHERN STRATEGY!!”, which is the dumbest and easiest to refute bit of conventional wisdom meme floating about in the commentariat atmosphere.

          Having grown up in 1970s Alabama where my East TN bred parents would not let me tell the neighbors we were Republican (which was 100x worse than being Vol fans), I know better. The list of ole-time populist and former segregationist Democrats serving in office well into the 1990s and even 2000s is quite extensive. The state legislatures in the South didn’t flip to Republican until they all died off, well into the Bush 43 era.

      • Jonny Sclerotic says


        “history books used in US school systems NEVER mention the fact that it was the Democrat party that was the party of slavery”

        This chilled me to the core. I picked up my jaw and spent ten minutes looking into this travesty.

        Turns out, what you say is completely untrue. A cursory search through google books list of history textbooks returns hundreds of mentions of the Democrats and their role during the civil war and reconstruction. Phew!

        • E. Olson says

          JS – please enlighten us with citations to widely used textbooks that note the role of Democrats in supporting slavery and their opposition to black civil rights after the Civil War. Howard Zinn is the most popular history book in US schools and he doesn’t mention it, but I would love to see some references to works that prove my statement wrong.

          • Jonny Sclerotic says

            He explicitly describes Union troops as the last military obstacle to the Democratic Party’s resumption of white supremacy.

            From Zinn’s A People’s History of the United Stateschapter 9:

            “It was the year 1877 that spelled out clearly and dramatically what was happening. When the year opened, the presidential election of the past November was in bitter dispute. The Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, had 184 votes and needed one more to be elected: his popular vote was greater by 250,000. The Republican candidate, Rutherford Hayes, had 166 electoral votes. Three states not yet counted had a total of 19 electoral votes; if Hayes could get all of those, he would have 185 and be President. This is what his managers proceeded to arrange. They made concessions to the Democratic party and the white South, including an agreement to remove Union troops from the South, the last military obstacle to the reestablishment of white supremacy there.”

            On the other hand, Texas – at the behest of Democrats – only just started teaching slavery as a central issue of the civil war:


            The civil war is taught quite differently depending on where you are. This is a problem for those of us who just want the facts supported by evidence:


            The USA differs from many western democracies, in that the two main parties have no ideological foundation to adhere to. It’s red/blue, pick-a-side tribalism at its worst. This is why dyed-in-the-wool Dems and Reps are so cringeworthy. The body politic plays a psychological game designed to divide power based on pure opportunism. There are no core values, which is perhaps why history books don’t hammer home the point about which party did what 150 years ago. It’s quite irrelevant.

          • E. Olson says

            JS – thanks for the quotes and cites, but they only prove my point. Zinn writes to imply that it was Republicans who were responsible for white supremacy in the South and dates it to 1877, but the KKK was formed and active from 1865. Also notice he doesn’t mention Democrats are responsible for anything, and again implies that they “gave up” on winning the US presidency to appease Republicans.

            History is one of the most Leftist academic disciplines and Zinn was slightly to the Left of Stalin, so no wonder he had to be careful with his writing to avoid showing that Democrats were solely responsible for slavery, KKK, and Jim Crow.

  11. The use of the term genocide is wholely inapppropriate and risks undermining the actions taken over decades to reduce the number of genocides and punish pepetrators but that is not the thing that struck me most.

    The enquiry was ‘National Inquiry investigating the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls ‘. What about the men and boys? The sexism inplicit in this is astonishing especially since I am sure that far more men and boys will have been killed and gone missing than women and girls.
    It really is sobering as a man to read something like this. We have always known that our lives are treated as less important than women’s but that a claim of genocide can be made which ignores the deaths and boys completely really brings home quite how little mens lives are considered to be worth.

    • Out of Nowhere says

      @AJ: Good comment, I agree.

      I suppose the advantage of this narrative is to earn extra points in the Oppression Olympics…

    • Fran says

      As I recall, the Commission was delayed because some whites thought boys and men should be included. This was nixed by the Indians. It was at this point I tuned out – if boys and men are not important for the ‘survival’ of groups or cultures, then they have very funny ideas.

      In fact, boys and young men with not enough to do are very disruptive. The Australian Aboriginals dealt with it by sending them walkabout till their testosterone levels decreased (no records of the proportion that returned?). I believe that many Indian communities actively participated in expelling the testosterone charged, and were glad to see them gone. They certainly did not want us whities to investigate the matter.

    • PMJT says

      AJ, an official Government of Canada investigation into what is happening to Indigenous Men might be next. Or a few Inquiries into the future. We might need another one or two to clear up this “genocide” question in an official capacity that resonates with our wider obligations with regard to international law and crimes against humanity. We need to be clear and to clear current and possibly former government officials of any culpable conduct. We also need to make sure that there are good paying legal jobs for legally trained Canadians to work in the National Inquiry and Official Commission report writing industry, which is an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

  12. Rev. Wazoo! says

    I am curious to know the murder rate among FN people historically. Is it higher now than 100 or even 200 years ago? Is it now lower than the murder rate in places other than Canada e.g. Chicago which is just across the lake.

    Which is the anomaly, the FN rate or the rest of Canada one? Maybe White Canadians just kill each other so rarely it makes.almost everyone else look.

  13. E. Olson says

    What the history books fail to tell us is amazing. I didn’t know the Indian schools in Canada were actually death camps designed to exterminate Native American tribes – did they use gas chambers or simple firing squads? Whatever they used, it apparently wasn’t effective because there are still a lot around complaining about the treatment they received.

    Of course thanks to documentaries such as Dances with Wolves, we know that native tribes were basically peace lovers who got along with fellow tribes with nothing more serious than occasional horse stealing before those terrible white men came along to upset all the peace and harmony. It is therefore very troubling that some white nationalist sites continue to promote lies about inter-tribal conflicts prior to European entry with passages such as:

    “Excavations at the Crow Creek site, an ancestral Arikara town dated to 1325, revealed the bodies of 486 people–men, women, and children, essentially the town’s entire population–in a mass grave. These individuals had been scalped and dismembered, and their bones showed clear evidence of severe malnutrition, suggesting that violence resulted from competition for food, probably due to local overpopulation and climatic deterioration. Violence among farmers continued from the 1500s through the late 1800s. Archeological data on war among the nomadic Plains hunters are few, but some nomads were attacking farmers on the edges of the Plains by at least the 1500s. By the eighteenth century, war was common among the nomads, apparently largely because of conflicts over hunting territories.” from:

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      I’ve heard it said that many or most indigenous languages had no word for ‘war’ because war was a permanent state of affairs. Peace, as we understand it, never existed and therefore there was no word for that either. One of the things the Indians disliked about whitey was that he had this notion that the tribes would stop killing each other and even punish violations. This was a gross interference in their view. Indians hung for killing other Indians are now viewed as martyrs.

      • E. Olson says

        Ray – you seem to be implying that Kevin Costner got it wrong about Indian culture, which is hard to believe given Hollywood’s desire to present an accurate picture of reality. I suppose you are next going to tell me that Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johanssen, and Charlize Theron can’t really beat up a team of rogue Navy Seals single handed.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          I am not utterly beyond the pale sir. I’d not dream of the latter.

    • Fran says

      Muriel Wylie Blanchet (The Curve of Time) observed what appeared to be a celebration in a Haida village. She found out afterwards that the occasion was a visit from a tribe defeated many years ago to pay the required tribute.

      It was not the White men who exterminated the Huron tribe (genocide???), although the Iroquios were probably helped along with fire arms obtained from settlers.

  14. Simon says

    The mens rea/actus reus distinguo is really illuminating.
    Can we say that, although colonialism is not a genocide by intent or in law, it relies on set of policies leading to genocidal practices, in effect or in fact ?

    Would it be relevant to consider a “genocidal spectrum” ?
    It would distinguish genocide as a systematic, utter, physical elimitation from genocide as forced acculturation – let’s say ethnocide.
    Furthermore, it would distinguish between genocide, by intent and infact, as an overall and punctual objective, from genocide, not by intent but indeed, as a collateral damage, or a long wavelenght originating from various micropolicies.
    This would disentangle genocide cases ascribable to state officials “intuitu personae” or under individual responsibility, from those imputable to a nation, a state or an administration as a whole. There would exist two regimes of genocides : one under international penal law, to judge identified perpetrators (war crimes, crimes against humanity) ; one under another regime of international law, judging the collective responsibilty of a whole human group.

    However, can “a people” or “a nation” (as distinct from the state) become a legal person accountable for its actions ?
    Besides, the problem of collective responsibility presupposes historical continuity. Let’s assume that it’s the role of historians to produce back elements for the legal system (which is disputable in itself). Let’s assume that a collective of historians is able to establish factually that the majority of a population, at some point in its history, consented to the crimes a given administration committed, or approved specific policies leading to nefarious consquences, in the long run, for specific ethnic groups (which is highly hypothetical). Can we really say that a people, at a given time, is reponsible for the crimes committed by the same group, in the past, regardless of the fact that this group is no longer comprised of the same individual members ?

    In my view, this conception would lead to unwanted legal consequences, such as the recognition of specfic ethnic groups where there had been generic nation-states. If the very notion of “collective responsibility different from state responsability” was retained, formal parallelism would require that the group, held accountable for this crime, be treated as just another ethnic group.
    Giving « whiteness » the legal personality would corroborrate the very existence of something as a « White nation ».

    • The accepted estimate for the population of Canada prior to european colonisation is around 500,000 with a great deal of uncertainty.

      The current population of those identifying as FN is 1,600,000. It is a very strange genocide which leads to a threefold increase in population. To be fair there was a significant reduction population in the early days predominantly through disease but in a way this just reinforces how crazy talk of genocide is. the population rebounded even more strongly than a factor of 3 increase woudl suggest.

      • dirk says

        But, please, AJ, forget that literal meaning of genocide here, we don’t live anymore in the enlightenmento-cene, in the reasonableo-cene we have long since been overpowered by the nonsenseo-cene, also where we call somebody a son-of-a-bitch, we don’t mean that this is literally the case, it’s just meant as an easy insult. Please, be aware in which time we live now!!

      • Simon says

        @AJ : Hi AJ, thanks for the figures, but I was not considering the factuality of the alleged FN genocide. I was just speculating about the various declinations (by intent/accidental, through physical elimination/through forced acculturation) of genocides and their potential legal effects if they were to be adopted.

        In our current regime, international law only recognizes the individual responsibilty of state administrators in perpetrating deliberate acts of genocide. It does not recognize the transhistorical responsibility of a state and its population in perpetrating, either deliberate acculturation of minorities, or their physical elimination through indirect means.

        I was just pinpointing the undesirable effects of recognizing the collective responsiblity of the Canadian nation as a whole, distinct from the impersonal reponsibility of the state or the individual responsibilty of state administrators.

        • There is an issue with complaints about countries behaviour in the historic past and still greater problems when compensation starts to be discussed.

          The problem is that treating countries like individuals the guilt of which continues beyond the death of everyone affected means that every country becomes a criminal responsible for serious crimes and a source of dispute and justification for further crimes. Should I as an englishman resent and claim compensation from the french for the harrying of the north a clear genocidal policy of William of Normandy in 1069. I come from the north and never mind that I can’t begin to trace my ancestory back that far. A policy which holds those that live in roughly the same area and have vaguely similar ancestory responsible for the crimes of the original perpetrators is completely arbitrary and unjust.

          Ethnocide is a continuous and normal process. The culture that existed in England when I was born no longer exists. It has moved on with internal developmenst and myriad external influences how do we distinguish this ‘good’ ethnocide from other ‘bad’ ethnocides?

          • Ray Andrews says


            “how do we distinguish this ‘good’ ethnocide from other ‘bad’ ethnocides?”

            It’s easy. If the invaders are darker it is a good enthnocide. If the invaders are whiter, it’s colonialism and genocide.

        • PMJT says

          @Simon: The problem with actually convicting a state of a crime runs counter to the very core principles in a liberal democracy. Individual responsibility is a fundamental and founding principle of the modern, western democratic state, and that idea goes back, in English law, to the Magna Carta in 1215.

          The National MMIWG Inquiry’s desire to convict a state of a crime may seem totally woke but it is also anti-democratic.

          People who support the MMIWG “genocide” finding and believe that it is true hate democracy.

          What the National MMIWG Inquiry is trying to do is create a new version of the international law of genocide that is communist-dictator-friendly and will proclaim, in traditional Stalinist fashion, that all past, current, and future citizens of Canada are automatically guilty of the worst crime imaginable and must be punished by having money deducted from their paycheques as well as be sentenced to read all 1200 pages of the National MMIWG Inquiry reports. All good Canadian comrades will willingly and enthusiastically participate in this woke national shaming of the non-woke.

          And if you don’t like being shamed for being a genocidal murderer (even if you have never committed any crimes in your life) and aren’t willing to wake up every morning and call yourself the worst kind of criminal murderer ever imaginable (for just 2 minutes) then you can leave. If you aren’t sad and ashamed to be Canadian, you can leave.

        • JWR says

          @Simon @AJ The state responsibility question has already been answered in international law by using the “Control Test.” the 1986 Nicaragua v United States case introduced the “Control Test.” The 2007 Serbia v Bosnia Herzegovina case reaffirms that control test, which is also super relevant to the argument since this second case is also about genocide.

          The state is deemed responsible if it has “effective control” over those committing the crime. Since many of the people convicted of genocide are often the leaders of the state, applying the control test is a no brainer. If the Prime Minister of Canada is the one giving the order to commit genocide, then, duh, the state is responsible.

          A huge problem with the legal argument by the MMIWG is that they want to skip the process of criminal trials and rigorous examinations of facts and evidence and testimony in a criminal court, which uses the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof. Instead, they want to skip right into a civil court, which uses a much lower burden of proof, “balance of probabilities,” to make their case.

          Another huge problem with their agreement is that states don’t have a mens rea. They cannot because of simple rules of logic. It is impossible. Only people can have a guilty mentality. Their academic argument that a mens rea for a state can be presumed by looking at the policies enacted by the state is not a legal principle. The MMIWG legal team are just making up that argument. It’s total bullshit! That legal principle does not exist in any legal form whatsoever. They are trying to import alt-left, woke academic reasoning into international law. And i bet you that every single international commission looking at the fake “genocide” happening in Canada, will dismiss the MMIWG Inquiry’s legal analysis became they got the law so totally wrong.

      • NashTiger says

        Now do Polar Bears

        Polar Bear populations have increased 4-5fold since they became “endangered” by Climate Change

      • NashTiger says

        Now do Polar Bears.
        Polar Bear populations have increased 4-5fold since they first became ‘endagered’ by Man Made Climate Change

    • David says

      The main problem with disentangling genocide as you suggest is that it bifurcates justice. You could end up with members from a disadvantaged group going to a civil court to make a civil claim on a lesser-genocide charge and succeed. But then you could potentially have another group of people, alleged perpetrators, charged and maybe even acquitted of genocide in a criminal court because the mens rea wasn’t proven, and then they’d be walking around going, “If the mens rea don’t fit, you must acquit.” But they would be forced to pay lesser-non-crime-genocide reparations? That kind of disentangling can potentially add a lot of confusion to the law. Guilty here, innocent there. Innocent of the crime of genocide, but guilty of an international anti-genocide bylaw infraction. You won’t do time, but you’ll pay a fine.

      But I think I know what you’re saying about a “genocide spectrum” because a lot of criminal codes are structured to have different names for similar crimes. For example, crimes like First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, and Manslaughter have a similar actus reus, but the mens rea element is very different in each one. The mens rea reflects the severity of the crime. Like Genocide, First Degree Murder is deliberate, planned, and pre-meditated. Second degree murder is deliberate but not planned. Manslaughter refers to killing a person in a reckless or negligent manner, without any intent to harm or injure another person. A drunk driver who gets behind the wheel and causes an accident that results in the death of everyone in the other car will often be charged with (and convicted of) manslaughter.

      One of the biggest failures of the MMIWG Inquiry was not looking into Crimes Against Humanity, like at all. There is way more about that law in this article than there is in the entire 1200 pages of stuff the National Inquiry presented. It is hard to comprehend such a serious omission in their thinking and analysis. Crimes against humanity is the international law where a bulk of the jurisprudence exists. It is the law used to convict the Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials. And it has been used right beside genocide in every single actual and proven instance of genocide in the past 80 years or so. But the National Inquiry totally ignores crimes against humanity, which goes to prove that the “genocide” the whinge about maybe isn’t actually a real “genocide.”

      • Fran says

        @David The problem in the article and in your suggestion that ‘crimes against humanity’ should have been considered is that the whole purpose of the MMIWG and the preceding enquiry on Residential schools was to get ‘reparations’; MONEY. Trudeau seems to have gone into it to pursuade the rest of Canada that cash is warranted.

        It is all about money. Therefore, the Indians have to sound pathetic enough that they get more. Personally, I believe that it is damaging for a group to be continually portrayed as hopeless victims, and to have monitory incentives to keep it up. If I was hiring, I certainly would look closely before taking on a Aboriginal, because the media picture of them is so pathetic.

        • JWR says

          @Fran You are right about money being a huge focus of the National Inquiry. For a couple of days after the “genocide” finding came out, there were some First Nations leaders on TV asking the government to get back to the negotiating table to discuss reparations. But that only lasted for two days.

          Here is the thing about “crimes against humanity.” That set of laws is always applied along side the law of genocide. Those laws go together. They are always applied together–except in this instance, which is weird.

          Another thing is that both “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” are international criminal laws. Criminal laws are about getting justice and holding those who planned and committed these crimes accountable. But criminal law has nothing to do with reparations.

          Reparations are figured out at a later date in a separate civil court trial. That is where the “control test” mentioned in the essay gets used.

          The National Inquiry is almost creating a new law because they want to skip the criminal trials and go straight into discussions about money. Can you see how messed up their legal analysis becomes due to this focus on money?

  15. dirk says

    Imagine, you lived 100 years ago, and had to decide on how to behave and what to do with the ” natives” of the reserves and backward territories. In the schoolbooks of primary and secondary education on geography and history, mankind was described and divided in: savages (people without laws and decent homes, living from what nature provided and from plunder), barbarians, half cultured (with agriculture and pottery, and some art and customary laws) and, finally, the real, developed, civilised and cultured men, the white Europeans and Westerners.

    Now, put yourself in the position of an official or local gouvernar, what to do? Let them rot in their barbarism?? Or try to save them and teach them some elementary and basic principles of how it should be!

    If ,at that time, you would have chosen for the first solution, that would have been judged as higly immoral and inhumane, unchristian, by almost anybody at the time.

    • David of Kirkland says

      yes, they’d be blamed for inequity, inequality, racism

      • dirk says

        Just as inequality and racism are now no longer morally acceptable, they were very much so 100 yrs ago, just read the text and study books of that time, David.

  16. northernobserver says

    The MMIWG report is hate speech directed at Canadians. It has as much political and cultural validity as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and it serves a similar purpose, to demonize a population so that the State use of force via plunders, displacement or death, can be justified. And if you think this report will not be used to justify violence against Canadians I would say you are terribly naive.
    It red-washes our history to pave the way for vengeance. We will be working to undo its toxic legacy for decades.

    • Kencathedrus says

      @northernobserver: this echoes my sentiments exactly. Id Pol is being used as a weapon by the State to justify violence against the population, especially those who disagree with the media narrative being fed to them. The poor are already deemed bigoted ‘unworthies’ and are dying off slowly from a steady diet of fast food and drug addiction, while those with a little bit of influence can be neutralized by rabid Twitter mobs. We are entering a strange period in history where ‘good’ is now ‘bad’ and ‘bad’ is ‘good’. Mental disorders and sexual fetishes are celebrated while wisdom and intellect are demonized as tools of an imaginary oppressor class i.e. ‘The Patriarchy’. This state of affairs clearly can’t hold for very long as most ordinary people are waking up to the excesses of Id Pol. However, these are so deeply rooted in our institutions, that I’m not sure how easy it will be to change that part of our culture.

    • David says

      Your point about saying that “It has as much political and cultural validity as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is very accurate. The “genocide” charge levelled against the Canadian government reads like a conspiracy theory. And it makes just about as much sense as a conspiracy theory. People who believe that there is a “genocide” happening in Canada right now probably also believe that the earth is flat or that FEMA has a secret hidden death camp underneath the runway tarmac of Denver International Airport (and that the screams of the dead and dying are the real cause of all the turbulence you experience when flying into DIA). Or that the gates of Hell will open on July 27, 2014 (don’t really remember that day and have no recollection of seeing any demons and devils).

      Yes, it is bullshit “red-washing” of history. But I don’t know if it is hate speech yet. Even if it is paving the way for vengeance, it isn’t directly calling white people evil or making direct calls for others to commit acts of violence against white people. I don’t think that the National Inquiry crossed that hate-speech threshold line. Their report is more like an incompetent attempt to paint over the “whitewashing” of history. But I don’t want my history red-washed or whitewashed. Just give it to me straight, all the facts upfront without any distortions or bending of reality and no matter how ugly these facts might be.

  17. David of Kirkland says

    Why not suggests everything is genocide, concentration camps, sexual assault, words as violence, hate speech, systemic racism and sexism…. I cry wolf!

  18. TarsTarkas says

    Genocide is in the eyes of the beholder. Or rather, the psyche of the perpetually offended. I’m waiting for the snowflake who screams at someone ‘You hater! You’re trying to genocide me!’ over a parking space, or something.

    • Spency John says

      Totally! The meaning of “genocide” has changed in Canada. We now use it as that thing you say when someone sneezes, as in, “Oh, genocide!”

  19. Steve Gates says

    I’m sorry but didn’t read the article. However, I don’t think I need to in this case. I can comment almost based on title alone and hopefully you will agree that the content of the article wouldn’t change the outcome…

    Here we go….

    Stop playing a semantics game. It genuinely doesn’t matter if it is technically genocide or not. You admit in the title that the treatment was cruel and that enough to know it was terrible and the country should be ashamed. You will not ‘save face’ by arguing that it was not.

    • Keith M says

      I understand where you are coming from because “making rash, illogical conclusions based upon little or no factual evidence” is something I have been accused of in the past. I had read the article fully intending to rip it to pieces and critique it for its smug-whiteness and settler-colonialist perspective. Mr. Mount was a former student of mine in the UBC Creative Writing MFA program. He had such potential to be a meaningful nonfiction writer, but he has made bad political choices over the past few years and is coming to the wrong conclusions. I needed to let him know–one last time–that he might be on the wrong side of history yet again and, hopefully, save him from himself before he ends up shunned the entire UBC community. First he was a rape apologist who supported rape culture by signing a letter that Margaret Atwood signed in such a hurtful manner. Now he denies First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples the right to claim the word genocide for themselves.

      As for semantics games, this article is, much to my disappointment, not doing that. In fact, it is the first article to look at the legal reasons used by the MMIWG Inquiry to justify their claim. No other media outlet has done that. Many of them played semantic games about the meaning of genocide. This article looks at the state of the law and suggests that the MMIWG Inquiry actually made some mistakes in their legal analysis.

      It also suggests that the MMIWG Inquiry has hurt First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples by not using the proper law. Why did they fail to include a legal analysis about crimes against humanity? That is one of his more salient points. That last failure by the MMIWG Inquiry could end up hurting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples, which is a troubling notion to accept.

      • Sydney says

        @Keith M

        If you’re angry about the author’s piece, then why don’t you submit your own piece to Quillette?

        As a non-First Nations (FN) Canadian reader I believe that the author did an excellent and altogether fair job with the topic.

        (Disappointingly, many comments were bizarre, off-topic, defensive, and racist. But I expect that you view all non-FN, non-SJWs as racist; so no non-FN, non-SJW can find common ground with you.)

        Canadian FN peoples suffered no more or less at the hands of aggressors than hundreds of other groups across the face of the planet. Terrible wrongs and injustices were committed, and no reasonable Canadian denies the fact. In response, modern-day Canada has made great demonstrations of contrition and goodwill so that today FNs have massive financial opportunities to move ahead.

        But if we’re all honest, we know that most of the opportunities are wasted, thanks to continuing anger and resentment on the part of FNs.

        Some FNs live in the present and create or take opportunities, such as the Osoyoos Band’s successful Nk’Mip Cellars winery/resort; or the Iron Coalition plan to purchase the majority piece of TransMountain. The people involved in these businesses are living in the present and not hand-wringing over the past. (And they aren’t falling for far-left, identity-politics hucksterism that will spit FNs back out at the first opportunity.)

        But it seems that FNs mostly, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” as the saying goes. MMIWG was one of those missed opportunities. Joining hands with academic SJWs and their far-left ideology (an ideology ironically born in “white” Europe of the mid-1800s) to wildly overreach on the issues of the murders/accidents/disappearances was the least productive thing possible.

        No non-SJW, non-FN finds the “genocide” conclusion believable, reasonable, or based in fact. How does “claiming the word genocide” further FN communities of Canada when the claim is so baseless that it alienates all non-FN Canadians who sincerely want to bring murderers/abusers/human traffickers of FN women and girls to justice?

        “I had read the article fully intending to rip it to pieces and critique it for its smug-whiteness and settler-colonialist perspective.”

        As a non-FN, non-SJW, non-marxist, centrist Canadian, I’d like to read your critique. Please submit it to Quillette! I look forward to it as a Canadian reader.

        [NB: I don’t look forward to baseless, obscure, personal jabs against the author that don’t serve readers: “I needed to let him know…that he might be on the wrong side of history yet again and…save him from himself before he ends up shunned the entire UBC community. First he was a rape apologist who supported rape culture by signing a letter…”]

        Please, @Keith M, write a post for Quillette readers.

  20. erik friesen says

    Canadas response to this widespread horror story seems to lack analysis of on possible explanation. Could these numerous disappearances be the work of a many serial killers over long periods of time from one end of the country to the other?

    I don’t thing this problem has been examined comprehensively through that lens, one that has developed dramatically in the past 40 years.

    • David says

      The National Inquiry published about 1200 pages of documentation on this problem, and there are some hints in their reports that a few human trafficking rings operate in remote areas of Canada. But instead of dealing with that issue or putting pressure on the police to do their jobs properly or pressure on governments to expand police budgets and form policing task forces to investigate and arrest criminals, the entire country has been arguing over semantics. So, good job National Inquiry! Oh, well, at least they got the word, “GENOCIDE” printed in red ink on the front page of the Toronto Star.

  21. Cecilia Von Dehn says

    The Genocide has been and still is the rampant abortion rate in Canada. The highest amongst First Nations. As abortion on demand became the norm, I remember as a nurse, how a renowned BC Band Chief voiced his concern as he saw the Bands unborn citizens being targeted and lost. . Then and now our government officials cover abortion costs and fly the mothers down from outlying reserves to.contribute to the Genocide.

  22. Cornwallis issued the scalping proclamation in response to British settlers (including women and children) being scalped and killed by Micmacs (who were allied with the French – these were political killings, and the Micmac warriors conspired with the French for strategic and material gain). His comment that the war “wouldn’t end with a peace agreement” to me doesn’t imply extermination. It implies a clear win with imposed agreements for co-existence after, not a negotiation with hundreds of years of legal wrangling, and continued arguments over entitlements.

    • Keith M says

      Cornwallis was a genocidal maniac. He fought in the Battle of Culloden in 1745 and then participated in The Pacification, a brutal campaign to purge the Catholic threat from Scotland. That was a genocide aimed against Scottish people who were Catholics. But it also expanded to ban the Celtic language, the Clan system, and the wearing of Tartans. The genocide expanded against Highlanders. During the Pacification, Cornwallis ordered his troops to murder and arrest known Catholics and their sympathizers. Summary executions on family farms were common. When Catholics were found inside a church, the doors were barred, and the building was set on fire. All those inside were burned to death. It is not surprising that Cornwallis continued to be a brutal monster once he got to Halifax.

  23. bill53 says

    This is as bad a mistake on Canada’s part, provoking an inquiry into indian mistreatment. As AG Sessions provoking a special prosecutor to investigate the Presidents election campaign then getting Mueller. .

    • Dave says

      These Inquiry’s aren’t provoked. Canada has a National Inquiry or Royal Commission industry. The government spends millions of dollars every year on them. The Inquiry this essay talks about cost Canadians $97 Million over almost 3 years. Canadian taxpayers bought 10 days of intense arguments in the media over this. So when you look at the cost of advertising, it is not a bad deal, right? Anyway, these Inquiries provides good paying jobs for junior lawyers and researchers fresh out of college. But the cushy jobs are as a commissioner at the top, heading one of these inquiries. In fact, it is a rare year when there isn’t an Inquiry or Commission run-in at a federal or provincial level.

  24. Spency John says

    Yeah, because “Nazi bitch-boys” are always going on about how horrible the Holocaust was and how evil Adolf Hitler was. Johnny boy, you seem really uneducated and misinformed. FYI: Instagram and SnapChat may not be the best places to learn about current events or history.

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