A young drummer at a Sixties Scoop rally in Toronto, Ontario. Photo: Crystal Luxmore

Doug George-Kanentiio: Why Canada's reconciliation plans have failed

I am a residential school survivor and this reconciliation thing was a failure from the beginning. Why-because none of those highly paid federal civil servants-including the Native ones-had the common sense to ask us what we thought would work and how.

Not once did any of these people come to Akwesasne and ask to meet with us. We stated to the Ontario Indigenous Affairs Ministers David Zimmer this very simple principle:

NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US.

So we never had a chance to confront our abusers, never had a chance to question the officials-band council and federal agents-how and why they stole us from our homes. We were never given an apology from them or have those cretins explain their motives and methods.

How can a turn human being rape or beat a hungry, weeping, begging child? We could not forgive them without hearing from them so how in hell could this "reconciliation" work?

Some of us gave testimony at great pain but that was only half the story. I wanted to verbally reduce these SOB's to quivering mass of guilt ridden vermin-but the feds allowed them to escape justice without exception. And we are expected to forgive?

A stupid policy costing the Canadian people tens of millions of their money-and what did we get? Most of our claims were denied because we could not prove our testimony as to sexual and physical assault. Prove these abuses? Does a 10 year old boy in the act of being raped keep detailed notes as to time, place and rapist?

I can tell everyone that throughout my time at the jail called the Mohawk Institute I, nor anyone I know, saw a doctor to examine our bodies for abuse. Plus, we were denied access to whatever shallow records the government and Anglican Church had so there was no way of meeting formal standards of evidence.

I condemn those who came up with this "reconciliation" plan without having the decency of contacting us.

Go to the hell you tried to create for us on this earth.


Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk, is the vice-president of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge. He has served as a Trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian, is a former land claims negotiator for the Mohawk Nation and is the author of numerous books and articles about the Mohawk people. He may be reached via e-mail at: Kanentiio@aol.com or by calling 315-415-7288.

Note: Content copyright © Doug George-Kanentiio

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