Did Canada commit ethnic cleansing?

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Saint, Jul 4, 2021.

  1. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    They were not, at that time, remotely interested in humane values. No international power in its empire-building phase, recognizes the sovereignty or autonomy of nations with less fire-power than their own. They come to enlightened philosophies regarding human liberty, dignity and rights only in decline. And then, just the literati: you still have to beat every inch and ounce of social justice out of their governments at home.
    If the immigrant is the petitioner, asking to be allowed into the host country's culture. Not if the decision to assimilate a sub-group - say the the Uyghurs in China - it doesn't work at all; they always resort to genocide, fast or slow, overt or covert.
    They weren't migrating; they were colonizing. That is an inherently aggressive act : a strong invading force taking over a weak indigenous population. Immigration is a contract between an individual and a nation-state, where that individual's only protection is the degree to which the nation-state adheres to its promise.
    Record? Not of an official pogrom - just a few local incidents and a few unprovoked attacks by army units - though some recent historians have been a little forthcoming about the nature of some murky past events. It was not usually overt and fast, but a whole lot of native people were killed one way or another, and there certainly was a concerted, protracted official policy of suppressing native culture and language, of disrupting communities and their livelihood. More overtly, there was forcible seizure, of natives' land and hunting/fishing grounds by government agencies - along with the unacknowledged incursion of settlers (forest-burning, wildlife-eradicating, fence-building settlers) and private mining operations on what were officially designated as native territories. And, of course, some pretty harsh law-enforcement (which is still going on, btw) and the famine
    which was not directly caused by the Canadian government - all the settlers, though most actively the American ones, had a gun in killing off the bison - but the administration and the railroad barons certainly took full advantage of the resulting hunger.

    I'm also aware that many settler communities lived peaceably alongside, and interacted amicably with native communities. It wasn't a full-out national campaign of eradication, so maybe genocide is a degree too strong. But 'assimilation' suggests a desire, or at least willingness to include "the other people" among one's own, and I see no indication that any such desire or willingness existed - ever.
    Quantum Quack likes this.
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  3. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    It's a bit like a child stealing a cookie and eventually admitting to the theft, acknowledging his crime but unable to return the cookie because he has digested it years ago. Part of the reason for the slow progress of humanity towards a more " humane and Just" position, generally speaking, could be because of this impossibility of redemption for past historic behaviors. (re: the sins of our fathers)

    One of the reasons for not acknowledging the crime of land-resource theft by our settler forefathers and the subsequent desire to be rid of the original owners is that there is no real way to compensate for their loss. There is no redemption with out giving it all back and vacating the land. Even so the cookie has been digested and there really is no way back to per-colonization days.. In some ways I feel this issue was explored in the fictional movie Avatar and no doubt in other literary works.

    The fact is that the colonists using self justifying legal jargon invaded a land and stole ownership, sort to protect their theft by committing some form of genocide. To fully admit to it now is to take a big hit on that so called morally supreme position that they felt they had at the time and the evolved morality they feel they have now.

    An interesting comparison can be made to look at the early days of both Australia (Terra Nullius - empty land - no native government etc) and New Zealand where the question of invasion vs colonization is demonstrated.

    Basically what I am suggesting is that genocide- ethnic genocide - cultural genocide are really, in these cases, about removing the problem of guilty forced land acquisition, resource theft from the native population by removing the original owners and knowing that to return the "cookie" so to speak is materially impossible. Perhaps I am mistaken...

    The historical context of the recent conflict (2020) : Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians sort of proves the point of eating the cookie and the impossibility to offer full redemption or compensation etc...
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    The stories are, indeed, very similar. No surprise, since the empire writing them is the same one. Spain's and Portugal's imperial story is different; France's, Holland's and Japan's, all slightly different. But all also the same as Macedonia's, Egypt's and the Mughals' in India. North American natives also killed and displaced one another. It's what humans do.

    I can't tell. The actual genocide, or attempted genocide, or some series of actions that comes very close to genocide - I have to agree: the definition is problematic - happened for perfectly obviously reasons: one group of humans wanted the land and resources that another group of humans possessed, and since they had more and bigger guns, they took it.
    What happens later gets really, really complicated. Gets cocked-up, fouled-up, scrapped-over, litigated, exploited, corrected, cocked-up in some other way, boondoggled, combobulated and discombobulated a dozen different ways from Saturday.
    What happens when all the pigeons come home at the same time is apologetics and embarrassment.
    If everyone involved has an honest, practical approach, it can, maybe, get repaired enough to go on in some healthy direction.
    It's all you can hope for.
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