Yes, let’s compare residential schools to Holocaust & Rwanda

Assembly of First Nations National Chief  Shawn Atleo attempting to equate the past residential schools to systematic genocide is sickening rhetoric for which he should be ashamed:

“I, along with so many of our people, feel if you consider what the term genocide means. It references to the killing of people. Our people died in residential schools…the residential school was cultural genocide; the attempt to, over the course of history, to kill the Indian in the child. And that has been the experience of our people.” (see video here)

Whenever politicians like Atleo hijack words such as genocide to suit their purpose, it lessens the real and true atrocities.

Also: See earlier post on Atleo inserting himself in last year’s federal election here


14 Responses to “Yes, let’s compare residential schools to Holocaust & Rwanda”

  1. John C Says:

    Agreed, the term ‘genocide’ gets thrown around far too much and as you say, it does lessen the real and true meaning of the term.
    That being said, Atleo is also repeating the same words that PM Harper used in his apology in 2008.

  2. ThatGuy Says:

    It *was* genocide. The government back then wanted to eradicate the First Nations’ culture and beliefs, so they ripped children away from their parents and shoved them in schools were they were brutally abused by people who saw them as less-than-human. By the time they saw their parents again, they’d often have forgotten their own language and had it literally beaten into them that their religious beliefs were wrong.
    By destroying the culture in the minds of the children they wanted to destroy the First Nations’ ways and peoples. Isn’t that cultural genocide?

    • BC Blue Says:


      “Cultural genocide is a term that lawyer Raphael Lemkin proposed in 1933 as a component to genocide. The term was considered in the 1948 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples juxtaposed next to the term ethnocide, but it was removed in the final document, replaced with simply “genocide”. The precise definition of “cultural genocide” remains unclear.”

    • JanBC Says:

      If ‘taking the Indian out of the child’ isn’t cultural genicide, what is?

  3. TangoJuliette Says:

    TangoJuliette sez:

    Investigate the process implemented by previous governments of Canada. Check out the concept of something quietly known as our “Policy of Extinguishment.”
    If it walks like genocide, if it smells like genocide, if it feels like genocide, if it hurts like genocide, if it “disappears” peoples like genocide does, if it kills like genocide — it must be a Duck?

    If y/our people did not endure these attrocities, we might want to be a tad more circumspect in our criticisms and condemnations. You know . . . walk a mile in that man’s mocassins . . .




    • BC Blue Says:

      You mean then Atleo and yourself should walk around in the shoes of these people *not graphic*

      • TangoJuliette Says:

        The graphic you’ve posted doesn’t quite seem to tie in to the current discussion (IMHO)

        I’ve got a Ukrainian background, and as we come up to NOV 24, a day chosen to commemorate the one year death total of millions of Ukrainians through a Soviet -engineered Famine Genocide, (estimates range from four to seven to eighteen million dead in a one year span, the bolshevik butchers weren’t too keen on book-keeping, just as long as the “collectivization thing took hold.)

        Today, the 50,000,000 citizens of Ukraine are told that they musn’t use the word genocide – all explained away by four or five protocols established by the various universities that teach Genocide Study Programs.

        I am more than a little puzzled by your fuzzy photo. Is it of Armenian victims of Turkish attrocities? Of famine-deranged Ukrainian peasants cannibalizing corpses, to survive? (couldn’t be the last, as the armed Soviet Troops were under unders to kill anyone found eating anything that belonged to The Glorious State.)

        I witnessed similar sights in the Belgian Congo in 1960, with UN peace-keepers. huh! 😉 And I’ve served with many aboriginal troops in infantry regiments – and there aren’t many other people I’d prefer having on either side of me — when it all came down to a “peace-keeping” shooting match, in order to rescue nuns from being butchered, and like that.


        t.e.& o.e.

  4. Liz J Says:

    That’s the sort of rhetoric that ends any credible discussion on the subject. Shame on him, he’s also shaming the people he represents.

  5. TangoJuliette Says:

    I can take a pretty fair guess at the ethnic origins of your family name. In fact I came to a conclusion quite some time back. Which makes it all that much more difficult for me to comprehend what I perceive to be a somewhat cavalier and dismissive stance on this question of genocide. ie: “…(‘genocide’) is used to elicit a particular reaction by someone using it to gain sympathy to a cause…” ?? A “cause?” Or, perhaps, as accurately as possible, naming the cancer-like illness for what it truly is and does…?”

    An African proverb states that “When elephants fight, the ants always suffer and get trampled.” Western Ukraine is where the elephants are known to cavort. Relatives suffered and perished in Nazi death-camps as well as in the Soviets’ Gulag Archepelago.

    The major difference, between the Nazi’s savage, anti-semitic and genocidal holocaust, and all other similar misconducts against any number of other victims, is the fact that when the nazi death camps were eventually liberated, there were more than a few photographers, reporters and motion picture film-makers recording each and every excruciatingly, gut-wrenching image.

    Other such catastrophic examples of human vileness usually took place before the advent of, or out of sight of, (read: Iron / Bamboo Curtain) recording devices of recent times. Cellular phones and other such social media will go a great deal farther in recording and exposing such demented barbarity.

    I don’t understand what difference might be understood in thinking or knowing that you might have Ukrainian roots as well.

    In any event, it is my firm contention and belief that serious inroads need be made vis-a-vis our aboriginal issue. If Canada hopes to ever have any credibility on the international stage, it is imperative that serious and remedial processes be found. ASAP!



    t.e.& o.e.

  6. Dollops Eric Doll Says:

    Some of us need to get the Native Indian situation in perspective. Consider what would be the case today if there had been no government fixes dating back to the first treaties. There would be some scattered remnants of aboriginal (not a proper noun) cultures but the descendants of the original people would be thoroughly integrated into a composite culture THE WAY NATURE INTENDED IT. Imagine: no reserves with all their consequent debasement; no ‘sacred this-and-that’ extortion; no abuse of power and pilfering of funds by overseers; and no exploitation by those annoying bleeding-hearts. Cultural change is inevitable – the problems are only magnified by attempts to guide or soften the process.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: