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The Walls are Tumbing Down: Genocide exposed in Canada (and the USA)

A report of recent exposures of intentional genocide of native people by churches and government in Canada
2 January, 2008
Occupied Coast Salish Territory

If we only ask ourselves, how did they die, and not why, they will not find final rest.
Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind)

The Walls are Tumbling Down:
New Year's Bulletin from Kevin Annett and The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada

In this Bulletin:
1. Update from Kevin Annett
2. Schedule of Kevin's Upcoming Speaking-Film Tour
3. Related Public Actions (January-February)
4. A Summary of our Victories and a Look Ahead
5. Links and Resources

In Appreciation ...

It's not often that we see truth vindicated and justice begin to take shape. But after twelve years of struggle, that is occurring, thanks to the persistent efforts of people like you.

This past year witnessed an historic first in Canada: the public acknowledgment by the government that thousands of children died in church-run "Indian residential schools". Just yesterday, the Globe and Mail newspaper announced that witnesses to these deaths will give testimony before upcoming public hearings concerning criminal acts in these schools. Suddenly, the reality of genocide is staring Canada in the face.

Not surprisingly, the groups responsible for this genocide are doing their best to conceal their guilt. In late December, on the eve of an investigation, the United Church of Canada closed their residential school records to the public; and yet one of the officials responsible for hiding these records, former Moderator Bill Phipps, was, amazingly, appointed by the government to the Selection Panel that will choose the Commissioners who will be investigating the residential school deaths!

Such blatant collusion between Canadian church and state to hide their crimes against native people is hardly new, but these acts are no longer hidden from view, and indicate a growing desperation at the official level, now that so many eyewitnesses to genocide are finally coming forward.

Quite simply, we have backed the powers of this land up against a wall. This is a critical moment in the history of all our nations, a crossroads that may allow us to see into ourselves, and change. And so we owe it to the dead, and to the living, to clearly look at the Thing that caused these deaths, and continues to ravage our land and its peoples.

I've awoken to how it's my purpose to compel my own people to examine themselves, and their own sickness, since all of their talk of "healing" and "reconciliation" will mean nothing if they don't stop the practices which have devastated so many innocents.

I was reminded of this yesterday, as I walked along East Hastings street in downtown Vancouver where many residential school survivors live, and die. Dozens of native people lay in alleyways and bus stops, inebriated from drugs and alcohol, many more than usual, and often in whole groups. And as I spoke to people, I realized that this devastation was because most of them had just received their "settlement money" from the government.

"Ten thousand bucks" said one man, a survivor of the Catholic school in Mission, B.C. "It's just enough to drink myself to death with."

The murderous impact continues. With the walls of lies beginning to crumble, I pray that in the coming year we will do more than talk, that lives will be saved, little spirits released, and the guilty brought to trial.

I will see many of you during the next two months, when once more I'll be journeying across Canada and the USA. Here's my schedule, thus far:

Upcoming Lecture Schedule of Eagle Strong Voice (Kevin Annett): (* indicates an accompanying protest or public action)

January 30: Kingston, Ontario

January 31-February 1: Montreal *, Quebec and Kahnawake

February 2-4: Ottawa * and Peterborough

February 5: Brantford

February 6-10: Toronto *

February 11-12: North Bay and Timmins

February 13-15: Syracuse and Clinton, New York

February 16 onwards: Available for talks in the eastern USA

To find out the details of meetings in any of these cities, contact Kevin directly at  hiddenfromhistory@yahoo.ca or 1-888-265-1007 / 250-753-3345.

And here are some Related Actions and Events:

Vancouver - Sunday, January 13: Protest Vigil outside downtown Vancouver churches - Rally at 9 am outside the Carnegie Centre, Main and Hastings st.

Vancouver Island, same day: Showing of film UNREPENTANT at the Duncan Garage @ 2 pm; address: 201-330 Duncan St., Duncan, B.C. Info: 250-748-7246

Vancouver Island, Monday, January 21 @ 7 pm - Showing of UNREPENTANT at the Duncan Garage

Ottawa - Sunday, February 3 @ 10 am: Memorial Vigil for residential school survivors outside St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 82 Kent st. at Wellington near the Parliament Buildings

Ottawa - Monday, February 4 @ 10 am - Press Conference and Memorial Vigil for the Disappeared Residential School Children
outside the House of Commons

Toronto - Friday, February 8 @ 12:30 pm - Press Conference and Memorial Vigil for the Disappeared outside the Catholic Arch-Diocese Office, 1155 Yonge St.

Toronto - Sunday, February 10 @ 10 am - Memorial Procession for the Disappeared commencing outside Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. East

Similar actions may be held in the other cities mentioned in the lecture schedule; check with Kevin for updates.
.............................................................................................

A Summary of our Victories and a Look Ahead

Not since 1998 have there occurred such momentous changes for those who suffered attempted extermination in the residential schools. That year witnessed not only the Brenner decision in the B.C. Supreme Court, which found the churches and government of Canada equally liable for the tortures inflicted in the residential schools, but the holding of the first public inquiry into the schools, at the June IHRAAM Tribunal in Vancouver.

During 2007, even greater victories were won because of the work of our network and many brave survivors:

1. After the global release of our documentary film on residential school murders, UNREPENTANT, and the staging of public vigils in memory of the disappeared children in seven Canadian cities on April 15, the Canadian government was forced to publicly acknowledge, for the first time, that thousands of children died in the Indian residential schools (April 20).

2. Under the pressure of this admission, the government promised to investigate these deaths, including by searching for death records and burial sites. (April 24)

3. For the first time, the "mainstream" media in Canada began reporting some of the truth of the murders and deaths in residential schools: in the Globe and Mail (April, December), the CBC (May) and CTV (December).

4. Our award-winning documentary film UNREPENTANT was screened in dozens of our communities and seen by thousands of people around the world.

5. As a result of the awareness brought by this film, the government announced the formation of a national "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (TRC) to bring greater disclosure about the residential school crimes. (June)

6. On behalf of our Commission, Eagle Strong Voice (Kevin Annett) conducted three cross-country speaking tours, addressing nearly fifty communities and over 2,500 people, including senior politicians in Ottawa and many elders and survivors.

7. The countries of Cuba and Iran began the process of tabling a motion at the United Nations to have Canada and its churches investigated for crimes of genocide against its aboriginal peoples.

The miraculous thing about these events is that they have all come about through a completely grassroots movement, outside the "official" channels of native and white politics, and solely because of the work of residential school survivors and our Commission.

As elated as we are about these changes, we remain troubled by the continued refusal of the government and the Catholic, Anglican and United churches to take responsibility for the deaths of our children in their residential schools and bring the guilty to justice. These groups continue to evade and lie, and even suppress evidence of their crimes, all along callously equating "healing and reconciliation" with money payments to survivors.

We are especially alarmed at the recent "stacking" of the government's "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (TRC) with members of the very groups that committed residential school crimes, like former United Church Moderator Bill Phipps. We demand that Mr. Phipps step down or be removed from the TRC's Selection Panel, and that the TRC sever its connections with those bodies that ran the residential schools, like the churches and the RCMP.

We are equally shocked by the collusion in these wrongs by the so-called "Assembly of First Nations" (AFN), a body not elected by indigenous people but created and funded by the colonial state of Canada.

We believe that the AFN has been one of the biggest roadblocks to the winning of genuine justice and recovery for residential school survivors and aboriginal nations, and that it continues to serve the government and not native people.The AFN must revoke its support for the Harper government's "settlement" to residential school survivors, demand genuine restitution on terms dictated by the survivors themselves, and join our call for the surrendering of the remains of the children who died in the residential schools.

To build on our victories and overcome the barriers facing us, we must work with renewed effort in 2008 to achieve the following:

1. Hold a genuine, non-governmental investigation into the death and disappearance of residential school children that will be conducted by independent, international bodies.

2. Force the government and the Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada to return the remains of all those who died in Indian residential schools and hospitals.

3. Force the TRC to immediately and publicly disclose all of the evidence it has uncovered in its research so far.

4. Launch an international campaign to boycott Canadian goods and trade, and the 2010 Olympics, until justice is won.

5. Create indigenous courts of justice where known perpetrators of crimes against native people can be tried and convicted.

To begin this work, each of you can do three essential things: invite Eagle Strong Voice to come and speak and show our documentary film UNREPENTANT in your community, record the stories and evidence of residential school survivors where you live, and hold vigils and protests outside local United, Catholic and Anglican churches in your town.

But we cannot hope to go forward until many more native people, and especially residential school survivors, release their fear and step forward publicly to tell their stories and name the criminals. We must record the evidence and stories of the eyewitnesses before they die and the truth is lost forever.

With our thanks and encouragement,

The Executive, The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada
2 January, 2008

Links and Resources:

- See our new, updated website at: www.hiddenfromhistory.org
(it should be on line no later than 3-4 January; until then see: dnn.hiddenfromhistory.org)

- January 1 Globe and Mail article on residential school deaths:
 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080101.SCHOOLS01//TPStory/Front

- A link to our film UNREPENTANT can be found on our website. Copies of the film (cost by donation) and our book Hidden from History:The Canadian Holocaust (cost $50) can be obtained below:
(make cheques payable to Lori O'Rorke)

The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada
260 Kennedy St.
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada V9R 2H8
ph: 250-753-3345 or pager: 1-888-265-1007

FILM LINK to UNREPENTANT:

 link to video.google.ca

homepage: homepage: http://www.hiddenfromhistory.org