Video of the Bonnycastle Lecture, University of Winnipeg: “Founding Amnesias: Bondage and Genocide from the American Revolution to Ferguson and Africville”

     On February 11, I gave the Bonnycastle Lecture in honor of Black History Month on “Founding Amnesias: Bondage and Genocide from the American Revolution to Ferguson and Africville”  at the University of Winnipeg, sponsored by the Political Science and History Departments, the H. Sanford Riley Center for Canadian History, the Faculty of Arts, the President’s Office, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy, the United Centre for Theological Studies,  the Mennonite Studies Program, the Global College and the Zamangalo Foundation as well as the newspaper, The Uniter. 
      The video is here or here (h/t Ryan Goehrung, Angela Schippers).
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       Vincent Harding, my dear friend, had given this lecture.  It was thus, for me, a particular honor to speak in this series.(h/t Eliakim Sibanda)
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        Paul Lawrie, a brilliant student of American eugenics, introduced me.  When he was going around putting up posters for the event, he ran into students in Black Lives Matter!, calling for a demonstration just before..  The international resonance of this movement I find thrilling, and I went to Black Lives Matter! demonstration from 12-12:30; most people there (perhaps 60) came to my talk…See here.
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        But a veil of silence is thrown over Canadian history for Americans.  So we might not know the richness of the struggles there or the intensity of what they have to battle against.  Eliakim Sibanda (chair of the History Department) and Glenn Morris both sent me the long, frightening article in MacLeans about the murderous racism toward indigenous young women, such as Tina Fernandez, 14 years old, kidnapped, raped and thrown in the Assinboin River with no police investigation, as well as men. 
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        In the case of Brian Sinclair, locked out by his landlord one icy Winnipeg night, he had both his legs amputated.  When Brian came to a hospital a year later with a leaking catheter – easy enough to fix – the emergency room nurse does not remember checking him in.  She is shown on camera doing so, but to her conscious mind, her robot-like acts, he was “invisible.” 
       He was in the waiting room, throwing up on himself, for 36 hours.  No one looked at him.
      He died.  
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      A judge recommended some 40 changes in hospital procedure so “this wouldn’t happen again.”  But being a racist, he did not say that Mr. Sinclair’s death is a result of racism. See the Maclean‘s article on Winnipeg the most racist city in Canada (but others are not far behind) here.
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      There are also Founding Amnesias in Canada as in all settler-colonialisms (the U.S., Israel, China in Tibet, Australia…) – myths that indigenous people are “savages.” bound to die off…- and the lifting of them increases outrage and shame at today’s revelations of fact.  See Shareen Razack here.
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        For this talk, I also read the Truth and Reconciliation 2012 Commission report on the genocidal stealing of children and forcing them to become “Canadian” in Catholic and Protestant schools which often starved them to death (half died of tuberculosis arising from malnourishment by the age of 15).  See here.

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        But following that period of stealing children “for education/civilization,” there was the “60s scoop”: indigenous children were still stolen and settled in white homes in Canada and even Minnesota.  See here.  This practice stopped only in the 1990s (something like it still goes on in South Dakota as the NPR series in 2011 underlined…).  Emulating the Nazis, Franco’s Spain – see here– and the Argentine fascists, these horrors violate the fifth section of Article 2 of the UN Convention against Genocide: “(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
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   The Assinboin and Metis are 60% of the people in Manitoba’s prisons, 10% of the population.  One third of indigenous students drop out before entering  high school.
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    In Canada, there will be no decent democracy until these issues are dealt with.  White Canadians, too, suffer poorer standards of living, more bizarre policing and justice, and poorer hospital care – except in comparison to the U.S – because of the oppression of indigenous people.

    Divide and rule is the oldest and most reliable elite tactic…

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    Even in Canada which (sort of) welcomed Black Loyalists, there is much to be heard about, much to be fought.

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