Why not prosecute those who implemented ethnocide?

After Remembrance Day, I kept thinking on issues of memory, social justice, and historical representation. One thing that still bothers me is the ethnocide perpetrated against First Nations people here in Canada, and particularly the role of the residential school system in the past and the myriad effects it still has nowadays.

It is a good comparison to see the kinds of collective actions and memorialization processes that emerge prior, during, and after Remembrance Day versus what happened—and still happens—with the residential school system.

I come from a country (Argentina) in which we have sent to trial, imprisoned, and socially ostracized high-ranking military men who perpetrated the so-called “Dirty War” during the 1970s and early 1980s. I wonder why a similar process did not happen here with those in the high hierarchy of the residential school system.

As far as I know, no one from the church or the government who was directly implementing this ethnocide has been prosecuted and sent to jail for all the crimes they committed. Besides other reparations (mainly territory, economic prosperity, political determination, and cultural freedom), a step forward would be to create a juridical tool that could properly try and send to jail perpetrators.

> Rafael Wainer / Vancouver



Moral compass

Nov 26, 2013 at 7:18pm

Let me guess... People just don't care what happened to the natives.

In North America clcare mostly about money. Their own personal wealth. Not surprising that nothing gets done when a minority gets bullied. Also people had it good for too long. They never been invaded by anyone and didn't have to suffer a military dictatorship.

Therefore they only think about themselves right now, their wallet and their entertainment. Thinking that they also get to vote for the people that work for an extreme minority doesn't make me feel any better.

Truth is here, people don't know or care much about anything else but their backyard. Nothing to be proud of.

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Nov 27, 2013 at 11:31am

Paul Leroux was just convicted of molesting students at the residential school where he was "boy's supervisor" in Saskatchewan in the 1960s. The former principal of that school, Father Norbert Dufault, was previously convicted of assaulting girls.

So we can't say that prosecutions *never* happen.

Should there be more? I would assume that prosecutors are willing to proceed, but of course they want to make a case that will meet the beyond reasonable doubt standard. They won't just take a case from a media article - they need evidence, witnesses and whatever corroroborative material they can get. It's tough to do.