The discovery of 215 young Indigenous people buried on the property of the old Kamloops Indian Residential School re-opened a great many old wounds in this country, and just in time for National Indigenous History Month. Nation-wide, there may be between 11,000 and 15,000 missing children unaccounted for, which means this story is only going to get worse before it gets better.
It’s safe to say that no John A. Macdonald statue or effigy in the country will be safe, but the destruction and beheading of statues is an expression of anger by Indigenous people and their allies. It’s anger directed at government inaction, the Catholic Church’s indifference, and those who say that this is the distant past, and that Indigenous people just need to “get over it.” This is an emotional issue, and it requires someone that can look at it with an analytical perspective.
Fortunately, such expertise is readily available at the University of Guelph with Dr. David MacDonald. His book, The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation, came out in 2019 and made a case for calling the Indian Residential School system a genocide in Canada. It’s hard to think of a more essential topic for this National Indigenous History Month, so let’s talk about it on this week’s edition of the podcast.
MacDonald joins us to talk about how Canadian education is lacking when it comes to Indigenous history, and how we need to be able to talk about Canada’s darker chapters, He will also talk about how he became interested in residential schools, and why he’s comfortably calling it a genocide despite hesitation to do so in other quarters. And finally, he will discuss what the government and church should be doing right now in regards to residential schools, and how we can find the many missing Indigenous kids.
So let’s talk about the study of Canada’s dark history on this week’s episode of the Guelph Politicast!
You can read MacDonald’s most recent commentary at The Conversation, and you can still buy his book, The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation, in paperback and e-reader wherever you buy your books. National Indigenous Peoples Day is Monday June 21, and if you’re a survivor of a residential school, or a family member of a survivor, and need to talk, call the crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.