, 06.09.2019 09:41 AM

KINSELLACAST 67: Lisa and Warren on words, meaning – and that word


  1. Peter says:

    One inevitable result of expanding the meaning of the word from systematic mass-murder to things like cultural and linguistic assimilation or even is that it will no longer be the crime of crimes, just another historical wrong in a very long list. I could be wrong, but I’ve never heard an African-American activist claim American blacks were victims of genocide. Would that mean what Canadian aboriginal peoples suffered was worse than slavery and Jim Crow? Sorry, not buying that. Plus if Canadian aboriginals were victims of genocide, almost all aboriginal peoples were too, because clearly we weren’t as bad as the Latin Americans, Aussies and Americans. And how about French, Dutch, Belgian and even British colonial subjects? But the main problem is that more and more people will become inured to the charge and just shrug it off, as they are doing with the word racist. That term has gone from a belief in biological or genetic inferiority to resisting equality in public life for any reason to some kind of unconscious psychological state that can be revealed in offhand comments or even manners and facial expressions. The predictable result is that the word no longer carries the opprobrium it once did and the “woke” are using it more and more just in conversations with one another.

    With respect, Lisa, the Indian Act was not an instrument of genocide. It was (and still is) a highly paternalistic code of legal protections and disabilities that basically considered aboriginals as akin to children in need of wards. It famously prohibited things like drinking and voting ( long since repealed) and it put control of Indian property in the hands of government officials, but it prevented its alienation to predatory settlers and prohibited non-Indians from residing on reserves. Without it, a lot of aboriginal communities would be much smaller and less culturally cohesive today. Plus it always provided for the voluntary choice of “emancipation” a.k.a. assimilation. That’s frowned on today, but it’s hardly genocide. The fact that numerous efforts by the feds since the 70’s to amend the Act proved stillborn because of aboriginal resistance and opposition shows the inherent ambiguity in it.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      I take your point about some repeated First Nations’ opposition to abolishing The Indian Act but to my knowledge, no one has ever legitimately quantified it. That’s why I take that factual claim with a rather large grain of salt.

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