Anarchist Style Justice

April 22, 2008

In Canada, we have a dark, dirty little secret – our Government, in cahoots with the churches, specifically the Catholic, Anglican and United Churches, tried to destroy native Canadians. They did this through active cultural assimilation, apartheid-like political enshrinement of dependence (aka “The Indian Act”) and now, it seems, through crimes of outright murder and genocide.

Harsh?

Yes, but true.

The latest in this tragedy occurred last week when a group called the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) announced the locations of mass graves of native children who died while in custody of government-funded, church-run “Residential Schools” (a poor quality video of this grass-roots group reading the release is here).

The group alleges more than 28 mass grave locations across Canada at or near the locations of these schools. They also charge that many of those in these graves died not just of disease, but due to horrific neglect, abuse and outright murder at the hands of teachers, brothers and nuns that ran the schools. These include children beaten to death during floggings, killed in electric chairs or purposely exposed to tuberculosis by staff and government officials.

As horrific as these stories are, what is truly inspiring is how various native groups are banding together to work for justice. As the press release notes:

We have no confidence that the very institutions of church and state that are responsible for these deaths can conduct any kind of impartial or real inquiry into them. Accordingly, as of April 15, 2008, we are establishing an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of Indian residential school children across Canada .

This inquiry shall be known as The International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), and is established under the authority of the following hereditary chiefs, who shall serve as presiding judges of the Tribunal:

Hereditary Chief Kiapilano of the SquamishNation
Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind), Anishinabe Nation Chief
Svnoyi Wohali (Night Eagle), Cherokee Nation
Lillian Shirt, Clan Mother, Cree Nation
Elder Ernie Sandy, Anishinabe (Ojibway) Nation
Hereditary Chief Steve Sampson, Chemainus Nation
Ambassador Chief Red Jacket of Turtle Island

In short, they are abandoning the state and its institutions and creating their own justice through cooperation. They are openly investigating the allegations independently, because those responsible – the state and its lapdogs in the churches – cannot be trusted to do so.

And for good reason, it seems. Since this was released on April 10, 2008 there have been no mentions in any of the mainstream, traditional media in Canada. These allegations are not new – most have been around, in rumour and whisper for decades. In fact, people like former United Church Minister Kevin Annett have had their lives and careers ruined over it. The IHRTGC intends to fight back just as hard:

Once these persons have been identified and detained, they will be tried and sentenced in indigenous courts of justice established by our Tribunal and under the authority of hereditary chiefs.{emphasis mine]

The IHRTGC should be supported and looked at as a model of stateless justice that is not our normal “Security Agency” idea, but one of true cooperative, community based justice. Anything that anyone can do to help would be appreciated.

For futher information please check out the facebook group. As well, please watch the documentary “Unrepentant”, which details Kevin Annett’s fight in Port Alberni BC and a little history of Residential Schools.

We need to work together to not only to expose these horrifying crimes of the state and the churches, but we need to work together to ensure that the IHRTGC is sucessful, to show that even in the face of ghastly injustice and genocide, the state is the problem, not the solution.

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8 Responses to “Anarchist Style Justice”


  1. […] theConverted: Anarchist Style Justice “In Canada, we have a dark, dirty little secret – our Government, in cahoots with the […]

  2. Ron Good Says:

    The IHRTGC should be supported and looked at as a model of stateless justice that is not our normal “Security Agency” idea, but one of true cooperative, community based justice

    Kyle Bennett over at the Human Advancement blog (h/t to Billy Beck at Two-Four), wrote a timely post discussing non-State justice.

    From the article:

    “Individuals in a market anarchy have all the powers that a present government has with one exception: they cannot use any resources but their own. They cannot arbitrarily claim the resources, nor the authority, of others. Thus, they cannot isolate themselves from the consequences of acting – from responsibility.”

  3. theconverted Says:

    Thanks for the link Ron. Kyle Bennett has it right and I think if people see the IHRTGC work well, they will question their long held assumptions about the need for the state.

    Of course the point about using resources is quite true and I actually expect it to be a criticism of stateless justice – how can you properly investigate such crimes without the resources of the state? How will you get justice?

    The answer is, of course, without a state, the resources and coercive power needed to commit such heinous crimes wouldn’t exist in the first place.

  4. Ryan Says:

    I’m all for investigation into any and all accusations regarding residential schools.

    You give some human beings virtually absolute power over others and say “assimilate ’em” and said abuses will inevitably happen.

    If I were you, I’d be pretty skeptical about Kevin Annett, though. A little research into him and you’ll find that he’s not exactly a trustworthy character. Numbers quoted for starters, are pretty suspect–50 000 children killed, when in reality the estimate of total numbers of students is roughly 100 000. I think it would be pretty hard to hide the murder of half of all children sent to the schools. Additionally, the Squamish First Nation has distanced itself from Annett.

    He’s accused the Rev. Bill Phipps of being involved with a plot to cover up the supposed genocide. I know Bill, and everyone I know who knows Bill thinks this is pretty laughable. In fact, if there were a conspiracy, Bill would probably be there on the front line to expose it.

    I’ll admit, I’m a member of the United Church. I am ashamed of the previous actions of some members of my church, as well as certain sections of the hierarchy. Most members of the church as well acknowledge the complicity of the church in those actions. However, the church itself, being a shell of what it once was (a power church) has little reason to hide this stuff anymore. It’s apologized for its role in residential schools–and Bill was the one who pushed it. In fact, the United Church is held in high regard

    Instead of pursuing the United Church in this way, it might be more useful and meaningful to ask the government of Canada to admit its role, and apologize–which it hasn’t. After all, they were church-run state schools, and the state was at the helm in the end. I would urge you to read the following statement by the United Church, and research for yourself whether or not Mr. Annett’s allegations etc. are true or not.

    http://www.united-church.ca/communications/news/general/070501

  5. Ryan Says:

    I probably should have posted this link to a story about it on thetyee.ca (not exactly an establishment news site). Judge for yourself.

    http://thetyee.ca/Views/2008/04/30/TruthAndAbuse/

  6. theconverted Says:

    To be fair Ryan, Kevin Annett isn’t saying that 50000 were murdered in the sense they were marched into gas chambers or shot into ditches – there are a few allegations of murders of this sort as well as already documented sexual abuse of native children – but that many of these children were neglected, denied medical care or intentionally exposed to TB and smallpox to the same end. Call it willful neglect rather than murder, they are just as dead. And those deaths are the result of the idea that Indian culture must be destroyed and ‘Christian’ culture foisted upon them ‘for their own good’.

    Annett also presents some compelling evidence for these kinds of crimes from a white doctor from Indian affairs back in the 20s. Annett is not saying anything that is not corroborated by photos, figures and the testimony of elders.

    At the very least, we have a situation where the churches – supposedly caring for the ‘souls’ of these kids – dumped and hid their bodies for years, like so much garbage.

    I know it is hard to believe from our side of the fence, but friends tell me these allegations are very old and well known in among the natives, long before Kevin Annett came around.

  7. Idealization Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Idealization.


  8. […] June, 2008 theConverted tells us about 28 mass graves of children found all across Canada… and the media is keeping mum about it! The group alleges more than 28 mass grave locations […]


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