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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

MacDonald and Hudson on Genocide and Indian Residential Schools

In the June 2012 issue of the Canadian Journal of Political Science, an intriguing, if presentist, interrogation of the legal meaning(s) of the historic collective abuse of first nations students in residential schools. David B. MacDonald of the University of Guelph and Graham Hudson of Ryerson University
ask the following questions. Did Canada commit genocide against Aboriginal peoples by attempting to forcibly assimilate them in residential schools? How does the UN Genocide Convention help interpret genocide claims? If not genocide, what other descriptors are more appropriate? Our position might be described as “fence sitting”: whether genocide was committed cannot be definitively settled at this time. This has to do with polyvalent interpretations of the term, coupled with the growing body of evidence the TRC is building up. We favour using the term cultural genocide as a “ground floor” and a means to legally and morally interpret the IRS system. (From the abstract)

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