Genocide Against Indigenous Peoples

Genocide Elision, and the Conciliation Challenge in Canada
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 - 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Contact information
Contact person: 
Anna Bogic
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Cost to attend: 
Free of charge
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Presented by CIPS and the International Theory Network

This talk foregrounds the lack of discussion of genocide in the 2019 federal election, despite admissions by Prime Minister Trudeau that genocide had been committed by the state against Indigenous peoples, and that the legacies were ongoing. I then discuss how we can best engage the study of genocide against Indigenous peoples in a Canadian context. The primary focus is genocide as forcible transfer and how the case can be made for this in the Indian Residential Schools and through the 60s Scoop. I have described two forms of genocide definition: legalist and pluralist forms. The legalist and pluralist forms apply well to the IRS system, the pluralist works well to understand the 60s Scoop, while a mixture of the two also work well to make sense of the starvation of Indigenous peoples, or the “clearing of the plains.” In the second half of the presentation, I focus on the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and its conclusion of genocide which merges both the legalist and pluralist conceptions together in an effort to decolonize both international law and genocide studies. I conclude with a discussion of federal politics and the very visible lack of discussion of genocide and what this means for conciliation going forward. Parts of this are drawn from my 2019 bookThe Sleeping Giant Awakens: Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation.

David B MacDonald is a mixed-race political science professor from Treaty 4 lands in Regina, Saskatchewan, with Trinidad Indian and Scottish ancestry. He is a full professor at the University of Guelph and in 2017 was appointed as the Research Leadership Chair for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.