In Canada, schools destroy thousands of books deemed discriminatory against Native Americans

Pocahontas: An Indian Legend, animated feature film released in 1995. (WALT DISNEY PICTURES / CHRISTOPHEL COLLECTION VIA AFP)

tintin in america, Does this mean anything to you? Hergé evokes the “Redskins”, a denomination considered degrading: censored work. same thing for the temple of the sun and three albums of lucky luke, where the Indians personify or the bad guys, the lazy or the alcoholics (or all at the same time): it’s caricatural, disrespectful, we play!

At the origin of this great literary purge, the Providence School Board, in southwestern Ontario, which represents 30 primary and secondary schools.

With the help of an indigenous “knowledge holder”, researcher Suzy Kies, co-chair of the Indigenous Commission of the Liberal Party of Canada (who actually have no indigenous ancestors until at least 1780), discarded all works that presented an inadequate, dated or negative image of the Amerindians. Those who anchor in the heads of young Canadians today are stereotypes that no longer have a place as the country has embarked on a grand reconciliation with its First Nations.

Another example. When Amerindian women are too seductive or too sensual, that doesn’t go either: to waste Asterix and the Indians, forget even the divine pocahontas from Disney, considered a misrepresentation of history – it is true that no Indian woman has walked in miniskirts on the Dakota plains.

A French book, Indians, published in 2000, was also discarded because it was prepared “without consultation with the indigenous communities of Canada”.never about us without us“Says Suzy Kies. All stories written by Europeans, from a Eurocentric perspective. It’s not just comic books or novels that are blacklisted. A children’s activity book was also rejected and proposes to make an Indian headdress out of cardboard and meaning, seen as cultural appropriation.

Our Radio-Canada colleagues who reveal the case tell us that two years ago, a first ceremony of “purification by the flame” even took place in a school. The ashes from the books were then used as fertilizer to plant a tree. It was an educational process, justified the direction of the Catholic school, which indicates that“bury the ashes of racism and discrimination“, It is “turn the positive into the negative”. Each of the other schools should have done the same, with the blessing of the Ministry of Education. The pandemic did not allow it. However, 5,000 books were removed from the shelves, 155 references in total.

Read Also:  United We Stand: Joe Biden's Call to Unity Following Attempted Assassination of Donald Trump

These decisions were not always well understood. It’s the same debate over the destruction of statues of slave generals in the United States or elsewhere. Should we destroy the symbols of the past or keep them by putting them in context? Should we burn the books or make them educational material to make people understand the changes in society? It’s true that Canada has problems with its indigenous peoples. Today there is a general consensus on the need to rethink the teaching of the country’s history and better protect the descendants of native peoples, who are often still victims of prejudice, racism or injustice.

While the country is on an electoral campaign, two weeks before the start of the legislative elections, the main candidates, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (in trouble for his re-election), have denounced this act of auto-da-fe.

There are millions of books written in history.“said Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Quebecois Bloc.”Almost all of them convey ideas that we no longer endorse. Let’s not burn them all. “

Because burning books is doing “like the Nazis in the 1930s” Where “like the taliban“Add some outraged Canadians who regularly go to social media with this quote from writer Heinrich Heine:”Where we burn books, we also end up burning men. ” In an email to Radio Canada, the Providence School Board assures “I sincerely regret the negative impact this initiative may have had as a gesture of reconciliation.

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here