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Opinion
G
enocide, biological warfare, racism, gang rape. Who? Us,
of course. Canada and Canadians. Surely not. We’re nice,
good people who sometimes get a little tired of our win-
ters and go down south for the weather, but we wouldn’t hurt a fy
and we believe in freedom and justice for all. Not, however, accord-
ing to the propaganda given out by native activists and the history
currently taught at our schools and universities. If you doubt me,
spend a few hours in Caledonia, Ontario, where generous, innocent
people have had their lives ruined by native zealots, in league with
anarchist groups and the hard left. Travel there for a while and see
frst-hand what happens when we kneel down and pray at the altar
of political correctness.
There is no doubt that natives deserve justice, but no doubt wither
that all Canadians deserve truth. Do we get it? Not really. Earlier this
year, Halifax historian Daniel Paul wrote, “The dispossessing of the
Indigenous Peoples of the Americas by Europeans, and the near ex-
termination of them in the process, is the greatest inhuman barbar-
ity that this world has ever known.” Demonstrating, if nothing else,
that Mr. Paul writes very badly indeed. It’s all part of a campaign to
smear history in Nova Scotia, making the British out to be monsters.
They were so evil, Paul says, that they paid for native scalps. Actually
they did, just as the natives were paid for British scalps. It’s odd how
things begin to seem less black and white when we learn a little
more of the history.
But this activist is not alone. Our politics and policies surround-
ing the native issue are soaked in guilt and shame, and it’s time
we asked if this is justifed, and did so without being accused of
racism. Of course there is pain and sufering in native history, but
then ask Canadians of Irish, Vietnamese, Jewish, German, Ukrainian,
Armenian, Arab and pretty much any other ancestry if the past has
always been fun. Canada is in many ways a glorious experiment;
a coming together of people who have not always been treated
properly and fairly.
Tragically, native tribes slaughtered other native tribes. They en-
slaved other natives, they even ate other natives. This might sound
ofensive, but cannibalism certainly existed in pre-settlement
North American society and, while truth may be ofensive, it is nev-
ertheless true. Natives also indulged in scalping, torture and the
most ghastly violence. Proving that natives, Europeans and eve-
rybody else can act as badly as each other. Nor were the victims
always indigenous people. There were gentle Catholic missionar-
ies in Ontario – men who taught themselves native languages and
lived with and for them – who were tortured to death over long,
excruciating periods of time, and had body parts consumed.
The term “indigenous” also has to be critiqued. There are natives
who came to Canada with American loyalists as late as the early
19
th
century, claiming status as original inhabitants. They were
brave and faithful people, but they are no more indigenous to
Canada than a Belgian is indigenous to Hungary. Similarly, the term
“First Nations” is a politically correct misnomer. There are native
tribes and communities who migrated thousands of miles, arriving
in spots in Canada after the British and French had already settled.
Who, then, was there frst?
The mythology has few bounds. There were, for example, no delib-
erate attempts to kill peoplewith infected blankets. Theremay have
been infected blankets brought by Europeans to North America,
but this was long before we understood the details of disease and
its immunities. This long-told canard is based on a single state-
ment by a single British ofcer, and has no historical signifcance.
History has been brutal. In Britain, Celts fought Romans, Romans
and Celts fought Saxons, Saxons fought Vikings, and so on. War and
conquest. It happens. I’d quite like my father’s family’s Polish farm
back, but I’ve decided to move on. Some people win wars, some
lose them. Just like some tribes lost to others and have virtually dis-
appeared. If Europeans were lacking in sympathy for native culture,
they have certainly made up for it since. It’s time to mature, time
to evolve. To romanticize history is foolish, to treat people like chil-
dren merely because they have sufered is patronizing and wrong,
and to scalp us of our common sense is the worst insult of all. I’m
proud to be Canadian; just a little tired of people telling
me I ought not to be.
Michael Coren
on the set of his
nightly television show.
with
Michael Coren