OPINION / OBSERVER
Brutality against indigenous people embedded in Anglo-Saxons' DNA
Published: Jun 29, 2021 12:08 AM
Human rights?! Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Human rights?! Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Washington Post on Saturday covered the story of a 12-year-old girl, an Alaska native student, whose remains was buried more than 100 years ago in Pennsylvania. She was among more than 100,000 indigenous children distributed to around 375 boarding schools throughout the US from the late 1800s through the 1960s. It was believed they could be "civilized" by being forced to leave home.

"To take children away from their homes and families and subject them to assimilation is to commit cultural genocide," the Washington Post quoted Christine DiinDiisi McCleave, executive director of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, as saying. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, said last week that the department will identify boarding facilities, cemeteries and the children buried there to "uncover the truth about the loss of human life, and the lasting consequences of the schools."

It is widely known that after Great Britain officially recognized the independence of the US in 1783, American settlers began century-long westward expansion by exterminating Native Americans and taking over their land. 

 Native people have been subjected to more than 1,500 wars, attacks, and raids authorized by the US government, the most of any country in the world against its indigenous people. 

Such brutality against indigenous people is embedded in the genes of the Anglo-Saxons. Also last week, 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former indigenous residential school in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan were found, following the discovery of the remains of 215 indigenous children at a similar residential school in British Columbia weeks ago. 

What has been revealed by the media about the sufferings of the indigenous people in the US and Canada is probably just the tip of the iceberg. So far, what is missing in the US practice regarding its indigenous people is its official recognition of its past crimes against them and the damage caused to them - from land and culture to dignity. Meanwhile, it is reluctant to admit that its current economic and social development benefitted from this cultural genocide. 

With solid evidence of the Anglo-Saxon's systematic genocide against indigenous people, the US and Canada idly sit on the land they seized and hypocritically show care for the world's human rights. They have no intention to sincerely address their own shameful record of genocide. After the 751 unmarked graves were found, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "saddened," but was bothered to talk about the reparation to indigenous people. He even tried to shift the blame to the pope by asking him to go to Canada to apologize for the Catholic Church's role in running residential schools for indigenous children, as if the government has nothing to do with respecting and preserving the rights and culture of indigenous people.

Zhang Tengjun, an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times Monday that with no specialized investigation team and no concrete actions, Canada does not engage in deep reflection but tries to offset the impact of the scandal on its government. 

As for the US, if the Democrat-led government, which is good at playing the democracy and human rights cards, acknowledges its shameful past now, it is like slapping its own face, said Zhang, adding that this is something the US will not do. 

The US and Canada manipulate the human rights card on one hand, and  turn a blind eye to the human rights stain on their own soil on the other, which is a manifestation of Western-style hypocrisy and double standards. They practice law of the jungle, and view the other countries with the same logic.

Countries like the US and Canada do not have the will and courage to practice justice. At the international level, a team led by the UN, such as the International Court of Justice, should be established to conduct an independent investigation into the status of indigenous people and the past atrocities against them. During this process, stakeholder countries should not interfere but grant the investigation team meaningful and unfettered access.
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