Opinion: What the debate around Indigenous genocide says about Canada

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All political communities hold within them dark histories of violent oppression against marginalized groups. These stories are not about moral mistakes. Instead, they remind us—uncomfortably—that the authority to govern is often built, literally, on the demonization and destruction of group-based identity.

In Canada, the government has systematically targeted the distinctiveness of Indigenous nations in order to consolidate another, hegemonic Western and white-coded Canadian national identity. As the deputy minister of Indian Affairs told Parliament in 1920, the federal government intended to continue the residential school policy “until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic.”

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