This content is also available in French. View the French version of the Stolen Lives book.

Previous Section

Next Section

Foreword by Theodore Fontaine

“Will you ever be happy?” A grade 5 student asked me that question following a presentation of my Indian Residential School experiences in her classroom. Although I have told my story to more than 300 audiences across Canada and the United States—and responded to a wide range of questions—no one had ever asked me that, and I wasn’t sure I knew the answer.

For more than 100 years, First Nations and Inuit children were removed from their homes and communities to be locked up in residential schools, operated across Canada as a matter of federal policy decided in the Parliament of Canada. The Indian Residential Schools policy and era were not intended to support or educate our people, but to get us out of the way of settler development and access to the wealth of Canada’s natural resources. Implementation of the policy, primarily carried out by churches acting for the Canadian government, aimed to destroy our cultural and linguistic heritage, legal and religious freedoms, governmental and societal structures, and the very identities of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. Canada’s policy targeted children to ensure continuous destruction from one generation to the next. I was one of those children, incarcerated in Indian Residential Schools for 12 years, taken in just days after my seventh birthday.

People often ask what happened to me in those schools. Why did my parents leave me there? Did I tell someone about the abuses I endured? Adults ask why they didn’t already know about this. Did I try to run away? Do I forgive the abusers? Children ask why I couldn’t go home to sleep and what I got to eat. Did I tell the principal? Did we have a TV? I tried to answer these questions and more when writing about my experiences in Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, A Memoir.

Before residential school, I lived a blissful and joyous life with my family, mishoom and kookum (grandfather and grandmother) and extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I spoke only Ojibway and contributed to the well-being of our households by bringing water, wood, and the occasional snared little meal into our homes. For the next 12 years, I was locked up, punished for speaking Ojibway, shamed for being Indian. It was pounded into me that our people were no good, that Ojibway was a language of savages, that we were less than our keepers. I experienced every type of abuse: physical, sexual, mental, and spiritual. Through my many years of healing and reconciliation, I have confronted these damages and abuses to the best of my ability. In writing Broken Circle, some of these abuses were too difficult to include, but I attempted to reveal at least examples of each type. Those were mild in comparison to some of the worst I experienced.

The most insidious bombardment and teaching at residential schools instilled in our young minds hate for who we were, that we were not smart enough or good enough to do what the rest of Canadians can do or become. Those perceptions pervade our lives even today—insinuations that an Indian couldn’t be a qualified doctor, lawyer, teacher, nurse, author, or achieve other professional designations.

I am always apprehensive to speak about what happened to me at residential schools. Sometimes I get flashbacks, soul-crushing relivings of traumatic experiences from my young years. I have so often been told that these abuses could not be true, that I must be lying, that representatives of God could never have been perpetrators of child abuse. These denials fill me with guilt for what happened to me and that I have spoken about it and implicated perpetrators, though, ironically, I protect their identities.

Survivors of abuse are often hesitant to speak up. We know the truth of what happened to us, and that some will try to deny or minimize or refute our truth. For me, speaking out is part of my reconciliation, but at times the guilt, blame, and shame that was pounded into me rises inside, a black tide of depression, frustration, and anger. Sometimes I just feel sorry for the perpetrators who abused me. More often, I think about the loss of so many young lives, those who didn’t survive and those who did but whose tremendous potential to contribute to our people and Canada was never nurtured or realized.

People don’t know about the healing and reconciliation survivors go through. We are plagued by the allegations of people who try to refute and belittle our true experiences. It is hard to listen to those voices who say, “Why can’t they just get over it?” My voice is fuelled by other residential school survivors who say, “Thank you for writing your book. Those things happened to me too. They really did happen.”

In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its findings, including a summary of its final report and 94 recommendations described in its Calls to Action. It is important to understand that the work of the commission was not brought about by the good intentions of government, but by court order of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This agreement was a negotiated settlement to legal action taken by residential school survivors to rectify the wrongs and damages done by the genocidal policy of forcing Indigenous children into residential schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created as an element of this agreement, and its findings and recommendations emanated from thousands of survivor disclosures and testimonies brought to light by the work of the commission.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls Canadians in all walks of life to take action, with multiple recommendations specific to education of youth, newcomers to Canada, and both public and private sectors. I believe that educators are those who will make the most difference, helping generations of youth to build relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples based on our seven sacred teachings of knowledge, love, honour, courage, honesty, humility, and truth.

The words facing history and ourselves form a strong descriptor of the hard work of residential school survivors in talking about their experience of this Canadian history so long denied and concealed. Shining a bright light on it, Stolen Lives is a critical resource to guide teachers and students in finding their individual and collective opportunities to walk this road of reconciliation. The guide enables learning by exploring the truth of our lived residential school experiences, hearing our voices, understanding our context. After more than 100 years of this genocidal policy, educators now have access to information to teach our children about residential schools. Our children have the right to know and to create a better future for themselves and future generations.

Prior to the research and documentation initiatives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, information about the Indian Residential Schools had been produced by governments and various non-Indigenous organizations and individuals, presenting their own perspectives as factual accounts. It is critical to understand the Indigenous traditions of oral history, by which the heritage of our people has been preserved and handed down through the centuries. The importance of capturing this oral history and hearing first-person testimony is critical to success in the classroom, particularly now as the number of survivors of residential schools is fast diminishing. Although our stories may be taken up by our children and grandchildren, the real effects and hidden memories known only to survivors realistically may be lost forever. Although it is most difficult to touch the innermost hurts and scars of our past, survivors have the right to speak about their own experiences. I hope that educators using this guide will invite survivors into their classrooms for students to meet them, see their faces, and hear their voices, that their hearts may be touched so deeply as to never forget.

Canadians must embrace the reality and promise of its First Peoples as we rediscover the pride and resolve to revive and uphold our unique characteristics. I have relearned my Ojibway language and much of our culture, and nothing gives me such joy as to be able to sling my language through conversations with family and friends and to teach a few words here and there to non-Indigenous people who express interest in hearing this soaring, descriptive language. I imagine with horror, had the residential schools policy been successful, how many beautiful languages would have disappeared. We cannot retrieve what we have lost, or might lose, from anywhere else in the world. If we lose it here, it disappears forever.

In my visits to all parts of this great land to speak on what happened to us, I try to urge survivors and elders to delve into their memories and talk together about our shared history. We did survive and will never be the “vanishing Indian” or the conquered people. We will always proudly be Canada’s First Peoples, we the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

I write this foreword with hope and humility as a participant in the tradition of our ancestors: the passing of our true knowledge to the future knowledge keepers and leaders of our wonderful homeland.

Kitchi miigwetch, a big thank you, to Facing History and Ourselves for helping to bring the true history of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools into the present and into the future, and to all the educators who use this guide to show children and youth what truth and reconciliation mean and what it will take to walk the miles to get there.

Will I ever be happy? Perhaps not in the sense that the young student meant it, but each day as I take another step toward reconciliation, I take a step toward finding my way back to the joyous, effervescent, mischievous Ojibway child that the Creator intended me to be.

Theodore (Ted) Fontaine is a member of the Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation in Canada and the author of a national bestseller, Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, A Memoir. He is a regular speaker and media commentator on Indian Residential Schools. He has been called a survivor but sees himself more as a victor.

How To Use This Resource

This book examines the history of the Canadian Indian Residential Schools and their long-lasting, devastating legacy. The book is introduced by Ted Fontaine, a prominent Indigenous leader, an elder, a residential school survivor, and a bestselling author. This book is composed of this “get started” section which includes a general introduction; a historical background section; eight chapters containing readings focused on primary sources; and a timeline. Glossary terms are also highlighted and defined throughout each chapter.

We recommend that teachers read the introductory materials because they provide information not only on the structure of the book but also about our rationale for writing it, as well as a discussion of the central themes that are explored within. We also suggest that teachers direct their students to the timeline to help them organize the information they encounter and clarify basic ideas and terms used in the text. The historical background illuminates issues that are explored throughout the rest of the resource.

The readings within each chapter include short framing paragraphs, which are designed to provide context for the primary sources that follow. Teachers will want to select appropriate readings for their students. The readings are relatively short and include Connection Questions to guide reflection. The Connection Questions also offer readers the opportunity to interrogate these primary sources and to think about larger ethical issues raised throughout this study. Note also that there is some overlap between the chapters and the historical background. The chapters and readings are appropriate for student use, while the historical background is primarily designed to serve teachers, although advanced classes might also find it useful.

Note on Language

Throughout this resource, we have elected to use the term Indigenous Peoples as the collective name for the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit—the three groups of Aboriginal Peoples recognized in Canada by law (Aboriginal Peoples is the Canadian legal term for the three groups). This term reflects the preferred appellation among the experts, advisors, and teachers who helped create this book. The word Peoples is capitalized to indicate the plurality and distinctiveness of the different Indigenous groups inhabiting North America since the beginning of human history. When speaking about a specific group, we use the terms First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, but since there are many groups within these categories, we include the names of sub-groups whenever possible (e.g., Ojibway, Cree, Dene, Mohawk). When people self-identify, we include the term or terms they use to describe themselves.

The word race appears in a few places in the book. Similarly, in rare cases, other racist terms such as redskin are mentioned. Without quotation marks, these terms are used only in primary sources. It is important to know that eugenics and scientific racism as described in the resource are viewed as bad science. Scholarly and scientific authorities today believe that the marginal genetic differences between human groups are, as it were, only skin deep. There is only one race: the human race.

There are a few cases where we cite historical statements that some might find objectionable. Their purpose here is to reflect accurately the attitudes of people whose thoughts shaped the history and legacies of ideas we discuss in this resource.


Words and Silences

Why can’t Indigenous people in Canada just get over Indian Residential Schools? Why can’t they just get on with their lives? Indigenous elder, residential school survivor, and author Theodore Fontaine argues that behind these demands to “just move on” is a widespread “societal denial of five centuries of colonization.”1 But despite growing evidence of the destructive nature of the colonization process, and against the growing protests of the Indigenous Peoples and many of their allies, some continue to deny Canada’s violent and painful past.

Many examples could be cited of what Fontaine calls societal denial. Indeed, until very recently, many textbooks largely ignored the presence of the Indigenous Peoples encountered by Europeans in North America or treated them as a nuisance they could easily bribe or subdue.2 The leading idea behind these denialist statements was that Canada was “discovered” by Europeans who encountered a vast and empty territory. The authors of the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba explain:

The basic premise is that the first state to “discover” an uninhabited region with no other claims to it automatically acquires territorial sovereignty. Originally, the doctrine was limited to terra nullius—literally, a barren and deserted area—as reflected by the noted English scholar of the common law. . . . The concept of terra nullius was expanded later . . . to include any area devoid of “civilized” society. In order to reflect colonial desires, the New World . . . [then fell] within this expanded definition.3

This guide is about these issues: the positive and negative power of words and silences to shape the social and natural landscape, to displace identities or create new ones, and to write histories that serve some and dehumanize others. Ideas such as terra nullius serve to show the power of words to erase past events and peoples and to reshape the memory of European colonialism.4 “Words and silences are powerful things. They hunt together, feeding off each other,” writes South African scholar Sven Ouzman. “The power of words is great but the power of silences is greater. Silences are enemies of memory.”5 Moreover, “words and silences are seldom neutral,” Ouzman contends, and those who experienced the interaction with European colonizers often “knew the power of words and silences to exclude,” assign identities, and write a version of history that serves the powerful.6 Perhaps the first act of colonialism was indeed a linguistic one: by calling the Indigenous Peoples in North America Indian, Westerners displaced them to another continent altogether, while at the same time denying them their identity as members of specific nations.

We are reminded by Métis scholar Tricia E. Logan that national narratives are neatly connected to national identities—that national stories create common memories, which in turn shape a nation’s understanding of its collective self, its identity. Furthermore, Logan and many others insist that changing Canada’s perceived history is imperative not just because that version is untrue but also because introducing Indigenous voices can help reshape and correct Canada’s national identity.7 These advocates argue that if Indigenous Peoples are truly to be part of Canada, their story must be included in a new and comprehensive narrative.8 So for Indigenous individuals and communities, bygones can’t be bygones: many have a very different version of Canada’s history. This version includes a vision of the Indigenous groups as nations first and Canadian second. The demand to be regarded as separate nations is not simply a reflection of how Indigenous Peoples experience their identity but is instead based on a series of agreements starting with the Royal Proclamation of 1763, where the Crown declared them independent nations.

Sites of Unlearning

Many scholars recognize that parts of the colonial destruction of Indigenous lands and livelihood were not officially planned. The development of global commerce, industrialization and urbanization, and new crops and animals, among many other factors, destroyed the fur trade and rendered the Indigenous social and economic structures ineffective.9 At least some of these factors were part of what Alfred W. Crosby years ago called the Columbian Exchange. This exchange between the Indigenous population and the Europeans extended to almost every aspect of life (foods, livestock, language, and instruments and technology, to name a few) and profoundly and negatively altered the ecology of the Americas. More catastrophic, according to Crosby, were diseases such as smallpox, measles, malaria, and yellow fever to which the Indigenous population of the Americas had never been exposed. As a result, they had no immunological resistance to these diseases. When the Europeans brought the pathogens ashore, millions were infected and in short order perished.10 Of the estimated 50 to 100 million non-European people who lived in the Americas before contact, only about 5% survived by the beginning of the twentieth century.11

But it is wrong to ignore the settlers’ choices and their catastrophic consequences for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. As Christopher Powell and Julia Peristerakis argue, many of these destructive processes were part of well-documented policies whose ultimate goal was to destroy the Indigenous Peoples and make room for European settlers. To give just the most obvious examples, there was the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s, which led to the removal of thousands of people and the destruction of their hunting grounds; the intentional killing of the bison in their millions, which destroyed the key element in the survival of many Indigenous Peoples; and the removal of successful Métis farmers from land coveted by European settlers.12 Almost all Indigenous communities, whether nomadic or sedentary, were displaced, their traditional way of life destroyed, and their centuries-old religious beliefs, customs, and social systems nearly obliterated. Daniel Paul reminds us that “it should be noted that the [colonial] destruction was universally successful: of the hundreds of robust civilizations that existed in the Americas in 1492, not one survives intact today.”13

The mass slaughter of the buffalo, the expansive settlement of the West, the forced removal in the Prairies and later in the Arctic regions, bans on traditional ceremonies, the replacement of traditional governance with Western forms, the degradation of women’s status, discrimination and segregation, and a second-rate and traumatizing education were all part of official policies. After the second half of the nineteenth century, those policies were clearly and systematically designed first to remove Indigenous communities as an obstacle for European conquests and settlements and then to destroy the Indigenous cultures and remake them after themselves— Western, Christianized, and civilized peoples. So it is safe to say that the near physical destruction of Indigenous Peoples was the direct effect of diseases brought by the Europeans but was also intentional, since successive governments were well aware of the consequences of their policies.

The persistent resistance to dealing with the past ignores, in particular, the history of the Indian Residential Schools. Those schools, even by the settlers’ own admission, can be regarded as a deliberate campaign aimed at facilitating settlement of the land as well as moulding Indigenous minds after Western ways and destroying, roots and branches, any links to indigenous nations, cultures, and traditions. In 1938, at the peak of the Indian Residential Schools’ operation, school principal Rev. A. E. Caldwell wrote to Indian agent P. D. Ashbridge from Ahousat, BC. In that letter, he declared:

The problem with the Indians is one of morality and religion. They lack the basic fundamentals of civilized thought and spirit, which explains their childlike nature and behaviour. At our school we strive to turn them into mature Christians who will learn how to behave in the world and surrender their barbaric way of life and their treaty rights, which keep them trapped on their land and in a primitive existence. Only then will the Indian problem in our country be solved.14

Caldwell, like many Europeans of his time, suggested that the “Indian problem” would be solved only when the Indigenous Peoples in Canada were “liberated” from the shackles of what he called their primitive ways. This perverse idea was the publicly acknowledged rationale for the Indian Residential Schools: civilize, Christianize, liberate. The Royal Commission of 1996 summarized the Indian Residential Schools project in the following way:

Put simply, the residential school system was an attempt by successive governments to determine the fate of Aboriginal people in Canada by appropriating and reshaping their future in the form of thousands of children who were removed from their homes and communities and placed in the care of strangers. Those strangers, the teachers and staff, were, according to Hayter Reed, a senior member of the department in the 1890s, to employ “every effort . . . against anything calculated to keep fresh in the memories of the children habits and associations which it is one of the main objects of industrial education to obliterate.” Marching out from the schools, the children, effectively re-socialized, imbued with the values of European culture, would be the vanguard of a magnificent metamorphosis: the “savage” was to be made “civilized,” made fit to take up the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. Tragically, the future that was created is now a lamentable heritage for those children and the generations that came after, for Aboriginal communities and, indeed, for all Canadians.15

In other words, the Indian Residential Schools were not learning places. They were, as hundreds of testimonies tell us, sites of unlearning: the forcible unlearning and destruction of mother tongues, communities’ values, traditional beliefs, spiritual practices, and group identities. Rosa Bell, a survivor of Port Alberni Residential School in BC, talks about the deliberate destruction of language:

The government wanted to turn us into white people. Our cultural family units were broken apart. Also, part of becoming “white” was to speak English. Because my parents also attended Residential School they didn’t see the value in teaching us our language. The Indian Agent told them not to speak to their children in Haida because it would not help them in school. My parents spoke Haida with other adults but didn’t make much effort to teach me. My grandma always spoke Haida to me and I tried to understand but it was foreign.16

According to the 2011 Canadian census, of the 60 Indigenous languages that survived colonialism, now only Cree, Ojibway, and the Inuit languages stand a chance of being spoken by future generations.17 Of course, language alone is not a culture or a worldview. People who speak different languages can share the same worldview. For example, the French and British settlers spoke different European languages but entertained very similar worldviews. Similarly, people who speak the same language—Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, for example—can have radically different worldviews, views on whether or not Indigenous Peoples are Canadians. Some Indigenous Peoples see themselves primarily as members of their First Nation.18 But language is an important part of a culture; it can embody and convey the worldview of the people who speak that language. As thousands of Indigenous persons’ testimonies suggest, the death of a language heralds the death of a culture and the ways in which the speakers of this language interacted with others and interpreted their world.


In the 1990s, residential schools scholars such as James R. Miller and many Indigenous leaders began to argue that the efforts of the Canadian government to assimilate the Indigenous Peoples in the residential schools embodied the principle of cultural genocide: the intent to destroy the Indigenous Peoples of Canada as a culturally distinct group.19 Other scholars pushed back, noting that the cultural destruction of a group is not included in the final version of the United Nations Genocide Convention as genocide.20 This debate has continued and, if anything, has picked up pace since. What is the proper way to address the near destruction of Indigenous Peoples, their languages, and their cultures? Natural causes aside, what is the government’s culpability in this process? And what would the Indigenous Peoples gain by having Canada include cultural genocide among those genocides it officially recognizes? (For more on this debate, see Chapter 7.)

For Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish jurist who coined the term genocide, the cultural destruction of a group was as important as the physical annihilation of its members. Early in the 1930s, Lemkin went to great lengths to extend his definition of the crime he later called genocide beyond the physical destruction of human beings. “Our whole heritage is a product of the contributions of all nations,” he argued in a 1933 paper. For him, the destruction of cultural groups was, in fact, an assault on humanity itself if, indeed, humanity is the sum total of cultures of the world. So he added another element to his notion of a group’s destruction: the “systematic and organized destruction of the art and cultural heritage in which the unique genius and achievement of a collectivity are revealed in fields of science, art and literature.” He called this cultural devastation “vandalism.” (Lemkin coupled the term with the crime of barbarism, the physical destruction of groups.)21

He continued to use the same argument in his Axis Rule in Occupied Europe:

The world represents only so much culture and intellectual vigor as are created by its component national groups. Essentially the idea of a nation signifies constructive cooperation and original contributions, based upon genuine traditions, genuine culture, and well-developed national psychology. The destruction of a nation, therefore, results in the loss of its future contribution to the world. . . . Among the basic features which have marked progress in civilization are the respect for and appreciation of the national characteristics and qualities contributed to world culture by different nations—characteristics and qualities which . . . are not to be measured in terms of national power or wealth.22

One of the themes of this guide is the power of language. In the passion of Lemkin’s argument, we are reminded once again that words matter. The debate about genocide sometimes gets technical and complex, but that should not obscure the urgency of the debate. Why is this a topic that must concern all of us? What does it mean to all of us, indigenous and non-indigenous?

Jumping forward to 2015, the federally mandated Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report declared the work of the residential schools genocide:

For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide” . . . Cultural genocide is the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group. States that engage in cultural genocide set out to destroy the political and social institutions of the targeted group. . . . Languages are banned. Spiritual leaders are persecuted, spiritual practices are forbidden, and objects of spiritual value are confiscated and destroyed. And, most significantly to the issue at hand, families are disrupted to prevent the transmission of cultural values and identity from one generation to the next.23

“In its dealing with Aboriginal people, Canada did all these things,” the report’s summary concludes.24 In Lemkin’s understanding, the destruction of traditional Indigenous ways of life was a crime against everybody: against the diversity of human societies, and against humanity as a whole. Theodore Fontaine’s powerful words illustrate the terrible loss: “Canada . . . lost forever the rich resources and generations of its First Peoples. The ingenuity and creativity of young minds were extinguished, the extreme amount of potential talent was never nurtured or allowed to flourish, and the character and integrity of Indigenous society founded on prized value and principle were almost destroyed.”25 This is why this issue must concern us all.

Proceed to Historical Background 


  • 1 : Theodore Fontaine, “Foreword,” in Colonial Genocide and Indigenous North America, ed. Andrew Woolford, Jeff Benvenuto, and Alexander Laban Hinton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), vii.
  • 2 : Verna J. Kirkness, “Prejudice about Indians in Textbooks,” Journal of Reading 20 (1977), 595–600; Penney Clark, “Images of Aboriginal People in British Columbia Canadian History Textbooks,” Canadian Issues (Fall 2006), 47–51. For more about the peacefulness and ease of the settlement, see Riders of the Plains: A Record of the Royal North-West Mounted Police of Canada, 1873–1910 (Edmonton: Hurtig), xviii–ix, quoted in Walter Hildebrandt, Views from Fort Battleford: Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West (University of Regina, 2008), 34.
  • 3 : Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, Chapter 5: Aboriginal & Treaty Rights, accessed April 24, 2015.
  • 4 : Jennifer Henderson and Pauline Wakeham, “Colonial Reckoning, National Reconciliation: Aboriginal Peoples and the Culture of Redress in Canada,” English Studies in Canada 35 (2009), 1.
  • 5 : Sven Ouzman, “Silencing and Sharing Southern African Indigenous and Embedded Knowledge,” in, Indigenous Archaeologies: Decolonising Theory and Practice, ed. Claire Smith and H. Martin Wobst (London: Routledge, 2005), 208.
  • 6 : Sven Ouzman, “Silencing and Sharing Southern African Indigenous and Embedded Knowledge,” in, Indigenous Archaeologies: Decolonising Theory and Practice, ed. Claire Smith and H. Martin Wobst (London: Routledge, 2005), 208.
  • 7 : Textbooks have been changing in the past two decades to reflect this point of view.
  • 8 : Tricia E. Logan, “Memory, Erasure, and National Myth,” in Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America, ed. Andrew Woolford, Jeff Benvenuto, and Alexander Laban Hinton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 149–150.
  • 9 : Robbie Ethridge, “Global Capital, Violence, and a Colonial Shatter Zone,” in Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America, ed. Andrew Woolford, Jeff Benvenuto, and Alexander Laban Hinton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 52.
  • 10 : For a short version of the thesis, see Alfred W. Crosby, “Virgin Soil Epidemics as a Factor in the Aboriginal Depopulation in America,” The William and Mary Quarterly 33 (1976), 289–299.
  • 11 : The estimates of the pre-Columbian population have been studied by many scholars. In recent years the numbers have been revised upward quite dramatically. Alan Taylor argued that most scholars think as many as 50 million people lived in the Americas and 2–10 million lived north of the Rio Grande before contact. See Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America (New York: Viking Penguin, 2002), 40. Charles C. Mann discusses the assumption of a 95% death rate (or 5% survival rate) in his book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), 113–14. See also David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 51, 101, 267–8.
  • 12 : Christopher Powell and Julia Peristerakis, “Genocide in Canada,” in Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America, ed. Andrew Woolford, Jeff Benvenuto, and Alexander Laban Hinton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 75–86.
  • 13 : Daniel N. Paul, “The Hidden History of the Americas: The Destruction and Depopulation of the Indigenous Civilisations of the Americas by European Invaders,” Settler Colonial Studies 1, no. 2 (2004): 167–181.
  • 14 : Rev. A. E. Caldwell to Indian Agent P. D. Ashbridge, Ahousat, BC, November 12, 1938, quoted in Rev. K. Annett, “Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust,” in A Country Nourished on Self-doubt: Documents in Post-Confederation Canadian History, ed. Thomas Thorner and Thor Frohn-Nielsen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010), 390.
  • 15 : Government of Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), vol. 1, chapter 10: “Residential Schools,” accessed December 12, 2014.
  • 16 : Linda Jaine, Residential Schools: The Stolen Years (Saskatoon: University Extension Press, 1995), 10, quoted (but misattributed) in David R. Gaertner, “Beyond Truth: Materialist Approaches to Reconciliation Theories and Politics in Canada” (dissertation, Simon Fraser University, 2012), 62.
  • 17 : “Aboriginal Languages of Canada,” The Canadian Encyclopedia online, accessed December 23, 2014.
  • 18 : Audra Simpson has proposed (at least for the Mohawk) a right of “ethnographic refusal,” the right to embrace indigenous sovereignty and to refuse to recognize the sovereignty of the Canadian state to make decisions on behalf of the Mohawk nation. The point is that Mohawk sovereignty was never relinquished, and indeed was affirmed as pre-existing in the John Jay Treaty. See Audra Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 10–11. We thank David MacDoland for this reference.
  • 19 : James R. Miller, Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2012), 9–10.
  • 20 : “Cultural genocide” was included in the first draft of the Genocide Convention but was taken out because of objection from states such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. See Shamiran Mako, “Cultural Genocide and Key International Instruments: Framing the Indigenous Experience,” International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 19 (2012).
  • 21 : “Cultural genocide” was included in the first draft of the Genocide Convention but was taken out because of objection from states such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. See Shamiran Mako, “Cultural Genocide and Key International Instruments: Framing the Indigenous Experience,” International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 19 (2012), 183; first draft of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, prepared by UN Secretariat, [May] 1947 [UN Doc. E/447], accessed February 12, 2015.
  • 22 : Raphael Lemkin, “Acts Constituting a General (Transitional) Danger Considered as Offense against the Law of Nations,” Prevent Genocide International website, accessed October 10, 2015, quoted and discussed in Facing History and Ourselves, Totally Unofficial: Raphael Lemkin and the Genocide Convention (Brookline: Facing History and Ourselves, 2007), 11–15.
  • 23 : Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress, 2nd ed. (Clark, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2005), 91.
  • 24 : The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015), 1–2, 3, 57, accessed June 11, 2015.
  • 25 : Fontaine, see “Foreword” of this book.

Search Our Global Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.