THE Canadian Museum for Human Rights will not use the word "genocide" to describe Canada's aboriginal policies during the last century, including the residential schools system and forced relocations.
That's despite a growing academic consensus Canada did indeed commit genocide, and repeated calls by aboriginal leaders -- including, most recently, Phil Fontaine -- for the federal government to recognize its role in the destruction of indigenous culture and institutions...
"It's a shame. I think the museum needs to be a leader, not a follower on this," said University of Manitoba Prof. Adam Muller, a genocide expert. "You look at colonial activity in the Americas and it seems clear to me, at the end of the day, they were trying to destroy a group and way of life."
Those familiar with the museum's plans to tackle indigenous issues understood the word would be included in its exhibits. But after what spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry said was extensive internal debate and an ongoing process of revision, the museum's senior staff decided not to use the word. The decision was made about a month ago.
Fitzhenry said the museum is not a court or government -- the two bodies that have traditionally decided what counts as a genocide. And she said academic research is still evolving.
"We don't want to be seen as advocating or involving ourself in a debate that is still playing out," said Fitzhenry.
She also said that, as a Crown corporation, it's important the museum's terminology align with that of the federal government, which has not recognized Canada's aboriginal policies as a genocide.
Parliament recognizes five official genocides -- the Holocaust, the Holodomor, the Armenian genocide and the atrocities in Rwanda and the Bosnian town of Srebrenica...Ironic, no?, that the government that foolishly backed this misbegotten behemoth will likely end up being savaged for refusing to sign off on this sixth official genocide.